Don’t Go Nuts!

A major theme on this site over the next few months, or even years, will be on identifying and discussing factors that affect weight maintenance after dieting loss.

News headline about losing and gaining weight

There are many weight loss programs that help people lose weight, but sadly most people regain their losses in as little as a year. That is not acceptable.

A Subtle Food Risk

One of the more subtle temptations that can often lead to gaining weight for even the most health conscious people is the attraction of healthy, nutritious foods that still have lots of calories. It is one of those that became the first real threat to my weight maintenance program not long after I got my weight down to its appropriate level.

Nuts of various kinds are quite nutritious and used properly can be a valid part of a person’s diet as it has been for me. But they can also be a dangerous food to have around if not used properly.

In the last week or so I found myself abusing them a bit. Fortunately I recognized my problem before it got too far out of hand and I hope to keep it at bay.

My Naughty Nut Habit

For some tme I have kept a variety of nuts on hand and have used them in several good ways. But then, on a few occasions I decided to grab a single handful of almonds or pecans when I didn’t have much time and wanted a quick snack.

As you have no doubt guessed by now, what happened next was that one day I ate two handfuls. Then I started choosing nuts more than once a day for one of my snacks. It quickly became apparent that I was slipping into a bad habit.

Plate of almonds

In this case I quickly recognized the dangerous trend because I knew that eating nuts was one of the key factors in my initial weight problem. In those days cashews were my favorite nut but almonds were also prevalent and I could sit down with a can or sack and dispense with them in short order.

As I started eating more nuts I saw my weight quickly shoot up a bit. Now I know that this initial weight gain was primarily do to the salt and so was very temporary, but seeing that brief encounter with a somewhat elevated reading on my scale snapped me to attention and I decided to totally ban nuts as a snack choice. For me, it is just too risky an option.

Good Nuts

As initially observed, nuts can have a valid place in the diet and they are extremely valuable when used properly. They have good nutritional value as well as adding good taste to many dishes.

One of my favorite salad ideas is a basic green salad with a vinaigrette dressing, chunks of fresh apple and a sprinkling of English walnuts. A great favorite food of mine is sautéed fish on a bed of rice topped with almond slices.

The key to using nuts is simply to use them for the right purpose. Some might want to consider them for an occasional snack but I think it best, for me at least, to decline this use altogether. Instead I only want to use them as a garnish or flavoring ingredient where they are not a primary component of a dish.

It Is More than Nuts

There is no question that there will be other challenges to my weight maintenance program. Unfortunately not all of them will likely be recognized so readily. I am optimistic, not pessimistic about my potential to succeed, but I am realistically looking at the common experience of others.

The important thing is not to get complacent and allow a regression to overweight habits for any reason. I have to know that if I am to succeed I must do so where others fail. That does not make it impossible, just challenging.