During one recent four-week stretch, I went from a high of 207.8 pounds to 200.7 pounds by taking one simple action.
Before I tell you what that was, understand that this was a very impressive weight loss. First, because it is challenging for me to lose weight, like almost everyone over age 40. It is true for me, even as a weight loss professional. The car-culture, push-button world we live in is a big part of this challenge. And of course our entire culture of junk food, fast food, fattening, non-nutritional foods is another big factor, not to mention super sizing, jumbo portions, giant beverages and all the rest. It is tough out there, make no mistake about it. There is definitely a conspiracy to make us tilt the scales on the high side.
But what was most impressive about this seven pound loss was because I made just one small, painless change in my eating habits. Just one, but what a significant change it turned out to be, especially when you consider all the above factors working against me, and all of us.
I was on my regular eating and exercise program, which I have refined over many years. I consider it an excellent program, and feel I am in excellent shape. But I recently had some blood work done and one number, my LDL, the bad cholesterol, came in a little high, at 106. The paperwork said 106 was elevated, and the ideal LDL number is 90 or below. Tip: a way to remember that LDL is the bad cholesterol is to say that the LD stands for Little Devil.
I had to admit, I was a little unpleasantly surprised. And mystified at the same time, because I do not eat meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs or any other animal products, and the saturated fats in meat and animal products are main contributors to high LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, I thought.
And that is true, research I did confirmed that. But after more research, what I found was that any kind of fat can contribute to high LDL, even non-animal fats. So I had to do some dietary detective work on my own self. In short, a fearless and searching inventory of my own eating and drinking habits. I had to ask myself, what fatty food or foods was I eating, ahem, perhaps to excess?
When I zeroed my search down to that specific question, my main culprit was pretty easily exposed. I love nuts and seeds and was quite happily, even blissfully, overeating them. On a daily basis.
With the problem half solved, the solution was easy. I dropped my over-consumption of nuts and seeds. I went from 6-7-8 handfuls a day to less than one. I started strictly watching my limit. And it was incredible to watch the pounds plummet. Actually, the 1/10ths of pounds. I have a digital scale and highly recommend such scales, because we really don not lose pounds. It is more accurate to say we lose fractions of pounds, especially if we are losing weight healthfully. Roughly 1.5 to no more than 2 pounds a week. Any more than that and we are almost certainly losing muscle, too, which is bad news all around.
Understand, raw nuts and seeds are healthy, nutritious food choices, as long as they are raw, not roasted like the ones in the familiar blue and yellow can, which are also heavily salted. But raw or roasted, and I urge you to never eat roasted, nuts are high in fat. Very high in fat.
Which is why, as a lover of food and particularly fattening foods, I was way over-eating these otherwise healthy foods. Nuts must indeed be eaten sparingly by anyone interested in getting and staying lean. Six, seven or eight handfuls a day, as I was eating, is gross over consumption. One handful, palm-sized portion a day is plenty.
I looked, I learned, I took action, I got results.
It really pays to be vigilant when you are going for a lean, fit body. I had to take a truthful look at every aspect of my diet to find I was mindlessly overeating nuts and seeds. Then I had to take action to correct the flaw. When I did, the payoffs and rewards were spectacular. I effortlessly dropped seven pounds.
Oh, a final footnote: after 30 days on my new nut consumption regimen, I had another blood test taken. Result: my elevated LDL cholesterol of 106 had dropped to 79, which is in the Ideal range.