When I was a child I remember listening for a classic steam engine that ran along the property line of our farm. My brother and I would rush down to watch this amazing machine reliably transcend across its tracks. The coal shoveled into the engine produced a comfortable, regular running speed to keep it faithfully chugging along.
Energetic and reliable, that’s what we should strive to be! Our bodies should run as reliably as those historic steam locomotives.
But what would happen if the engineer forgot to add coal? The train would gradually wind down, eventually stopping completely. As feverishly as he could, the engineer would re-stoke the fire with fast fuel to bring his train up to speed again.
But it would take a while, wouldn’t it? When you’re hungry and need quick energy, what do you reach for? The fastest fuel available . . . sugar, right?! That’s what our brain tells us we need.
The solution to keeping our energy levels high is nutrient-dense grazing, so we don’t need to reach for sugar. Let’s say you are trying to lose weight and realistically set your goal at two pounds a week. You could eat nothing, but you’d also run out of steam. Then you’d reach instinctively for sugar. Not good. Don’t starve yourself!
How many fewer calories should you then consume daily to lose weight? Well 3,500 calories equal one pound. To lose effectively you’d have to reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories a day to lose one pound per week. Two pounds, 1000 calories. Reduce too drastically and your body’s metabolism might just slow up thinking it’s protecting you. Eat throughout the day!
For this discussion let’s discuss a 1500 calorie a day plan. (Increase exercise and you can speed up your weight loss.) If you are ‘grazing’ throughout the day, break down 1500 calories into four or five mini-meals per day, that’s approximately 300 calories per meal. Chugga, chugga . . . that steam engine just keeps moving along!
Here’s what a 1500 daily calorie intake would look like: (Mix & Match)
- A cup of tea/coffee (no calories) with a tsp. of real sugar (16 cal.) and 2 tbsp of milk (10 cal.) Consume a fiber rich breakfast cereal (5+ grams) around 2o0 calories per serving, with 1/2 cup, 1% milk.
- About 2-3 hours later, snack on: a 6-8 oz. of good quality low-fat yogurt (180) with 2 tbsp milled flax-seed (60) or fruit (60-80) or veggie sticks (60)
- Lunch: two cups of leafy green garden salad (100) with 2 oz. grilled chicken (140) or water based tuna (110) one slice of fiber rich bread (80). Vinaigrette dressing (60) or soups with a broth based homemade vegetable soup (150).
- Afternoon snack: a cup of grapes (80) or low-fat cheese (70-80) and 4 Triscuits (80) or 1/4 cup walnuts (about 14 halves) at 180 calories.
- Evening meal: 3-4 oz of lean grilled meat (140) 1 green vegetable, 1 complex carbohydrate such as baked potato, quinoa or rice, plus sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, onion salad, (50) balsamic vinaigrette. (40)
- Dessert: Angel Food cake with sliced strawberries (80) or a Hershey’s Kiss (25) melted and used to dip strawberries (50).
The Point Is: Don’t freak out or stress over every calorie! You are in control of your choices. Consuming too much of a water based fruit or a homemade soup won’t ‘break the bank’ on your diet reserve! Drink 8 full glasses of water daily and exercise and watch the pounds slip away, while you’re cruising along!
Don’t chase ridiculous diet fantasies! God created a structured human body. Those nutrient-dense items are working for your good! And if you eat sensibly you’re moving right along!
Proverbs 12:11, “A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense”
A good diet is a nutritious, life-long one!