Week 5: A little fat and a little carb

After more than a week of weight loss slump, post-birthday cake, post wings & fries, I made an effort to get back on track with losing some pounds. I considered whether to make more drastic cuts in my eating beyond what I initially intended, but decided instead to simply remind myself of, and recommit to, My 8 Rules – be sure to get 5 fruits and veggies each day, pay attention to the body’s hunger-fullness signals, and keep the portions modest, particularly when it comes to snacks. One additional reminder to myself was to pass up things made with flour and sugar, thereby avoiding not only unhealthy carbs, but also some fat, since things made with flour and sugar often contain generous amounts of butter.

Over the years, I’ve adopted an approach to eating that conforms loosely to the Mediterranean Diet: olive oil as the principal fat; lots of fish and poultry; red meat in moderation; fruits and vegetables in abundance; dairy in moderation, including cheese, yogurt, and 2% milk (I don’t care for skim); nuts, legumes, whole grains; a little wine.

I don’t focus on either low-fat or low-carbs. There are healthy fats, which the body needs, the kind found in olive oil, salmon, nuts, avocados; and there are healthy carbs such as corn, grapes, whole grain cereal, potatoes. Potatoes are good carbs, low in saturated fat, rich in potassium, vitamin C, B6, and magnesium. They’re versatile and satisfying, too. I was watching when the legendary Julia Child, at age 90, told Larry King how she loved a baked potato, with lots of butter. And I remember thinking, So do I.


I shan’t argue that french fries are bad for you. As much as I love them, I must acknowledge the nutritional pitfalls of ‘deep-fried’ in hydrogenated something-or-other oil. That’s bad.

But there’s a debate about even the good stuff: low-fat versus low-carb for weight loss and health. Clearly, the scientific evidence favors the low-carb argument.

How the times have changed… and also what we once thought was good for health and longevity. Avoiding fat, all fat, was thought to be good. Does anyone recall tromping up and down the grocery aisles scanning packages for “healthy” low-fat foods, defined, for example, as containing < X g. of fat per serving, never mind the sugar? Well, now we know how detrimental sugar can be to health, and the current guidelines recommend that sugar make up no more than 5% of total diet. For most normal-weight adults, that amounts to about 25 grams a day (less than half of what’s in the typical flavored blended coffee drink).


Caution when reading package labels. The FDA has some catching up to do.


So, should we be counting grams now along with calories?

Personally, I’m disinclined to count. But I will pay attention and try to steer clear of flour and sugar. Generally speaking. Unless, of course, someone is having a birthday. Every rule has its exceptions.

The last week was a good one. I followed my rules, and still enjoyed some dark chocolate and a coconut macaroon or two (very small – just a little bit of sugar).


Green leaf salad with herb-roasted golden beets, red onion, cucumber and red wine vinaigrette

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Warm corn tortillas topped with fire-roasted tomato sauce, chicken, sour cream and cilantro

My weight is going down again – at 126 lbs. I’ll take my pounds one at a time.

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