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Today we went to dinner to celebrate my  father-in-law’s birthday. We ate at a place I used to love as a kid. I won’t name names in this post, because I don’t want to be held liable for my rant. Let’s just say it’s a steakhouse famous for it’s incredible salad bar. And it is a big salad bar, at least in display, but there is very little on the bar that resembles ingredients to a salad. I would venture to say that the salad bar is made up of 5% salad, 5% fruit, 40% deep fried food 30% sauteed dishes, and 20% desert food. It’s all you can eat for about $10. Now if you went to a nice family restaurant, you typically pay about $10 for a nice entre with two sides and for most healthy people, that is all you can eat.

It’s become common knowledge that America has developed a severe obesity problem. We have such an abundance of available food that we have two choices to make when it comes to what we eat. We either eat healthy quality food, or we eat cheap food in great quantities. The problem with over eating is that once you have crossed that line to many times, your body adapts to receive that amount of food. Your stomach grows in size to process greater quantities, while your intestine work harder at evacuation of food as upposed to processing and digesting food. In short, you get less out of what you are eating if you are eating too much of it.  But once your body get’s setup for over eating, it is harder and harder to know when you have eaten the right size portion food.

I know how this works pretty well. As a young teenager I worked hard and worked up a good apatite. Eating heavy portions and a milkshake with every meal wasn’t a bad thing until I was in college and started working more desk jobs with low energy output, but I was used to eating large portions, and wasn’t really aware that my lifestyle had changed a lot. I was still working the same long hours, but instead of mowing lawns and moving furniture, I was working on computers or collating reports.  I was probably 22 when I changed from being a skinny tall  young man, into the jolly fat man I am today.  Part of that was getting married and as a young couple learning how to cook together we were not aware that just because someone gave you a deep fry for your wedding, you don’t have to use it once a day. I have lost a lot of what I called my marriage fat, and am not at a point where losing more weight will take more than just controlling portion sizes. Although for the past 6+ years, we have eaten very healthy. Most meals are from fresh ingredients and are very low in fat and high in fiber. I have great blood pressure and my cholesterol isn’t to bad either.  Having kids and wanting the best for them is what has helped me. I won’t feed them the junk that I allowed myself to eat for years. Sometimes they catch me eating something that I won’t let them have and they call me on it. I just tell them, that when they are old enough to buy their own food, they can choose to make bad health choices, but for now, under my roof, I won’t let them make those kind of mistakes. They seem to understand that pretty well, and now instead of asking for my unhealthy food, they give me the shame face and tell me I shouldn’t be eating that.

Three quick clues to let you know if you are eating at an unhealthy restaurant.

  1. Squint your eyes and look at your plate. What color is it? If the majority of your food is golden brown, then you are eating to much fried food. Meals should have color variety.
  2. Would your meal fit into your shoe. It’s a gross thought, but that’s about the ideal volume of one meal would be the volume of the size of your foot. If you are getting potions that are way to big, then you are wasting food or you are going to hurt yourself over eating.
  3. Look at the people around you. The best sign that you are at an unhealthy eating establishment, is by looking at the clientèle. If you look around and see nothing but obese people, then there is a good chance that if you keep eating there, you’ll become one too.