We hear all about diet plans and programs designed to help us lose weight. You can spend a ton on special foods, personal consultants, and “programs” designed to assist your efforts.
Today, I’m going to jump to my conclusion then retrace my steps. It all depends on your commitment. The best diet in the world is no value if you don’t do it. The best exercise program in the world does nothing if you sit on the couch.
I recently ran into an old friend. He looked great. When I told him so, he proudly admitted that he had lost 50 pounds. I asked him how. “Eat better and move every day.”
Notice that he didn’t talk about the latest fad diet. He didn’t talk about plans to run a marathon or even a 10K. He didn’t condemn this or that in a diet. He didn’t advocate for low carb or low fat or low taste or whatever.
No, he simply said eat simply and move daily. And that’s what he did. He’s now healthier, happier and will live longer. Losing that 50 pounds means that his knees don’t hurt anymore. And he admitted that losing that 50 pounds means that people look at him differently, treat him differently — in a good way.
So for the umpteenth time, let’s talk about what “eating better” really means. My best and simplest advice is to reduce the amount of white flour and white sugar from your diet.
Americans consume too much of both. One estimate has it that we consume 152 pounds of sugar per year. The biggest culprit? Probably sodas. The average soda contains over nine teaspoons of sugar.
One problem with refined sugar and refined flour is that your body expends little or no energy in converting those things to fuel. It’s there for energy or it is stored as fat. That’s why whole wheat bread is better for you than white bread.
I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners — I prefer to depend more on complex sugars for my sweet tooth. Want to lose weight? Cut out dessert. Or do like I do and go for a small handful of dark chocolate morsels.
There is a lot of hidden sugar in things. I’m a big condiment guy. Check the ingredients on most of those and you’re going to find lots of simple sugars including high fructose corn syrup (which is the same thing).
We all have way too much in the way of carbs in our diet, but I’m not sure it so much the carbs themselves as much as it is how we get them. Simple carbs like those found in bread are part of the carb problem. Complex carbs are still good.
I watched fat grams since I was a boy and then only in the last few years did I learn that all fats are not bad. Wish I had learned that one a long time ago although there is nothing good about bacon, my personal favorite food of all time.
It may seem strange coming from me, since I’m always preaching the exercise sermon, but it really doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it — and do it daily.
Just move! That’s all. Walking, jogging, biking, pedaling, paddling, anything. Just as long as you are moving. Not sure if you should? Consult your primary care physician. Not sure what to do? Consult with a personal trainer.
Happy where you are? Happy with what you have? Happy with your body? Great! More power to you. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t worthy, regardless of the shape you’re in. But if you want to make changes, do so with patience, intelligence, and diligence.
Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Blount Memorial Hospital’s Total Rehabilitation. Write to Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org.