Chewing The Fat - (Stacia Naquin)

By: Stacia Naquin
By: Stacia Naquin

Keeping track of what you eat may hold a few surprises, if you're trying to get healthier. For me, the biggest surprise has been getting the fat grams under control. But I found a few tips that are helping already.

When I set out to get healthier and began tracking what I ate… I had a few suspicions:
A. there weren’t enough veggies in my life
B. it would show a major junk food addiction
C. I eat out too much
D. my carbs would be out of control

So, I’ve been tracking my meals with my new Bodybugg and logging them faithfully. (That helps me know how many calories I’ve consumed and which of them are carbs, protein and fat.) I’ve had some surprising results! The Bodybugg has proven all of my suspicions correct, with the exception of one. The big surprise is that it’s not my carbs that are out of control – it’s the fat grams! I had no idea there was so much FAT in everything I ate. I mean – this stuff is sneaky! And… it’s also not so sneaky. Some meals you know will have extra fat in them. But I just don’t think I realized how MUCH fat.

For example, on Saturday I had bacon and eggs for breakfast (it’s a weekend treat). Then I went to a burger chain for lunch, where I had a crispy chicken sandwich, some fries and some custard for dessert. In just those two meals, I racked up 114 grams of fat!!!!!! Not only that, but that meant my fat grams had made up 41% of my caloric intake that day. 41%!!!! That’s more than DOUBLE the amount of fat the average person should have each day.

Jerod Langness, a Certified Personal Trainer with 24-Hour Fitness says, “The average person should consume 20% fat for their overall food intake.”

So, we need fat in our diet. We (I) just need to keep it within an acceptable level. This is important no matter what your fitness level or goal. One of my goals is to keep my heart as healthy as possible. But I can’t do that when I’m eating twice as much fat as I should be.

“The fat in our diet is where we have the potential for heart issues,” says Cheri Settecerri, a Registered Dietician with Penrose St. Francis Hospital in Colorado Springs. “If there is too much fat in what you eat, it can lead to weight gain. And saturated fats can lead to high cholesterol levels and plaque build-up in your arteries.”

I definitely don’t want that! So, I have to start making better choices now. As I’m learning, there are substitutions you can make to lower the fat content of your favorite foods. For instance, I have peanut butter toast for breakfast everyday. But now that I’m trying to lower my daily fat intake, I’ve switched to Reduced Fat peanut butter. It’s an easy switch and it really doesn’t taste that different.

But what about when you go out to eat?

Certified Personal Trainer Matthew Creech suggests a little substitution. “Substitute a salad instead of fries and use a vinaigrette dressing rather than ranch,” he says. “Also avoid foods that contain sour cream, avocado and blue cheese.”

You can also benefit from a little pre-dining out preparation. So, when the waiter takes your order, you know you’re making a healthy choice. “It is vital to investigate the menu before going to the restaurant if you want to have success in your program,” says Langness. “Eating out is an uphill battle, but you can win.”

Uphill battle is right. I miss the old days of ordering the chicken quesadillas with abandon and not giving a second thought to fat content. But I want to get healthier. I DEFINITELY want to keep my heart healthy. So, I guess when it comes to peanut butter, dressing and all of my eating habits, I’m becoming Reduced Fat.

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