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The industry breathed a sigh of relief seeing that a few changes made everything all right and world could return to its infatuation with Drive-Thru. We beamed with a sense of satisfaction that we had prodded market in a healthier direction. Then we noticed that we were still fat.
Where had we gone wrong? Well, "small" burgers were still big: two to three times size of their relatives of forty years ago. The salads were healthy until drenched with several hundred calories of creamy dressing. To maintain taste we had come to love, toppings were added: more kinds of cheese, butter, relishes and dipping sauces. And everything was still primarily fried: breakfast, burgers, chicken, potatoes. Even high quality, frequently-changed deep fry oil is loaded with calories to be deposited on our waistlines, hips, and internal organs.
Fast food has taken us out of kitchen into a world where demand for productivity makes us work harder and longer and steals away any notion of spare time. We run to keep pace with a society spinning ever faster and we eat on run because to pause is to fail. Is there no escape? This is Twenty-first Century -- returning to food regimes of fifty or a hundred years ago is improbable. The old fashioned "made from scratch" meals require too much time and effort, except for special occasions, in our fast-paced, two-working-parents, long-work-and-commute lives.
What we can do, if we seek to withdraw from enormous herd of heavyweights, is to remember that way to health, slenderness, delayed aging, and increased longevity has been demonstrated repetitively by our little friend, laboratory rat.
The secret is consistent, prolonged, cheat-proofed, under-eating. Once that core concept has been adopted, and completely internalized, pathway to a new, thin you becomes clear: eat whatever you want but a LOT LESS. We're not looking at old adage of "eat moderately and move around a lot" because we know, from experience, that it doesn't work. When I say a "lot less" I mean it. You may be eating three times a day, plus snacks. Cutting out a snack here or a dessert there may eventually help you lose weight - if you have twenty years to invest in attempt.
Don't "cut back." Slash, sever, pulverize your portions. If you eat three meals a day, change to eating just one. If you like to graze on six mini-meals or snacks, cut to two. Reducing your overall intake by two thirds should bring you into zone of your actual daily needs. Yes, it would be nice if you opted to make those reduced calories all highly nutritious but we all know that you are going to eat what you are going to eat, no matter how much health gurus nag you. So go ahead and eat what you intend, just one third of your usual rations.
To keep your energy on an even keel, you can spread your one meal throughout day. If your usual lunch is a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, split it up: a shake for breakfast, a burger for lunch, a dinner of fries and a slice of cheese. Are you then on a diet? Are you using your precious time on specialty shopping and food preparation? Do you have to think about what menu items fit into your prescribed weight plan? No, none of these apply. You are simply eating way you have always done except one day of your prior food plan now last three days. If you're worried about your health, take a multivitamin (funny, you weren't worried about your health on same fare in past, were you?) If you are a tall, large-boned individual or you feel (genuinely and persistently) faint, take a canned nutritional booster like Ensure.
It is almost too simple and too easy IF you have really internalized concept of under-eating and have adopted a "can do,will do," attitude - key to everything.
P. S. You'll save a lot of money too!
Virginia Bola is a licensed psychologist and an admitted diet fanatic. She specializes in therapeutic reframing and the effects of attitudes and motivation on individual goals. The author of The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a free ezine, The Worker's Edge, she is currently working on a psychologically-based weight control book: Diet with an Attitude. She can be reached at http://dietwithanattitude.blogspot.com