You Gonna Eat All That? A Man's Guide to Calories
That trendy South Beach diet? Long gone. Atkins? Dead with the good doc who created it. The latest wisdom on nutrition is all about getting back to basics: If you learn to eat (only slightly) less, you'll be healthier, live longer, and enjoy your food more than you did back in your triple-bacon-cheeseburger days. GQ's 100 percent guiltless and fad-free introduction to a lower-calorie lifestyle
It wasn't all that long ago that a man could treat himself to a giant hunk of prime ribpiled high with ten slices of bacon and a thick pat of butterand so long as there wasn't a baked potato in sight, claim to be dieting. Try that now and you're likely to get called out for being exactly what you are: a glutton. We are living in a post-fad-diet moment, a time when scientists, doctors, and nutritionists have returned to the notion that what matters most for maintaining a healthy weight is not what you put into your body but how much. In other words, you needn't waste time trying to keep pace with the latest research on fatty fish acids or obsessing over whether you should be giving up carbs, fats, or refined sugars this month. It's as simple as teaching yourself to eat less.
That's right: Eat less . But how?
Good question. Most guys spend exactly no time keeping track of how many calories they're taking in, and honestly, it's hard to blame them.
Calorie counting is frustrating, tedious, andworst of allineffectual. It's the fastest route to just giving up and going back to your old, bad habits. What we're endorsing is a more realistic approachno calorie calculator or diet coach requiredbased on five easy steps. Follow them and you'll learn to control your appetite (without denying yourself the pleasure of eating), to eat healthier (and ultimately tastier!) foods, and to make lower-calorie eating part of your everyday life.
1. Recognize the need to start reducing now.
When you're youngin your twenties, sayit's easy to think that no matter how many pounds you put on, you'll always be able to starve and exercise yourself back into fighting shape. Here's some bad news: Weight gain is self-reinforcing. AS YOUR WEIGHT CLIMBS, YOUR BODY'S METABOLISM ADJUSTS TO MAINTAIN YOUR NEW GIRTH. You can cut calories, but you'll be constantly fighting the hunger your body produces to keep you at your current size.
The solution? Don't let yourself slip in the first place. MAINTAINING A LOW WEIGHT OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR ENTIRE LIFE IS ABOUT MORE THAN LOOKING GOOD; it'll preserve your overall health. Recent studies have shown that waist size is a leading indicator for diabetes, heart disease, and just about every other ailment likely to kill a man. (In other words, the larger your pants, the more likely you are to experience chronic illness as you age.) By being vigilant about how much you eatno matter how old you areyou'll save yourself from a lifetime of fending off weight gain and the health problems that accompany it.
It's the Serving Sizes, Stupid
CHART INFORMATION: "THE ECOLOGY OF EATING" BY PAUL ROZIN ET AL., PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE.
"LOW FAT"? NO THANKS
If you grew up in the '80s, the notion that fat is evil is probably lodged deep inside your brain. But remember: It's calories you're concerned about, and you needn't obsess over where they're coming from. Certain low-fat foods replace fat with sugar and can actually end up containing more calories: Low-fat yogurt, for example, can contribute more to your daily caloric intake than the richer, creamier (and tastier) full-fat stuff.
2. Learn your portions.
On average, the American man consumes about 500 calories more each day than he needs to maintain his weight. That's because, compared with the rest of the world, he has absolutely no idea what the hell a serving size is (for proof, look left). With serving sizes so out of whack, the fact that you probably already know how to assemble a proper meal (some meat, some carbs, a bunch of veggies) matters very little: EVEN THOUGH YOU'RE EATING THE RIGHT MIX OF THINGS, YOU'RE ALMOST CERTAINLY EATING WAY TOO MUCH OF EVERYTHING.
How can you tell the right amount? The answer depends on your age, height, weight, and activity level (an active 31-year-old man needs between 2,400 and 3,000 daily calories to maintain his weight), but a good place to start is by becoming familiar with portions. According to Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, for an adult male, a healthy portion of meat is "about the size of the palm of your hand and as thick as a deck of cards." (Using your palm as a guide takes into account differences in body size SHAQ, FOR EXAMPLE, SHOULD BE EATING A STEAK BIGGER THAN YOURS.) Correct portion size also depends on the amount of calories in a given food, but it's not too hard to figure that out. The more fat or sugar an item hasi.e., the more it resembles dessertthe smaller the serving size. You probably have a good feel for it already; test yourself on these items:
An average serving of peanut butter should be the size of: (a) a Ping-Pong ball, (b) a pea, (c) a tennis ball.
A serving of cheese should be the size of: (a) a wheel of Brie, (b) your fist, (c) a stack of Post-it notes.
A serving of pasta, rice, or potatoes should be the size of: (a) your netbook, (b) your cupped hand, (c) a travel tube of toothpaste.
