Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Savor Foods with the Slim Set

JCT Kitchen in Atlanta

They’re slim. They’re trim and they love to dine. How do they do it? Well, it turns out that fit folks really are different from their bulge-challenged friends. Sure, there are genetic physiological differences in all of us that predetermine our metabolic rates and the way our bodies store fat. But, it’s the power of mind (read: willpower and motivation) that keeps those skinny people skinny. Dr. John Foreyt, professor of psychiatry and behavioral Sciences Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, says studies have identified what makes them different, “They are eternally vigilant with daily or weekly weighing, they monitor calorie intake and they’re highly active exercising at least 60 minutes a day.” And according to Dr. Jim Hill’s research from the National Weight Control Registry (a database of more than 5,000 people who've lost more than 30 pounds and kept the weight off for at least a year) their exercise of choice is not marathon running- it’s walking but walking enough to burn 400 calories a day, “The good news is small changes for all of us, things that take very little time and effort, like walking an extra 2,000 steps a day about 15 minutes can burn 100 calories.”
What else does the slim set do to maintain their weight? Here’s a menu of healthy behaviors.

They Eat Until Satisfied Not Stuffed - Try putting your fork down halfway through a meal and ask yourself using a 1 to 10 scale, how full are you? Take a sip of water and think about it some more. Talk to your dining companions. You’ll give yourself time to gauge how hungry you really are and by eating slowly it allows the stomach time to trigger the brain’s sensation of fullness.

They Eat More Fruit and Vegetables - Bet you’re not surprised by this one! According to a 2006 study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association healthy weight women eat one more serving of fruit and eat more fiber and less fat per day than overweight people. And even though many people associate weight loss with high protein intake, the statistics from the successful dieters in the National Weight Control Registry don’t support the eat-all-the-steak-you-want diet. Their diets were on average 20% protein, 24% fat and 56% carbohydrates. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are the best source of healthy carbs.

They Have a Plan and Stick to It - 78% of successful dieters in National Weight Control Registry ate breakfast every day. And- sorry to tell you this- they consistently monitor their food intake. According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine conducted by Dr. Rena Wing of Brown University, folks who lost weight and kept it off continued to be careful about consumption of lower calorie menu options and moderated their fat intake.

So how does all of this work in the real world? Here’s an example of putting these slim strategies to work at a place you might not think would fit into lifelong fitness. But it does! JCT Kitchen, an Atlanta restaurant famous for “Southern Farmstead Cooking” serves up some of the city’s best fried chicken and baked macaroni and cheese.
But look more closely at Executive Chef Ford Fry’s menu of seasonal fresh and local ingredients and you’ll find plenty of healthy choices. His Sunday Suppers menu offers nine vegetables and the meal starts with a salad of mixed lettuces and vegetables fresh from the Westside Farm Stand. The Meat & 3 suppers are a great way to enjoy a just-right portion of protein surrounded by the vegetables you’re supposed to be eating. I’d get the Roast Chicken with natural jus, collard greens or pole beans and sliced tomatoes drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil. I’d also hope that someone at the table orders the baked macaroni with Benton’s ham and cheddar so I could have a bite!

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