Hearing impaired extreme competitor aims to drop 200 lbs - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Hearing impaired extreme competitor aims to drop 200 lbs

By Nathan Drendel

After speaking with Kyle, it became obvious that many of his struggles were similar to those of many others. He was constantly asking himself the questions of "what should I be eating" and "what shouldn't I be eating." Unfortunately, the mass of conflicting "advice" led Kyle to believe that certain foods are ‘bad' and certain foods are ‘good.' While it is obvious that certain foods are better for our health than others, eliminating foods, especially some of your favorites, is not a healthy approach to weight loss or overall well being.

Our tour began in the produce section, which is where you should spend most of your time and money in the store. At mealtime, fruits and non-starchy vegetables should take up at least half of your plate. Non-starchy vegetables are foods like broccoli, leafy greens, cauliflower, cucumbers, and bell peppers. Starchy vegetables are foods like potatoes, corn, and peas. Throughout the day, you should try to eat at least 3 fists of vegetables and not much more than 2 fists of fruits. Although fruits are excellent sources of many vitamins, minerals, and fiber, the calories can add up quickly. For example, a medium sized banana can have about 100-200 calories!

The dairy section can be confusing for a lot of people. There are many different choices of milks, cheeses, and yogurts which can leave even the most profound dairy lover lost when trying to choose the better option. When choosing milk, skim is always best. It provides all the high quality protein and calcium that its full fat counterpart does, with 1/3 less calories per serving. If the texture of skim milk is unappealing, try 1% or blending skim and 1% to become accustomed to a different mouth feel. While cheese tastes great and still provides protein and calcium, it can become laden with fat and salt. Choosing a lower fat cheese, such as one made with 2% milk, can save you some unwanted calories. Fat-free cheese lacks a lot of texture and melting properties, but mixing it with a 2% cheese can lessen these "symptoms." Choosing yogurt can be daunting. Fat-free varieties many seem like the best choice, but sometimes they can be loaded with sugar to compensate for diminished flavor. You're best option is a plain, Greek yogurt. This has twice the protein found in conventional yogurt and can be substituted for things like sour cream in recipes. If you enjoy fruit flavored yogurt, add your own fresh or unsweetened frozen fruit.

Adjacent to the dairy is the infamous egg. The egg is hands down the highest quality protein available. One large egg contains about 7 grams of protein and numerous vitamins and minerals. While people are often instructed to avoid eggs because they are high in cholesterol, the current science does not support this recommendation. In the majority of people, the cholesterol we eat does not affect our blood cholesterol. That said, including one or two whole eggs (any more than that can start to get a little high in fat) at breakfast is a great way to reach my recommendation of about 30g of lean protein at breakfast time.

Kyle had heard that grains and carbohydrates are ‘bad,' and was always conflicted when he wanted to include them in his meals. Unless you have Celiac disease, grains are an excellent source of carbohydrates (our body's preferred fuel), fiber, and minerals. It is important, however, to choose whole grains over their refined counterparts as much as possible because the refining process removes many of the healthful components of the grain. When choosing grains (breads, pastas, cereals), choose those that have "whole grain" listed as the first ingredient on the food label. Watch portion size too, as the recommendation is 6oz per day, which is roughly 6 slices of bread.  

The fresh meat coolers offer an overwhelming variety of choices. Poultry, beef, fish, and pork are all excellent sources of protein and minerals such as iron. It's important, though, to look at the entire protein package when making selections. Some cuts of meat offer just as much, if not more, saturated fat than protein! Keep your meats lean; this means choosing foods like chicken or turkey breast, pork loin, or lean ground beef (90% lean/10% fat and above). Trim visible fat off before cooking and remove the skin from poultry. Also, remember that a portion of meat is about 3-4oz, approximately the size of a deck of cards. I suggest aiming for about 2 decks of cards per day of lean protein, a little more if you are highly active.

When trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, snacking can either be a great help or a great hindrance. Often people snack on refined, high carbohydrate foods, such as potato chips, cookies, and candy bars. While initially satisfying, this wears off relatively quickly. Adding protein to your snacks can help you to feel full longer. Things like nuts, peanut butter, or cheese can help curb your hunger until it's time for your next meal. When choosing these foods, be mindful as the calories can add up quickly; aim for 1 ounce of nuts (about 25 almonds) and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (about the size of a golf ball). Try adding dried fruit to make a snack mix or spread peanut butter on apple slices or celery sticks for a filling snack.

Take a look at your breakfast cereal, too. Opt for those with higher fiber, higher protein, and less sugar. Fiber and protein both work to keep us feeling full longer, so swapping out cereals can lower both your hunger and your waist line. When reaching for the granola bars, do a little investigation. Often times there can be just as much sugar in these seemingly "healthy" bars as there is in candy bars. Use the same strategy as choosing a cereal when selecting your granola bar.

Some other take home points:

  • Be careful when choosing fat-free products such as salad dressing; often they add sugar when the fat is removed, so take a look at the calories and make sure the swap is worth it
  • Just because it says fat-free or reduced-fat doesn't mean to double up on the portion, keep your portions in check while cutting back on the unnecessary calories
  • Start the day with lean protein; about 30 grams
  • Choose whole fruit over juice; if you want juice, keep portions to 4oz or less
  • Beans/Legumes are great sources of protein and other nutrients. Aim to replace some meat dishes with some beans for a great plant based protein meal.
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