Friday, June 24, 2011

The little things….

Told ya, it’s the fault of the potato chip… (or the cashew kale chip in my argument). USA Today runs a story about a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine:

Doctors analyzed changes in diet and lifestyle habits of 120,877 people from three long-running medical studies. All were health professionals and not obese at the start. Their weight was measured every four years for up to two decades, and they detailed their diet on questionnaires. On average, participants gained nearly 17 pounds over the 20-year period. For each four-year period, food choices contributed nearly 4 pounds. Exercise, for those who did it, cut less than 2 pounds.

Potato chips were the biggest dietary offender. Each daily serving containing 1 ounce (about 15 chips and 160 calories) led to a 1.69-pound uptick over four years. That's compared to sweets and desserts, which added 0.41 pound.”

The morale of the story is: even if you eat healthy most of the time but add a tiny diet offender like that cocktail or extra ice cream or potato chips or the midnight snack from the fridge regularly….it adds up over time and might sabotage your weightloss/maintenance. It definitely gets me in trouble: I like to snack, crackers, pretzels, a glass of wine at the end of the day.

But also the opposite is true: replace the chips with an apple or carrots and hummus, take that walk around the neighborhood after dinner instead of watching TV, walk the steps instead of taking the elevator, biking to work instead of taking the car,….. little lifestyle changes also add up. It is not always the big gesture that counts, but the little things can make a big impact. Especially, if we tell ourselves, ah, it is just a little thing, it doesn’t count… and we ignore the hand in the cookie jar. I think this is why maintenance is sometimes hard, we loosen the rules on the little things again.


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