Eating right

I hope Thursday’s post didn’t leave anyone with the impression that I don’t understand the part diet plays in my weight loss. I know that restricting sweets is important if I want to keep the weight off. A new study released by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh reinforces this and goes one step further – according to a review of the study at, “...eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat and cheese emerged as ... important predictors for long-term weight loss.”

The study corroborated what we’ve known for a long time: that cutting back on sugary beverages and desserts as well as high-fat foods is important if you want to lose weight. The new finding, that eating more fruits and vegetables is important if you want to keep the weight off once you’ve lost it, corroborates what I’ve come to believe over the last two years.

it’s not my own case that led me to this belief—for most of my adult life I’ve eaten a lot of fruits and vegetables. It was my mother’s loss of 30 to 40 pounds over the last two years. I found her case particularly interesting—she was overweight for many years, and we had been after her to eat better and become more physically active so she would lose some of the extra pounds. She always claimed she couldn’t eat salads, and she didn’t like to eat most fruits—they “didn’t agree” with her. That changed almost two years ago, after she had a bleeding ulcer repaired and was treated for the H. pylori infection that caused the ulcer. Her hospitalization and recovery started her off on the weight-loss, but that could only account for the first five to 10 pounds.

Once the ulcer was gone, Mom’s eating habits changed. Suddenly she was able to eat more raw vegetables and fruits, and she found she liked them! Her diet improved considerably. And, her weight kept dropping, and has stayed off. I think she’s living proof that the researchers at Pitt are onto something!

The revelation in their study won’t change my eating habits much—I’ve always loved fresh fruits and vegetables. And, I’ve been eating less meat since I had an altercation with a kidney stone several years ago. The analysis of my stone found that it was made up mostly of calcium in meat proteins—including those from fish and shellfish. My urologist said it was OK to replace meat proteins with those in dairy products, but because I was concerned about gaining weight from eating too much cheese, I started relying on reduced-fat cheeses and yogurt whenever possible. Even with the reductions in meat and high-fat dairy products, I kept gaining weigt—not an uncommon problem for post-menopausal women, who were the subject of the University of Pittsburgh study. In my case, I believe the reduction of caloric intake has been as important as increasing my weekly exercise to about 250 hours. As I found out recently, I need not to be too restrictive because if I am too hungry I’m going to say, “Screw the diet!” and stop counting calories.

It’s a complicated situation. I intend to keep at it. I look better and feel terrific! I love eating, and I’m happy with what I eat. And, I love the way I feel when I’ve been to the gym. Life is good all around!