Thursday, April 9, 2009

To all the fat haters

My biggest pet peeve with being so open about my weight loss is having people come to me with common nutrition information that they don't think I've heard or read about somewhere else, and more specifically with complaints about "ghastly" fat contents. It could just be that I'm an evil, ungrateful person, but a lot of the time I feel they're coming to me with information just to impress me but they're actually doing the exact opposite.

I can't claim to be an expert on weight loss, but I have lost 60 pounds in the last 10 months which makes me feel like I do have a general knowledge of what it takes to shed weight (albeit slowly but diligently) and I haven't done it by counting fat grams with the exception of trans fats. The first things I look for on a nutrition label are partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), high fructose corn syrup, and enriched flour, but the last thing I look at is the saturated and unsaturated fat contents. I'm far more interested in the total calories, protein, sodium, and carbohydrate versus fiber ratio.

Fat does not make you fat, overeating and sustaining a sedimentary lifestyle does. Your body needs fat to function properly. In my opinion, the only reason you should be hung up on fat grams when trying to lose weight is because you're avoiding trans fats as much as possible and getting more unsaturated fats than saturated fats. My logic has always been get the proper amounts of protein and carbohydrates in your diet and the fat will fall into place.

My main approach to losing this weight has revolved around not denying myself the things I really, truly want. My family is having a large, undoubtedly unhealthy dinner for Easter Sunday and am I really going to sit there and watch my family eat platefuls of ham and potatoes and buttery rolls followed by pie and chocolate bunnies while I nibble on a salad sans dressing? I don't think so. Am I going to work out harder for it and take smaller servings? Absolutely. I'm going to eat every fattening, starchy, creamy food they put in front of me and then I'm going to get right back on track again Monday with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and a healthy dose of fat-laden dairy products that make my body want to shed this extra weight. If I didn't allow myself the freedom to stop dieting on special occasions or sometimes even just for the heck of it, I wouldn't be able to sustain this lifestyle. Not to mention, the abundance of extra calories actually revs up my metabolism after running a deficit for a while.

I digress. My point is, you should not be afraid of fat grams. You should be mindful of fat grams, but a slice of pie or a candy bar every once in while is not going to turn you in to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Au contraire! It might actually make you more fun to be around.

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