How To Shed Those Holiday Pounds!
(And Look Better By Summer...)

The holiday season is great... Great for putting on ten or more extra pounds between all the turkey, ham, lamb, yams, pumpkin pie, apple pie, jelly donuts, potato pancakes -- all that great stuff (some of which is found elsewhere in our Holiday issue)! So, here's our holiday gift to you, ready to use come January 2, 2002 after having one too many egg-nogs with Christmas Cake, blintzes, strudel or maybe just far too much Halvah!

At one point in time I weighed close to 190, had a 39" waist and I had to literally roll out of bed! In about a year I dropped 50 pounds, getting myself down to weighing under 140 and I had a 33" waist. It wasn't easy to do but it was worth it! If you have the desire to change (and that is the key point) read on...

The problem is that we eat way too much and we eat a lot of very bad things. I was into pastry, candy and ice cream -- all of those will have to go! If you need something sweet, then keep a bag of wrapped hard candy around but keep it in an out of the way location and don't have more than a couple of those per week, with no more than one in a given day! Sugar is the biggest killer!

Sugar and those items that turn directly into sugar will immediately trigger the fat storage process in your body, so a little sugar can undo all the dieting work you have done! It really is not worth it so if you can, avoid sugars! (At least until you have reached a stable, good weight.)

Consult a medical chart to find out what weight you should be for your height. I'm 5'8" and the charts say I should be around 135, which is a little small -- 145 is a good weight. When I got into the army at age 19 I had a 29" waist and weighed 125 pounds, but my frame and bones have grown a little since then. We do continue to grow after the age of 18, but at a far lesser rate, ending at about the age of 30. So it is normal to be a little larger as you head into middle age than you were as a young adult, but only 10%. Most people go into middle age 50% larger and that's not good!

We get into a habit that comes from being young. When you are 14 you are still growing like crazy, can live on 2 hours sleep and run around all day long. By age 30 you need 6 hours sleep, you walk around somewhat fast, don't really grow taller (only wider) but you are still eating like you are 14 years old and herein lies the problem!

By age 30 you only need 2,000 calories per day to exist. If you are heavily into sports or do construction work then you probably need more like 2,300 calories per day. For those couch potatoes who are not active, sit at a desk and push a pencil 2,000 calories is more than enough and do you know what 2,000 calories equates to: A super-size burger meal at any fast food restaurant. That's right: One meal like that is your total daily requirement of caloric intake! Most people eat three meals like that, which is why you go into retirement twice the size you were as a young person! A combo chicken-beef bowl with a coke is all you are allowed in a single day! Eat this and nothing else, and you won't gain weight, nor will you die from starvation! Oh, your stomach will talk to you, quite a lot, but you won't die of malnutrition.

You will need snacks in-between and the best snacks are fruits. Apples, pears, peaches and melon. Instead of candy, eat a handful (and more) of raisins. Absolutely avoid chocolate -- it is the worst of all candies -- and ice cream. You get 300 calories in a little candy bar, which is about the same caloric intake as half a skinless, broiled chicken breast, except you get no nutritional value from candy! Believe it or not, if you're going to eat bread eat only good, white bread. Wheat and exotic grain breads have more calories! When I say good white bread, I mean avoid the $1 loaf and buy the name brand $3 loaf! Also avoid ethnic breads such as pita and tortillas. Tortillas are a real killer -- 100% lard and flour! 100 - 250 calories each! Most Hispanics eat 2,000 calories a day in just tortillas!

If you want more meals you need to cut down the size of the portion and drop high caloric items that offer no benefit: That soft drink, for example. Switch to water, diet drinks (although these can be unhealthy for you) or black coffee (artificial creamer adds 20 calories to coffee, if you drink 4 cups a day that is 100 calories, about the intake of a small soft drink). Bread is another thing you can drop or at least cut down. Limit yourself to one or two slices per day in the beginning of your diet regime. Butter, margarine, creamy salad dressings and mayonnaise also must go. If you want a snack that's gunky, then take a slice of bread and put a little jelly on it. That's about 150 calories and it kills the craving for food.

For breakfast have a whole grapefruit with no sugar or two slices of any melon or an apple.

At mid-morning have another apple or pear.

For lunch eat a small meal. A small, skinless chicken bowl with water to drink or a diet drink. Having the skin removed cuts the calories in half, so go for skinless, white meat chicken as much as you can. Broiled is far better than baked. Try and stay away from fried foods. Drop the French fries, they serve no value and will allow you to eat three small meals a day and still lose weight. Isn't that worth it?

In the afternoon have another pear or a peach.

For dinner have some sliced turkey on one slice of bread. Sliced turkey is about 30 calories per slice. You can pile it on to that slice of bread and still be under 300 calories.

You can also eat a hard boiled egg with no bread or mayo. An egg, while not the greatest for your heart, is only 80 calories or so when hard boiled or poached and it fills you up without adding excessive grease. An egg can make a nice snack or be part of a dinner meal!

