As many of you are surely doing, I again tuned in for “Heavy” on A&E last week. Reasons for being overweight run the gamut, but it boils down to regularly overeating and/or eating too much of the wrong variety of foods.
Well, I’ve been waiting to see participants actually sit down to a meal, and on this latest show, it finally happened. After pushing themselves to the limit with gym exercises, walking and swimming, the featured guy and gal sat down to a spartan dinner. We were just given a quick glance at the plates, but the discouraged expression on the faces of the two diners was certainly evident. A glimpse at the meal showed what looked to be an average-size bowl of greens-based salad, about a half-cup scoop of something I’m assuming was a protein source or possibly a protein/grain combo, a tiny serving of vegetables, and a drink. Perhaps this was not the whole meal, but that’s all viewers were shown. (One of the elite spa’s employees did mention that participants’ daily calorie quota ranged between 1200 and 1800 calories, which is certainly a reasonable amount for those wanting to lose weight.)
But from my perspective, those who see this kind of meal, and think such a strict regimen is what is required to rid themselves of excess poundage are being given an unrealistic model. My calorie goal is 1400 daily, and my lightest meal of most any day is around 350 calories, which, well-planned, provides me nourishment and satiety for a few hours. Here’s an example of two meals that add up to around 750 to 800 calories, leaving around 600 calories for the other meal and a couple of snacks: Breakfast – 2/3 cup oatmeal, 1 slice 50-calorie whole wheat toast, 2 tsp. vegetable-oil spread and a bit of jelly, 1 cup 1% milk, coffee, and a piece of small fruit. Lunch – about 3-ounces lean protein, 1 fat serving, 2 non-starchy veggies (half-cup servings), 1 to 2 grain/starch servings and a fruit.
It has been exciting and impressive to see the results and changes in both weight and attitude in “Heavy” participants at the end of 6 months, but the process being a role model on how weight loss is done wouldn’t be one that’d draw many devotees. I’m hoping, on future shows, to see meals that would give encouragement to the everyday Joe or Joni, that calorie-reduction does not have to equal deprivation.
Surely one of the program’s goals is to see participants lose as much as possible in the 6-month time frame. However, for those who – armed with knives and forks – are doing daily battle in kitchens and cafeterias across the country, there is hope: by eating wisely and healthfully, and exercising most days, a person could realistically expect to shed around two pounds a week (over 50 pounds in six months, which is a great accomplishment), and provide a LIFESTYLE one could live with. Your thoughts?
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