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Food: It's not your friend and it's not entertainment

Had my elderly father out for a few errands yesterday and on the way home, promised him a treat...he's been a chocolate malt/shake man from way back, so we stopped at MacDonald's.  I grabbed a small chocolate for him, but also succumbed to point-of-sale advertising and ordered a shamrock shake for myself.

I enjoyed every sip of that delectable concoction, until it was time to enter it into MyPlate...a whopping 770 calories!  It was good, but never good enough to warrant 1/3 of what should have been my daily caloric intake.

I've been on a major journey the first 2.5 months of 2012 and have dropped 16 pounds off my frame.  There are no magic potions or 10-minute-a-day workouts that will earn those results.

In this blog post, I'd like to isolate food issues and make a few points that may help you fight the battle of the bulge:

1) Get some distance from food.  Step way back and examine it from afar.  It's not your friend, in most cases it can prove to be the enemy.

2) Food is not entertainment, which means you can't base friends and fun around a meal.  Go out to eat, there's a much greater probability you'll screw up.  Most choices in a restaurant are way off your eating goal, so be aware of that.

3) Food is not a drug that is used to satiate the senses and dull our emotions.  Eating as a hobby is out.  This is huge for me.  I love to graze and hit the cupboards every 10 minutes.  This is where mindful eating comes in. Face the truth; 90% of the time when you want to eat, you aren't hungry. Matter of fact, start to note when you are actually hungry.  I will filling my pie hole for so many other reasons, eating to curb hunger was a rare occurrance.

4) See all foods as calories.  A long, consistent use of MyPlate (livestrong.com) will get you to the place where you know the cost of calories vs. a food choice.  See example above with shamrock shake.  Snacking on a 100 calorie bag of popcorn may make sense, but that big dish of ice cream at 9 pm may dump 500+ calories into your gut. It comes down to simple math, calories in (food) and calories out (exercise and activity).

I realize that this may paint a bleak picture, but it's not meant to.  It's about delayed gratification; you can get the immediate rush of a food binge or you can wait over time to see that ripped physique in the mirror.  The price to pay is high and that's why the reward is great.

Get in the game or stay on the sidelines, it's your choice and mine.

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