You needn't limit yourself to just one serving of all foods straightaway, but if you're finding that four stacks of Post-it notes' worth of the cheese plate is your normal hors d'oeuvres routine, you should rein it in. Still hungry, you say? Then help yourself to Step #3.
Answers: 1.a; 2.c; 3.b.
3. Eat as much as you want of these foods.
Certain foods deliver fewer calories in bigger packages; they're filling without loading you up on surplus energy. And by making them staples of your diet, it's easy to eat less without feeling like you're eating less. The majority of these foods are fruits and vegetables, which are more filling by virtue of their high water and fiber content. For example, YOU'D HAVE TO CONSUME FOUR WHOLE ORANGES (564 GRAMS) AT SNACK TIME TO EQUAL THE SAME NUMBER OF CALORIES, 280, FOUND IN A SINGLE SNICKERS BAR (59 GRAMS). Proteinespecially the sort found in lean meats and dairyis another great way to trick your body into satiety. When digested, it causes the release of a hormone called CCK that makes you feel full. Combine lean protein and fruitsay, yogurt and strawberriesand there's a perfect breakfast.
AS A GENERAL RULE, YOU CAN NEVER GO WRONG EATING FRUITS AND VEGGIES UNTIL YOU'RE FULL. But that doesn't have to mean subsisting on uninspiring Red Delicious apples or broccoli boiled to utter flavorlessness. One of the great triumphs of modern supermarket shopping is the sheer variety of produce on offerhalf a dozen kinds of apples, a few kinds of pears, kiwis, mangoes, papayasand you'll improve your chances of keeping a healthy amount of fruit in your diet by cycling through different varieties. For veggies, avoid steaming and boiling; they may be the lowest-cal options, but you'll be bored to death within daysand return to your old, higher-calorie way of eating. Instead, sautA[c], roast, or grill them.
THE DRINKING MAN'S GUIDE TO A LOWER-CALORIE NIGHT OUT
First the bad news: Alcohol is calorie-dense, and a few drinks add up quickly. But by having a glass of water with each drink, you'll wind up ordering fewer of them (and have less of a hangover the next morning, too). Per serving, wine has the fewest calories, then beer, then cocktails.
4. Keep it simple.
A man could waste a mighty amount of time trying to keep pace with the latest nutritional wisdom: the current studies on regulating appetite, the antioxidant fad of the month, that new self-helpy-sounding book on why weight gain really isn't your fault. You don't want to go down that road. First of all, it's tiresome. And it'll ultimately leave you more confused than when you started. Researchers are still debating a lot of shockingly elementary questions about nutrition, and CHANCES ARE, IF YOU LATCH ONTO ONE PARTICULAR FINDING AS YOUR DIETARY GOSPEL, SOME NEW STUDY WILL SOON OVERTURN IT.
Instead, try focusing on just a few basic ways of cutting backa salad instead of a burger and fries for lunch (800 calories less) or the petite portion of steak when you're out for dinner (200 calories less)and ONCE YOU'RE DOING THAT CONSISTENTLY, ADOPT ANOTHER, LIKE BUYING SMALLER DINNER PLATES TO USE AT HOME (YOU'LL PUT LESS FOOD ON THEM). You'll notice the resultsin your energy level, your appreciation of food, and your waistlinealmost immediately.
5. It's okay to indulgeevery once in a while.
You will slip up and help yourself to a coma-inducing plate of nachos every now and thendon't let that derail you. "This is not all or nothing," says Harvey Simon, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "IT'S NOT A QUESTION OF CHANGING EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE. THAT DOESN'T WORK." Doing too much explains why, in one study, 80 percent of conventional dieters regained the weight they'd lost within one year of stopping their dietit's easy to sustain an ambitious regimen for a short time, but most dieters soon revert to their old ways.
THE WHOLE POINT OF ADOPTING A LOWER-CALORIE APPROACH IS THAT IT'S NOT A TEMPORARY FIX; IT'S A LIFESTYLE CHANGE. You're trying to alter your attitude toward food: It's about being more conscious of what goes into your body, and just as eating locally, seasonally, or organically improves the quality of what you eat, so does focusing on eating fewer calories. You'll enjoy your food more and live to eat longerwhich, from where we stand, can only be good things.
Starting Now: Less Meat
Want to know where most of your calories are coming from? You could follow the lead of two anonymous GQ editorsone a fish-eating vegetarian, one a barbecue fanand record what you eat for a few days. Or you could just take our word for it and cut back on the amount of meat you consume. Doing so could slice your daily calorie consumption by 4 percent or more.
Total calories: 10,472*****Total calories: 13,126
Source Citation:"You Gonna Eat All That? A Man's Guide To Calories." GQ - Gentlemen's Quarterly 79.6 (June 2009): 98. General OneFile. Gale. Alachua County Library District. 16 Oct. 2009
Gale Document Number:A201650844
Disclaimer:This information is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.
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