Every morning when you consider breakfast you have a choice. You can have the Pop-tart® or you can have an egg with a bit of fruit. Both have 25 grams of carbohydrates(not from the egg but from the fruit), but there is a difference. If you eat the Pop-tart, your blood sugar will quickly rise, which will cause you to produce more insulin, and in a couple of hours, you will be hungry again. If you eat the egg and a bit of fruit (an apple), your blood sugar won’t rise as fast, and your sense of “satiety” or fullness will last longer. Glycemic Index is a measure of how fast blood sugar rises after eating carbohydrates. A Pop-tart has a glycemic index of around 70, while an apple has about 28. The higher the glycemic index, the more that food is associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Besides, the apple will have more fiber, more vitamins, and more other good stuff. Although the Pop-tart sounds good, you have the choice of eating what you want or gaining weight. The egg will have a bit of protein, and has a glycemic index of almost zero.
Carbohydrates are complex molecules of sugar. Some are put together in such a way that the body processes them differently and therefore, they are not associated with as much obesity. Naturally, anything you eat in excess can cause obesity (yes, even if you are on the Atkins diet you can still eat enough fat that your high school outfit will never fit). Carbohydrates that are less likely to cause obesity are vegetables, pulpy fruits (like grapefruit) and legumes. Those most often associated with obesity are breads, rice, pasta, and candy.
While counting carbohydrates is an easy way to lose weight—remember, those that have a lower glycemic index are far better for you and will keep you feeling full much longer than the higher glycemic index carbohydrates.
Weight loss surgery – after the first six weeks…
…If you have reached a plateau, you should check several things:
- Check the label and see how many carbohydrates and how much sugar your food contains.Certain foods will slow down and even STOP weight loss. Foods with sugar or high glycemic carbohydrates, including things you may not think about like fruits, fruit juices, condiments, potatoes, soft drinks, breads, and pastas.
- If you need a snack, make certain the snack is high in protein and not in carbohydrates or sugars. Snacking will slow down weight loss. A few extra bites of something contain a few calories you do not need.
- Do not skip meals. Meals are planned for, so it is easy to have nutritious food that has fewer calories (and lower glycemic index carbohydrates). If you skip meals, you will feel more like eating snacks, and snacks are filled with lots of dense calories. Skipping meals does not help to lose weight. In fact, the more you skip meals, the longer it takes you to get to your goal weight (a BMI of 22).
- Remember to eat three meals a day, not three hundred. Grazing will kill you. You can slowly consume a lot of calories by grazing. If a meal is taking you longer than 30 minutes to finish, you are grazing. The first few weeks you will need to eat a little bit at a time, but then you need to transition into three meals a day. This transition is difficult because you cannot believe that a two-inch square of salmon will fill you.
- Exercise. If you are not walking, the world is passing you by. Walk, walk, walk, and walk. When you are tired of walking, walk again. There is no excuse. If you need a new hip, knee, back, or other joint, then get involved in water aerobics. My favorite excuse is, “I walk a lot at work.” More about walking later. Essentially, if you are not dedicating some time to exercise, you are missing the boat. My suggestion—purchase a recumbent bike.
- Count carbohydrates. The more carbohydrates you consume, the harder it is to lose weight. Sixty grams a day should be MORE than enough. Check the carbohydrates you are eating and see where they fit on the glycemic index scale. There is a list of common glycemic index carbohydrates on this website.
- Check the sugar content. Natural sugar and honey are still sugar and natural fruits contain sugar. Your body really doesn’t care if little elves, an organic mistress, or mom made the cake you eat. Just because it is natural does not mean your body won’t grab the calories. Believe me, your body loves sugar, and it will grab onto every molecule and hang onto it for dear life. If you don’t believe me, then you are not my weight loss surgery patient.
- Check the calendar. For women, your cycle will affect your weight. During certain times of the month, you will retain more fluid and weigh more. There is a natural urge to snack more during these times. That is why you should keep a supply of sugar-free fudge sickles—damn it!
- Skip the Happy Hour. Alcohol contains calories. Wine and beer have a lot of carbohydrates, but alcohol has a lot of calories per serving. After weight loss surgery you will absorb alcohol quickly (you will become a cheap date).