Nonessential Calories

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I’ve always struggled with my weight. As a college student my busy schedule and lack of a car kept me from gaining weight.

I tried to gain; but I stayed so skinny I heard lame jokes like you should sue your legs for nonsupport.

After I had my first child I still wasn’t heavy. But I didn’t go back to the bird legs.

Then I had twins. After my daughters were born the doctor encouraged me to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. But I never did. Instead with three young children to care for, my life style and metabolism completely changed. As a result pounds slowly increased. I was uncomfortable and self-conscious.

A divorce upset my life and stole my appetite. I lost 35 pounds in a short time. Unfortunately, as I adjusted to my new life I gained it back.

I was in my middle age years and I was slowly gaining no matter what I tried. I  longed for my college days when no matter what I tried I couldn’t gain weight. Now I couldn’t lose weight no matter how hard I tried.

Then I was in a car wreck. A car lost control and caused mine to flip over. Folks helped get me out and following first aid protocol laid me on the ground. I was heavy and I looked like a beached whale in a picture someone took.

I had a fractured vertebrae. I took narcotic drugs for three months. The drugs took away my appetite and I lost weight. But when I quit taking drugs it all came back.

I was in my sixties by then and losing weight wasn’t getting easier. In fact it seemed like I was gaining 5 pounds every year. I knew if I continued on that track I would be in real trouble health wise. Something had to be done. Something had to change.

Diets that worked for others didn’t work for me

Diet shakes that were meant to replace a meal did not satisfy like a meal. They were a great accompaniment for hamburger and fries.

I tried the cabbage soup diet. The result of that diet was that I can’t stand cooked celery.

I tried substituting cauliflower for potatoes. I love to eat cauliflower but I want butter or cheese sauce on top with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy-along with a steak!

And that has been my problem. I will eat healthy food that probably would set me up to lose weight. But it doesn’t satisfy and sooner or later (usually sooner) I add calories that defeat my purpose.

I realized that I didn’t need another diet that didn’t work for me. I needed to make life style changes. I had to keep track of my weight, calories and level of exercise. And my new regimen had to be doable.

I liked both hard boiled eggs and grapefruit. But I could only stick to that restrictive diet so long. I had to have meat and potatoes along with broccoli and green beans. I realized I was happy to give up vanilla ice cream – if I could have dark chocolate.

That was my aha moment. Chocolate was vital to the success of my life style change. Chocolate, for me, is essential for keeping my satisfaction meter in the safe zone.

For me, vanilla ice cream is nonessential. In fact, if you serve me vanilla ice cream I will consume the calories and then at some point, I will eat chocolate – too much chocolate.

Vanilla ice cream is basically nonessential calories that sabotage my plan to consume less.

Any food, especially high calorie food, that does not give me satiety will lead to additional eating until I do feel satisfied. In my experience, it is harder to be satisfied once I have eaten nonessential calories. I suspect this more psychological than physiological. I don’t know of any studies of nonessential calories.

But I don’t need a study. This works for me.

And you don’t need a study.

Either you are saying, what a bunch of nonessential hogwash. In that case this probably isn’t work for you.

Or you are saying, Exactly. That is what I go through with every diet I try. This might work for you. Give it a shot.

Once you identify your nonessential calories, you are empowered to say no to foods that will weigh you down – not lift you up.


      1. Yes, I had to think about this…. Long standing list includes soda pop (especially Root Beer) and donuts. Recently, I have begun to avoid other things that I may need to add to the list. I do love chocolate, but I fear that it is most appealing to me as milk chocolate. Currently, I am limiting my chocolate fix to organic cacao in my morning smoothie. The yummy chocolate flavor is lost in all of the other ingredients.

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