At least two combo meals a day with a steady inflow of soda and snack type foods plus a more traditional dinner on many days. That about describes my typical daily caloric intake from 1994 till 2010. No wonder I was obese and steadily gaining. Many who might read this already know my weight loss story so I'm not going to dwell too much on it, but I do want to mention a few things I learned and some habits that I picked up.
1) There is no such thing as "good" food. I am amazed to no end at the way main stream society constantly describes any given food as "good". What a joke. Food is a necessary evil. If a social encounter happens to force me into a situation where I must describe a food, then I choose to describe it based on its nutritional value.
For instance, after preparing a meal of steamed vegetable mix, macaroni and cheese, and a 4 oz pork chop, my wife, Denise, may ask..."So honey, how was dinner?" To which I would reply "The overall caloric intake will have to be justified by a 90 minute, high intensity physical expenditure. In addition, there is significant debate with regards to the value of steaming a vegetable that was already perfect in its raw form. The processed cheese sauce will require significant biological resources to metabolize and I question the need for animals as a source of nutrition when most of the nutritional value in animal based products can be obtained from other sources, however, I noticed that at 4 oz the portion was perfect for the sake of variety."
(Only people who enjoy scientific debate or analysis ask me how I like a given food or meal)
2) Most of the foods that are widely available and consumed have only existed for a few decades. CDC statistics show a significant growth in obesity rates over just the past few decades. Granted that correlation does not necessarily imply causation, but I choose to put two and two together and frown greatly on most modern packaged type foods and restaurants in general. As a rule of thumb, if my grandfathers grandfather wouldn't immediately be able to identify something as a food, then I greet it with skepticism and caution.
3) Education opportunities are everywhere! Thanks to the internet and netflix, research has never been easier. Google search something before you eat it. Don't believe everything you read. Go to several sources. Go to competing sources. Eventually a pattern will emerge.
Netflix has many documentaries about food. I highly recommend Food Inc., Super Size Me, Fast Food Nation, Forks over Knives, King Corn and The Gerson Miracle.
4) Salt, sugar and fat turn people into zombies and/or sheeple. This is perhaps the most shocking discovery that I made. The government will go to extreme measures to make some addictive and habit forming substances illegal, but the most mind altering and health deteriorating stuff on the planet is deposited directly into the food supply. It is easier for me to quit smoking than it was to change my diet away from salt, sugar and fat. Not to mention a ton of chemicals used in processed foods and drinks...the human body was simply not designed to run on this stuff, but people will flock to it like crazed brain dead creatures just to satisfy a craving, and then sit around and talk about how "good" it was...pure insanity!
5) Exercise alone got me from clinically obese to overweight, after that I had to change my eating habits in order to get down to AMA guideline statistical perfection. I don't know the exact ratio, but at a guess I'd say weight is 70% what you eat and 30% exercise. Notice I said "what" and not "how much". At some point you have to put the brakes on and not be glutenous, but quality is king over quantity. I still gorge a little everyday, but its on foods that kill my appetite, like celery, carrots and cauliflower.