1. Weighty matters

    Rita Hayworth portrayed the iconic siren Gilda, she stayed svelte on the 1/4 portion diet

    The more I talk to readers, the more it seems that weighty matters are on all our minds. We are finding it harder to keep weight gain at bay.  It is truly maddening. For many us, additional pounds creep up on for a variety of reasons. Busy schedules make it hard to find time or eat well or exercise. This affects women of all ages. Options in food courts and airports are fattening and far from healthful. I am still appalled at what some restaurants can do to make a simple salad or sandwich top 800 or 900 calories. Long hours, stress, exhaustion and other factors can all add up to gains of 10, 20, and more pounds in a year.
    And we all know losing weight is harder than gaining it.
    That’s why sabotage, in the form of hidden calories, fat, and sodium is really not to be tolerated. I like to bring most of my snacks with me. I’ll take my raw almonds and miso any day over the stuff I am offered in most convenience stores and food courts. But even then, I have to resort to grabbing a quick fast food snack at times.
    That’s why I love the idea of menu labeling. New York City requires it for fast food chains, and the measure has been adopted by several states. Now it is about to become U.S. federal la and a recent study by Decision Analyst, Inc., indicates that most American consumers support it.
    The law was part of the health care legislation bill signed by President Barack Obama on March 23. It requires restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to disclose calorie counts on their food items. Additionally, restaurant chains must supply information on how many calories a healthy person should consume in a day.
    The situation on menu labeling in Canada is patchy, as it is mandated provincially. But consumer groups are calling for menu labeling, and Health Canada and provincial ministries are looking is looking into it. I think it is essential.
    There is healthful fast food out there. Some fast food chains offer sushi and salads, and other healthful, low-cal options. Other chains offer deceptive and deadly options. Many of us are still shocked to find out that picking the wrong burger, fries, and soda combo can give women their calorie allowance for most of the day in just one meal. I am not kidding. A meal at McDonalds of a Big Mac (at 560 calories), medium fries (310 calories), and a large Coke contains 1,220 calories. That is the daily allowance for a small middle-aged woman. 1,500 to 1,700 calories is the daily allowance of a moderately-active 30-year-old woman. You only need to the math.
    McDonald’s is far from the worst offender. A regular McDonald’s hamburger and small fries, with water, unsweetened tea, or a diet drink is exactly 500 calories. It is not an ideal daily meal as it lacks vegetables, but it will not break the calorie bank once in while.
    Let common sense rein in fast outlets. A single slice of thin-crust pizza is your best choice, if you want the treat. If you order a salad you need to order dressing on the side and skip the fried “goodies”. Avoid salads loaded with cheese. A serving of cheese is about 1½ tablespoons. Lean chicken, turkey, or plain seafood is best. The serving should be the same size as the palm of your hand or deck of cards. And we all know this, but they load the goodies on lettuce to make it seem healthful.
    Darlings, most us battle creeping weight gain. I know I do. It’s not about being thin; it is about being the weight you want to be, and being in control of what you eat. Remember, danger doesn’t just lurk in fast food restaurants either.
    Eating is joyful, but gaining weight makes most us sad. Remember your visual cues at fine restaurants. Simple things help. First course-sizes of pasta are actually dinner-sized portions. A portion is only 1 cup. Sad but true, so order it for dinner. Tip the staff well and they will be happy to see you next time. At home, use a smaller salad plate or a bowl.
    Screen legend Rita Hayworth — famous for the role of Gilda — had to diet later in life. Her trick was the quarter-portion diet. She allowed herself only a quarter-portion of anything on her plate. She ate everything, but only in small amounts — and she played golf and tennis. 
    Darlings, there is nothing new under the sun. I remember reading that Dolly Parton finally succeeded in keeping her weight down with the quarter-portion trick. Good for her! At five feet tall, this is one of my challenges, and from what hear, I am not alone. My advice darlings, never give up, don’t deprive yourself, exercise makes it easier, and food is not the enemy.