Category Archives: Obesity

Calorie Labeling and your weekend dinner plans

I am constantly struggling with my weight. If I don’t walk about 5 miles a day I gain weight — and if I eat out with any regularity at all I gain weight. The switch that makes my brain relate what I’m eating to my weight and health just shuts off when I’m at a restaurant. And without that switch — I’m out of control.

Ezra Klein is discussing that experience in his post, Calorie Labeling In Action, today

All quite delicious. When I got back to the office, though, I decided to see what it added up to. First, I looked up the cookie. A solid 450 calories, with 19 grams of fat. Yikes. But what might have actually changed my purchase was knowing the content of my sandwich: According to the nutrition calculator, 525 calories.

The calories in the cookie weren’t startling. But their calories relative to my sandwich proved a bit off-putting. I could pretty much have ordered a second sandwich for the caloric cost. Buying them without the information, it was easy enough to just consider them a side dish. As it happened, the cookie was more like a second lunch. I wouldn’t have ordered a second lunch. Good to know.

I had that EXACT experience with a Subway sandwich and a cookie a few years ago. Their cookies are only in the 200 calorie range but, they’re puny. I got two that day (440 calories) and NEVER did it again.

When it comes to calories knowledge isn’t just power — it’s control. And it’s not just me:

The following table comes from a Health Impact Assessment prepared by the County of Los Angeles on calorie labeling laws. It shows how much of the whole county’s projected weight gain would be averted if calorie labeling got X percent of restaurant patrons to make average decisions that were Y calories smaller

Follow the links and take a look (Ezra has a link to a graph) — it’s pretty impressive! And since it’s likely you won’t find the label on the menu at your favorite restaurant, spend a couple of minutes looking at the nutrition information on their website before you go.

Overweight Oscillating Oscar

The author of The Hacker’s Diet, John Walker, has generously given me permission to discuss his diet in detail using some quotes, with links back to his site. (Earlier E4T articles on The Hacker’s Diet)

Many of us live the life of Oscar or at least know somebody like him. Oscar’s always on a diet.


. . . Oscar is simply struggling with a different feedback system.

Oscar has the very same feedback curve as Sam, but his is shifted a little to the right, toward eating too much. One day Sam eats slightly more than he needs, and the next day slightly less. But since feedback keeps him within the range his metabolism can adjust to, Sam’s weight stays the same. When Oscar eats slightly too much, though, he’s pushed immediately into the region where he packs on weight. The next day, like Sam, he may eat less but, since that’s within the flat part where metabolism compensates, he keeps all the weight he packs on whenever he eats a little too much.

Continue reading »

Eat 4 Today Welcome Wagon

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a welcome message but today, with 5 new members, seems like a good time.

In honor of the occasion, I took a picture of myself (and broke the tripod in the process.) After balancing a TV Tray on the couch, I came up with this:

Between my fear that the TV Tray/couch relationship wasn’t going to work and getting the remote control set and the weights more-less-on-camera, the photo isn’t entirely successful (the eyes are particularly frightening). But, it’s better than the 6 or 7 others I took. About 5 minutes after I took this photo, the grand-doggie got out and we had to go tearing through the neighborhood chasing him down (he’s back now and totally crashed out on my right foot.)

So, I’m 52 years old, struggling against obesity (I’ve been well into obese weight levels 3 times) and diabetes (blood sugar 2 minutes ago, 1 hour after eating – 141.) This blog, is a critical piece of that fight for me.

In the past week two doctors have made comments about my weight and weight loss. When I asked a doctor if a certain condition was caused by my obesity, he chuckled and assured me that I wasn’t obese. The second one asked me if I was proud of myself for losing so much weight.

I had to explain to both doctors that obesity isn’t curable. That once a person has become obese, the best they can do is control it. I know this is true for me. I’ve gained and lost huge amounts of weight often enough to know that losing the weight is the easy part. I told those doctors that I’d be proud if someday I could look back on 30 years and know that I had kept both the obesity and diabetes under tight control. but, as of today, no — I’m not proud of losing a lot of weight this year.

Well, that’s my story. It changes a little as it goes. I learn more about how to face my challenges and how & why I failed in the past. It’s my hope that will make those challenges easier. For me and you.

I’m glad you stopped by tonight. And I hope I have a chance to get to know you.


Eat 4 Today – The Commitment. Even here, the devil is in the details

I’m not going to eat between meals and I’m not going to take seconds. Just Today. And I’m going to try this for a year to see what happens.

In earlier posts this week we talked about how (even if we’ve made The Commitment) calories still count. That most women (especially those struggling with obesity) burn about 2000 calories a day. And if we want to lose weight, this number should be lurking in the back of our mind as we measure our portions of food. But, we’re not totally limited by that number; we can boost it enough to make a difference with just a little exercise. And that’s what we’ll be talking about today. Continue reading »

Eat 4 Today – The Commitment.

I’m not eating between meals and I’m not taking seconds. Just today.e And I’m going to try this for a year to see what happens.

Dealing with obesity can feel like a hopeless task. Because most of us haven’t faced the fact that obesity isn’t curable — that it’s only controllable. m And so we think we’re done with it as soon as we’ve successfully lost it. And that’s far from true.

Losing the weight is the easy part. I Friends, family and even total strangers will praise us as we lose the weight. We get the thrill of fitting into favorite old clothes and shopping for stylish new ones. Everytime we look in a mirror is like opening a present — it’s so satisfying to see ourselves looking so great.

But eventually the complements fade away as people become accustomed to our new look. And we get used to our reflection in the mirror. g And most of us can’t afford (or stand to) go shopping enough to make up for the loss of those boosts to our egos.

And most importantly, the ‘diet’ becomes a drag. We want our treats — if we didn’t we wouldn’t have become obese in the first place!

Last year I knew I had to get my weight under control but also that I wanted a permanent solution. e I did not and do not want to gain this weight back. I just can’t bear to go through this again. n And somehow I came up with a winning idea.

I started an experiment – that I wouldn’t eat between meals and I wouldn’t take seconds. And I’d try it for a year to see what happens. o Well, it’s been 3/4 year and it’s a wildly successful plan. It’s so much easier to control what I eat — the portion sizes and contents of meals — if I’m not eating constantly through the day.

If you’ve struggled with obesity, even if you aren’t quite there yet, consider making The Commitment.d Don’t let this monster steal another day of your life.