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     In the convenience store check-out line.  At the grocery store.  During a business lunch.  It can come up in any conversation.  People ask me what to eat.  Oh, they are not asking to take advantage of my culinary expertise.  I have none.  I'm a very experienced eater, not a master chef.  People want to know what are the Best Foods to eat to lose Excess Body Fat.  
     That's tough to answer.  Because "The Absolute Best Foods Ever!!!" are often not your favorites, or not often found when you eat out.  And since so many of us eat out a lot more than we used to, it is very helpful to look at what is in the food you order.  When I eat at a restaurant, I don't pay too much attention to what everyone is ordering.  I'm busy checking the menu for anything that's
-STUFFED -Even seemingly nutritious items stuffed with vegetables can also be stuffed with high-cal cream sauce or cheese.
-ALFREDO -A popular restaurant chain offered delicious Marinara Sauce with 90 cals, 5g fat, and 480 mg sodium.  Their Alfredo Sauce had 440 cals(!), 43g fat (!), 26g sat fat (!), and 600 mg sodium (!). Forget it Al !  Please note, that's just for the sauce.
These items found in restaurant menu descriptions can alert you to high calorie, high saturated fat, or high sodium items.
We also need some food choice basics.  Here are:
 Three guidelines vital to an effective Eating Plan.

#1It must provide Nutrients  

        Lean Proteins, Complex Carbs, Vegetables, and Fruits are foods your body needs every day to look and feel it's best.  I've seen many people loose Excess Body Fat by simply adding nutritious stuff to what they eat, instead of worrying about what not to eat.  The healthy stuff filled them up.  You'll be surprised how your cravings for High SatFat and sugary stuff starts to diminish when you eat delicious, satisfying lean foods.

#2It must be low in Refined Carbohydrates, Hidden Sugars and Excess Saturated Fat 

     Food loaded with that stuff is killing you.  They increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.  Refined Carbs, that giant bagel from the convenience store, pasta, chips, cookies, white bread and white rice.  Hidden Sugars, soda pop, salad dressing, sauces, dried fruit, granola bars.
Sat Fats, fried anything, donuts, pizza, bacon, sausage, fatty meats.
     You hear a lot of back and forth in the news that fats are now OK.  Your body needs certain fats.   It's true that fats from Almonds, Olive Oil, Flax Sees, Salmon, Eggs can be part of healthy eating.  But trying to get SatFat through your arteries is like trying to flush your kids modeling clay down your toilet.  Both can stuff your pipes.  Those wonderful folks at the American Heart Association recommend that is a 2000 calorie per day eating plan," more than 120 of them should come from saturated fat.  That's about 13 grams of saturated fat per day."   Keep in mind, don't substitute foods with lots of refined carbohydrates for foods high in SatFats. Both increase risk factors for various diseases.
     You can't eat SatFat loaded foods every day for years, and then simply stop when your cholesterol gets high.  That's like speeding down the road like a maniac and slowing down only after your car slides into a dtich. At that point, damage is done. 
     Lastly, it's all about moderation.  I love hot dogs at the ball game, bacon and sausage for an occasional breakfast, big steaks, combos (where I come from, that's a meatball and sausage sandwich), did I mention bacon?  But I eat these foods very, very sparingly.   You can live with a little, but a lot can kill you.

#3.  It must contain foods you like

       Delicious foods.  Scrumptious treats.  At my age, I don't want sacrifice, I want results.

       What you like to eat is an extremely important component of any eating plan.  At least any eating plan you can stick with long enough for it to help you lose Excess Body Fat and keep it off.  No matter how many times you try those single food "All-the-Cabbage-You-Can-Eat" Diets, (unless you absolutely love cabbage, or it's St. Patrick's Day when cabbage and corned beef sounds like a good idea), you just can't stick to them.  
     It's not much different if you try to eliminate all your favorites.  If you grew up with your Grams' pierogies or Mom's rigatoni,  you can't be expected to cut all carbs from your diet.  In fact, both pierogies and rigatoni can be used to help fuel any physical fun you engage in.  Remember, it's quality over quantity.

I've learned over the past forty-some years, training all kinds of people with all kinds of likes and dislikes, that people just want some help, direction.  Eating guidelines help take some of the guesswork out of "What should I eat?"  Guidelines are not just a yes or no.  More often, people tell me they are surprised how many of their favorite foods can fit into a sensible eating plan.  Guidelines help us in many aspects of our lives.  You use guidelines while driving your car.  They help you get to your destination safely. You use guidelines when getting dressed.  Underwear goes underneath.  Unless you're a pop singer and desperate to get noticed.

You can eat anywhere and still lose Excess Body Fat. 

    For many of us eating out is a big part of our lives.  It's tough to follow a restrictive diet if you are desk bound and munch from boredom, a frenzied road warrior living on fast food, or retired and eating out because it gets you out of the house.  Tough, but not impossible.  I've worked with many people who found they can eat virtually anywhere and still lose Excess Body Fat.
     It's simple.  The trick to eating out and loosing EBF is to identify what is going into your mouth.  No calorie counting.  No pointing an accusing finger at good carbs vs. bad carbs.  And no, you don't have to exist on salads.  Chances are, you have already tried that and it has not worked.  You just don't feel full, so you snack later.
     Knowledge is key.  I have advocated for restaurants to list their menu nutritional content for decades.  Back in the October 1996 edition of BodyTimes Health & Fitness Newsletter, our article "Fast Food, Fast Facts" asked for "Nutrition Facts" labels on fast food packaging. I believe it was McDonald's® who took the responsibilty to be one of the first to make their food info available.  Now you can use the power of the internet to help you lose Excess Body Fat.  Log into the restaurant's website.  Look around for the Nutrition tab, often it is on the bottom of the page in small print.  Look up what you like to eat.  Not what I like to eat, or what you think you should be eating.  Look up what you like to eat.  What you read may be a shocker!  Exactly what is in that fast food sandwich?  What is hidden between those two seemingly innocent bun halves?  Holy cow!  That "secret sauce" has as many calories as another whole burger??  And if you check the salad dressing.  Uh oh!
     Eating out is part of our lives.  Make it easy on yourself. You have to know what you are putting into your mouth.  Look up your favorite meals.  Look around the list of foods and just compare calories and saturated fat to start. 
     Make it a habit to hit restaurant websites for their nutritional information before you get there.  If you are already sitting at the drive thru or at a table with a menu in your hand propped up by the bread basket, it's too late!  Temptation takes over and few of us, myself included, can make rational food choices at that point.  Give me numbers 1 thru 5!

     After a few weeks, you'll know what to choose to help you lose Excess Body Fat, pain free.  Remember, with a little planning beforehand, you can still eat at your favorite places.  

    Knowledge is Power!  For you and me, it's the power to lose Excess Body Fat without sacrificing all the foods we like.