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Eatery weighs in on diet craze - Kathy Jefcoats

Have you eaten at Ruby Tuesday lately? The restaurant, which is a favorite of my husband, started making changes to its menu at the beginning of the year to reflect the low-carb craze. Now, added to the menu are calories and fat grams. Wow, what an eye-opener.

My husband and I went over for lunch a week or so ago. He really likes ribs and thinks Ruby's are among the best he's tried so I go along and find something I like as well. They offer too many southwestern dishes for my taste but I thought I could get salmon and be happy. The first thing I noticed on the menu was the calorie listing. I quickly scanned over to the last item I had eaten there and just about fell out of my booth when I saw how many calories are in it.

I ended up having the salmon, steamed broccoli and mashed cauliflower.

I should explain that I have lost around 50 pounds over a very long period, taking it slow because I don't want to regain. I am still losing, having changed my eating habits and trying to get more exercise. When I lived in Aiken, I had a good routine. Getting moved back to Georgia has thrown off that routine and cut back a lot of the walking I was doing before. I get frustrated because I haven't lost more than I have but am grateful for the progress I have made and know doing it slowly is better in the long run.

I had been thinking that if restaurants posted calorie content, more people would think twice about their choices and here Ruby Tuesday has done it. Good.

Since I changed my eating habits, I look at people and what they eat differently. I remember watching a woman in a steakhouse – I was having salmon once again – and was shocked at how much food she put in her mouth. She must have weighed close to 300 pounds and ingested thousands of calories during that meal. I have also written several articles about weight loss and nutrition in an effort to better educate people about their health. Some people will not listen no matter what, I know that.

Others, I think, don't think they can succeed for whatever reason. As someone who has battled a weight problem for all the years since I became a mother, I can tell you that you must want to lose the weight. You must want to succeed. Until you make up your mind, you won't lose the weight and be able to keep it off.

Some people can't figure out how they can't lose weight. It's a fact that 3,500 calories make up a pound. If you eat 3,500 more calories than you burn off, you will gain a pound. Something that helped me was taking a serious, honest look at what I was eating. It was nothing for me to stop at McDonald's or Wendy's, get a value meal to eat on the way home from work and then eat supper later. I have eaten entire bags of potato chips at a time, by myself, and untold tons of chocolate, not to mention the platter sized plates of pasta I've put in my mouth. Pasta has been my big downfall over the years.

I forced myself to look at nutrition labels, to calculate what I have eaten, to examine fat grams. I have looked the monster in the face and been appalled. Just doing that caused me to put down a lot of things I normally would just plopped in my mouth without a second thought. I put down sodas, I don't stop in convenience stores, I pass by Wendy's and McDonald's, I drink tons of water. I've always loved vegetables so I took advantage of that and ate more greenery. I weaned myself off whole milk onto fat free.

I made the choice to be healthier. I have six grandchildren I want to see become grandparents themselves. Think about your own life. Even if you don't have grandchildren or children, think about what you want for yourself. You can do it. You can lose weight and be happier about your health and how you feel. I love the fact that I can actually sleep on my back.

It is not easy to lose weight properly and anyone who tells you it is is exaggerating. It is hard but probably more worth the effort than anything else you could do. Make up your mind, talk to your doctor and start making the right choices. You will be amazed at how much better you feel.

Kathy Jefcoats covers crime and courts. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or by e-mail at kjefcoats@henryherald.com.