Diet, Is it REALLY that important?

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photo credit: 123rf-Dieting solutions and overweight diet advice concept as an obese man walking on a road to a heap of greasy junk food shaped as a key hole as a metaphor for answers to unhealthy food risk and the challenges of eating disorders resulting in obesity

You can’t out train a bad diet!

In a word, yes, but writers like to use lots of words and there really is lots to say… Paleo-Atkins-Vegan, intermittent fasting, daily fasting, it is mind numbing to say the least what with proponents of each idea gathering credentialed experts to rally their respective cause. But what works?

Actually, all have their merits.

As Boomers we do have a sort of ‘home court’ advantage here, we’ve seen this stuff come and go for decades. Maybe you just didn’t pay much attention back then, it just wasn’t relevant at the time. Now the Dr. says you got a situation; pre-diabetic, hypertension or joint pain, and you’re searching the web for answers-and getting links to ads all over the place. Well grab a fresh cup and get comfortable, and allow me to ramble a bit.

If you really want to learn about body transformation, and diets, there is no better school than that of bodybuilders. Woe now, ain’t in to that! Now hear me out a bit, these were (I speak in past tense because the modern pro physique is anything but healthy) some amazing men and women. They would typically spend two to three years (men) eating/gaining/lifting then diet it back down to reveal the underlying musculature. Thereafter gaining in the off season and reducing back down before contest time. Not a healthy scenario by any stretch as the body is always seeking a state of homeostasis (balance) in every system so the regular extremes take a toll. But for our purposes we just want to find that ‘balance’ where we’re not taxing the system and joints with excessive weight, in which case we can learn a great deal from their methods.  

Hippocrates summed it up, “let food be thy medicine”.

Was true 2500 years ago, still true today. The old timers (my god, that’s us) knew that to grow and maintain a lean, muscular physique, adequate protein/water had to be a priority. Sound familiar? Added bonus, protein requires more energy in the body to break it down during digestion, so let’s just eat protein, right?(one of the popular diets actually). While restricting carbs/fats can give a quick lean out for say a week or so, it’s just not feasible long term, nor is it a particularly healthy approach. See here. Internet ‘wisdom’ proclaims .7-.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily, some say 1 or more grams per pound.  Arguments go back and forth among the followers of their respective experts.

Bottom line: you got to work it out for yourself, as your physiology is uniquely yours.

Start in the middle and see what happens. Many of the experts have proposed that we ‘older’ lifters can’t utilize a gram per pound as our fragile digestive systems won’t handle it. I beg to differ on that. I use (loosely) a 35-35-30 protein-carb-fat percentage. I’ll get more specific on details in future posts, for now its protein/fat priority and carbs fill out the rear with what’s left. I’ve not done the calculations in several months as I’ve just been putting along, but I want to do a photo of current condition for upcoming 61st year so I’ll get the journal back out and see where I’m at. (edited 7/16, I’m off a bit,see “How to Eat your way to Health” free eBook for signup,with more details)  Just me perhaps, but here lately as I read articles stating how people ‘my age’ shouldn’t eat this or perform this lift or that exercise, I find myself researching the author…..hmm, 26, graduate student, expert in aging. Seriously? (a real expert on aging: Dr Bortz 84, excellent article and video here. )

This is getting long so I’ll get to the point. To drop the pounds you got to move more and eat wholesome food. Every program from $49-$1200 will invariably come down to the same thing, just packaged different. The “secret” is…there ain’t one.

There is a saying that’s been going around a while now, “eat foods that only contain one thing”. Apples, broccoli, rice, tuna, chicken, (for the most part) lentils, vegetables, contain ONE thing. Canned stuff, (excepting tuna) not so much, loaded with sodium. But the point is to cut out the processed garbage, anything with an ingredient list you can’t pronounce. Goes without saying that includes soft drinks, and if you do take out every day for lunch? There’s an easy 10lb a month loss right there.

How do I do it?

For breakfast its Aloe Vera juice in a blender with Greek yogurt, psyllium husk, protein powder and a bit of cod liver oil, followed by a bowl of my ‘mix three brands together’ cereal with almond milk (I know, not much for almond content but it’s wet and tastes better than water). Lunch if I have one, is peanut butter on the best bread I can find (getting to be a problem) with apple for snack. Post workouts are raisins and a protein shake. For dinner (supper for yall & you’uns) it’s chicken breast or tuna, black beans and rice, boiled egg, romaine lettuce, carrots, broccoli topped with Italian and a bit of olive oil and raw pumpkin seeds (man thing).  Pretty boring huh? But going out to dinner while the rest order salads and I get filet mignon, jalapeño corn muffins  followed by Crème Brulee…priceless!

I don’t count calories anymore as I’ve pretty much settled in weight wise to the point that if it creeps up a bit I can cut back on salad dressing and coffee creamer while upping the cardio a bit and drop it back down (least I think so, we’ll see over next few weeks). But in the beginning, AND THIS IS VIP (very important poop) you must KNOW what you’re eating. 

Remember: the fundamentals haven’t changed, marketing has!

I never got into the Paleo-Atkins-Vegan mindsets but I do use modified versions of them all at times. It will become intuitive over time, for now just cut out the junk.

Oh yeah, forget the ‘military’ ‘grapefruit’ ‘popcorn’ diets as well, I know your friend lost XX lbs on it last year…how she looking now? (edited 9/2/2016: I have been reminded via email from an awesome subscriber of the efficacy with the various herbal ‘poop teas’…I will agree they do work! However I stand by my beliefs that it’s still not the best for long term. thx.)

Why? You say…I’m not that overweight, made it this far… Did you know that obesity will soon overtake smoking as the leading cause of preventable deaths in the US?1    Think on that a bit.

Takeaway:

  • Drastic changes seldom work long term
  • Learn to read labels: “foods with one thing”
  • Keep a journal of what you’re eating to gain a foundation
  • The fundamentals haven’t changed, marketing has.

 

Live well my friends,

Dennis

Join us and I’ll send you a free copy of my diet plan, “How to Eat your way to Health”

 

 

1 http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/07/27/cancer-insulin-resistance-heart-disease.aspx]