by Bill Handren

"I asked my wife why was she crying?"  She said, "I burned dinner."
I said, "no problem, just open another."............George Knudsen, Pipeliner

We have become a fatter nation over the last fifty years. A big reason is convenience.  It is easier to pour from a box of cereal than cook a few eggs.  You just open a bag of snacks, you do not prepare them.  The microwave is the most used appliance in our kitchen.  It heats something fast and conveniently.  It is a wonder I don't glow in the dark from the microwave emissions which are constantly bombarding my kitchen. Most microwave-ready and pre-packaged foods are filled with sugar and starches. Bodybuilders have known for a hundred years that sweets and starches build bodyfat.

Clarence Bass, author of the "Ripped" series of books, writes he can tell whether someone is overweight by looking at their grocery shopping cart.  If it is full of soda, white bread, chips, dry breakfast cereal and snacks, the person pushing the cart will be fat.  He is right.  I notice the same thing.   Unfortunately, it is sometimes my cart. I suspect the checkout girl no longer believes me when I tell her I am hosting a child's birthday party.
There is an old saying, "the more you sweat in the gym, the less you bleed in the ring." It is about preparation.  The same thing for eating. The key to my not getting fatter is preparation.  Make leaner eating convenient. Without adequate preparation, I will fail. Period. No serious athlete would "wing it" when it comes to training.  Eating to keep bodyfat down requires the same attention.
Over the last ten years on my job, I passed up at least a thousand donuts.  Willpower?  Not hardly.  It was pre-planning.  It was easier to skip donuts when I had just finished a can of tuna or a baggie filled with nuts.  Hunger trumps willpower every time.  By bringing my snacks and meals, I kept those donuts from finding a permanent home in my pants.  It was also cheaper.  I would cringe when I saw co-workers feeding money into sandwich and pop machines like Las Vegas gamblers at the slots. The simple trick of bringing my work meals kept me from buying clothes in the husky section.  Every little reduction subtracts from the total.  The act of controlling what I ate at work alone would have made a difference, but I did the same at home except for the carb up days.
Most of the credit for keeping my bodyfat down goes to my wife.  She would cook a few huge pots of food then portion the servings into containers and freeze them. By having these meals readily available, I had little excuse for filling up on junk.  Same for breakfast omelets. Other tricks have worked well.
Never skip breakfast and make sure it is substantial.  A half grapefruit, cup of Special K and a half glass of skim milk won't cut it unless I wish to become an anorexic runway model.  I will be hungry before I get out the door.
Eat six times a day.  Seriously.  The body becomes wasteful of calories when it believes there is a never ending supply of food. It also minimizes muscle loss if the meals contain protein.
Aim at keeping muscle and gradually trimming some fat.  If I lose five pounds of fat a year, those years add up.  Steady wins the race.  I measure my waist and my arms.  If my waist goes down and my arms don't, I'm doing OK. Strength levels are also a good indicator.
Ignore the scale.  A gallon of water weighs a little over eight pounds.  Hydration levels affect weight.  Also, for every gram of glucose stored in the muscles and liver, three grams of water are stored with it.  Rapid weight loss is usually simple water loss through glycogen depletion.  
No aerobics for fat loss.  Not only is it a horribly inefficient way to burn calories, it has the tendency to strip muscle and cause repetitive stress injuries. Running a mile burns about 150 calories.  I spill more than that when I eat.
A gallon of water a day, in addition to whatever else I drink.  This has helped my overall well-being more than any other.  Hyponatremia, also known as water intoxication, only occurs when one performs intense exercise for long periods while consuming large amounts of water.  Unless you are an infant, running a marathon, or guzzle an entire gallon at once, it is nearly impossible to have an adverse effect.       
A daily multi - vitamin.  I have never met a person who eats a perfectly balanced diet.
Common sense substitution.  A bucket of broccoli won't add bodyfat.  A pint of ice cream will.
There are many other tips, but the best one is never go grocery shopping hungry.  There I am, in a world of tasty goodies each calling my name to be taken home.  Tempting............all I have to do is toss them in the cart........soooo convenient.