Drop cheese altogether. It does you more harm than good. A plain, high and dry hamburger on a bun is about 500 calories. A cheese burger is about 650. A double hamburger is about 750. If you need to eat more, the double burger offers more bulk than the single cheeseburger, right?

If you like salads, try switching from creamy dressing (200 calories or about half a chicken breast in caloric value) to plain, apple cider vinegar (which is said to reduce fat cells) or at least a small serving of Italian dressing (and it would be best if you could water that down with extra vinegar).

Don't expect the weight to come off immediately. It takes your body about three months to acclimate, so initially you will see no change, except that you are making a lot of sacrifices and feel hungry all the time. This is good. You are altering your bad habits. A diet is not something you do for six months every 10 years, it is what you train yourself to do every day! Once you reach your desired weight you can add on an occasional treat (like a milk shake or candy bar once a week, or an order of fries now and then) and even increase your intake a little (have a larger breakfast or maybe a skinless chicken bowl for dinner).

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If you adjust your eating habits, dropping the "killer" foods, at least completely for the first six months and then returning to them only as an occasional treat, you can shed from 15 to 20 pounds by summer, maybe more. This is the most you should lose!

You've probably seen those 'lose 50 pounds in a month' diets, right? Well, one day expect to see a big wrongful death lawsuit in connection with these rash and dangerous diets. To remain a healthy person you should lose no more than 10 pounds in a month and that is considered excessive! About 6 to 8 pounds is very good. I was losing about a pound a week on average, but I dropped a lot after the third month and then it slowed down, because I was eating a good diet and catching up with my true weight. Water finds its own level! If you eat a reasonable amount of food (between 1500 and 1800 calories per day) your body will find a good weight and actually stay there! If you continue under eating you will still lose some weight, but it will take a lot longer than the initial shedding of excess weight!

Once you reach a good level look at your caloric consumption and feel safe to up it closer to 1900 or 2000 total calories per day, which means you can add a little more food. This, then, becomes your regular diet forever!

It's the army diet: Two regular size TV dinners and a poached egg with some fruit for breakfast, plus an apple or pear a few times a day. That is all you really should be eating after the age of 20! You are no longer growing tall by leaps and bounds, so you need to cut back on the food. When you're 15 you can have steak and 3 eggs with a stack of pancakes for breakfast, a triple cheeseburger combo with fries and a shake for lunch and all you can eat buffet for dinner. When you get over 20 just one of those meals is too much per day, but you're stuck in the habit, just like smoking, drinking or heroin! To lose weight and keep it off you have to break the habit, start a new regime and turn that into normal eating.

What about beer? Beer is actually a good, useful drink, in moderation. If you are doing a six pack each day then you will need to cut down your other food considerably or drop the beer down to about two 12 ounce cans or bottles each day. If you love your beer, just cut back on the breads and meals. You want to kill a 40 ouncer or six pack? Ok, a couple of apples and lunch is all you can have. You still won't die, as beer has a lot of nutritional value! In fact, given a choice between beer, sodas or orange juice, beer has less calories, is more filling and has more total nutrition, especially a real beer like Miller Draft or Sam Adams. A little wine is also acceptable. The dry wines are better -- a Chianti, for example. But absolutely no pizza and no breakfast sandwiches, especially those with sausage and cheese (700 - 800 calories just in that one item).

If you really, really want to lose a lot of weight and fast, go with a lot of grapefruits (no sugar), apples, pears, white meat tuna with little or no mayo and no bread, some broiled chicken breast. This will drop your weight quickly and keep you full. You can eat a bag of apples a day and not consume enough to overeat! An apple has between 70 and 100 calories and weighs from 12 to 16 ounces. That's a lot of food with little calories. One of those burger meal combos is 24 ounces of food at 1500 calories! It's your choice.

After two months you should modify the above rapid weight diet, adding some green veggies, a little red meat now and then just to have a new taste (some lean steak, no potato, carrots or rice). Eventually add in one slice of bread. Once your weight is really down move up to a well rounded diet from each of the food groups (and remember that candy, cake and ice cream are not in any of the normal food groups).

Just so you'll understand, one cookie has the calories of about 3 apples or a half chicken breast -- and I used to kill a package of cookies in a single sitting! Get rid of the bad habits! Your stomach may improve (mine did), your weight will drop, you'll have more energy and look better!

Also do a little exercise. Walk to the store. Do a few sit ups and push ups (10 or 20) and jump a little rope. All you need do is 10 - 30 minutes of total exercise each day to help trim your shape. That, plus better posture, will really improve the image you project now that you're weight is dropping!

Issues Editor Earl R. Dingman is currently writing a diet book describing how he lost 50 pounds in a year while eating most of the foods he liked (including milk shakes, lasagna and chili), while also improving his stomach acid problems in the process!

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