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Doris plans a day

Let's consider a specific example of meal planning. Dietin' Doris, as we saw above, wants to eat about 1270 calories a day to lose a pound a week. She's used to a fairly substantial breakfast, a light lunch, and eats the largest meal of the day at dinnertime. She frequently enjoys a light snack in the middle of the evening. Doris decides to stay with this schedule, and apportions her 1270 calories like this.

Meal Calories
Breakfast 375
Lunch 250
Dinner 600
Snack 45
Total 1270

The calories are divided among the meals as follows:

Having decided how many calories each meal should contain, Doris can work out specific menus for each meal, turning to the table of calories in various foods on page [Ref], or with the assistance of the Excel meal planning worksheet described below.

Starting with breakfast, Doris lists the kind of food she usually eats and comes up with:

Food Calories
2 Scrambled eggs 190
Orange juice (8 oz.) 112
Bacon (2 slices) 72
Total 374

Right on the button! It looks like the slice of toast with butter and jelly will have to be foregone, but this is still a pretty hearty start to the day, if not one that's good for your heart.

Turning next to lunch, Doris tots up the components of her usual brown bag sandwich:

Food Calories
Whole wheat bread (2 slices) 134
Turkey bologna (2 slices) 114
Brown mustard (2 tbsp.) 10
Iceberg lettuce 7
Total 265

Doris usually has a cup of tea with artificial sweetener or a diet cola with lunch and since neither beverage contains any calories to speak of, they needn't be included in the list. Lunch is slightly over the target of 250, but she'll compensate by adjusting another meal.

For dinner, Doris opts for a real treat:

Food Calories
Porterhouse steak, broiled (4 oz.) 247
Baked potato with... 150
    Sour cream (1 tbsp.) 26
Salad, consisting of:
    Iceberg lettuce (2 cups) 14
    Chopped onion (1 cup) 65
    Diced tomato (1 tomato) 26
    Blue cheese dressing (1 tbsp.) 77
Total 605

Close enough! Adding up the three meals so far, Doris finds she's used up 1244 of her 1270 calories. That leaves 26 calories for the snack instead of the intended 45 but there are still lots of options available that won't push Doris over 1270.

Snack option Calories
1 tomato, sliced, with salt 26
Air-popped popcorn, 1 cup 25
Dill pickles, 6 (six!) 24
Olives, 5 25

I'm not recommending you choose the kinds of food Doris did, y'understand! If there's any truth in all the claims about cholesterol, Doris is eating as if she'd won a triple bypass on Wheel Of Fortune and wanted to use it before the offer expired. I deliberately loaded Doris' diet plan with the kinds of food you seldom think of in conjunction with dieting to drive home the point that losing weight needn't involve eating tiny quantities of foods with odd names that taste like sawdust. Assuming her calorie burn rate is 1770, as given by the table, Doris can eat like this, day after day, month after month, and lose weight at the rate of fifty pounds per year.

If Doris substitutes what the current consensus deems ``healthier foods'' for those she picked above (unsweetened cereal with skim milk at breakfast instead of bacon and eggs, poached fish instead of steak for dinner), she'll find she can almost always increase portion sizes or add additional foods to her meals, since most contain fewer calories per serving. Why? Foods that pack cholesterol do so because they're rich in fat and, as we've learned, nothing delivers lots of calories in a small package like fat: 3500 calories a pound. So when you choose foods that are lighter in fat, you're reducing cholesterol and calories at the same time.

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By John Walker