Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Just Tell Me What to Eat

The really great thing about diets is that you can find one that will fit whatever types of food you want.  Like to eat bacon?  There's a diet that will let you gorge on bacon, sausage, steak, and all manner of fatty animal flesh.  Want to be a vegan?  You can find diets that extol the  virtues of eating nothing but organic raw fruits and vegetables grown by monks in Tibet.  Hell....there are even diets that have you eating pop tarts and dumping butter in your coffee.

In the diet world it's a matter of build it and they will come....or rather....they will buy.  These diets are designed to make money by appealing to an audience that desperately want a cure-all food program that they can stick to and works.  Thing is; though all the diets work since it doesn't matter what you eat as long as you are taking in fewer calories than your are expending, it's damn hard to stick with a diet for the long term.  There are a couple of reasons for that.

One is...you get tired of eating certain foods.  You may love bacon but, after eating bacon day after day and little else, the sight of it will start to make you ill and a piece of toast begins to look really tasty.  You may be all gung-ho about eating nothing but raw fruits and vegetables but, after a couple of weeks, you will crave a burger from McSlop like an addict for crack   If you are on a diet high in protein...you will start craving carbs.  If you are on a diet high in carbs...you will start having strong desires for protein.  It's the body's way of wanting a balance of both types of foods.  I don't buy the bullshit that we should be vegetarian or paleo.  Humans have evolved as omnivores.  Our bodies are designed to utilize a wide variety of plants and animals.  To restrict your food choices, especially in this country of plenty, is stupid.

Another reason is that, unless you are fabulously wealthy and can afford a personal chef to follow you around all day, diets are not very practical.  I mean...you got stuff to do.  You have a job, kids, appointments, friends.....planning and executing a rigid diet takes a lot of planning and preparation.  Who has time for that week and week, month after month?

So what are you suppose to eat?

Whatever you want.

Really....simple as that. 

The way to lose weight is to simply eat fewer calories and exercise more.  You need to exercise to that you are losing the right type of weight (fat instead of muscle) and you need to eat a balanced diet to feed and build that body you are exercising.  It's not rocket science, though many try to make it seem as such in order to have you pay them for advice and direction.

You need meat.  You need the protein from animal products.  Don't go overboard but don't deny yourself.

You need carbs.  Complex carbs are much better.  Sugar is crap, stay away from sweet shit.

You need fats.  Not much...but it is an essential nutrient.  There are good fats such as olive, fish, avocado.

You need veggies.  Green things are the best.  Eat lots of them.   Do not drink your veggies and fruits.  Juicing is a load of horseshit that will get you fatter than just about anything else you try.

And most important......MONITOR PORTION SIZES.  I honestly fee that the primary cause of obesity in this country is that most people have no concept of proper food portions.  Your hand is a good way to measure.  Your palm is about the serving size of a protein as well as a carbohydrate.  Eat all the veggies you want.  Eat till satisfied not until full...that's a skill that takes a bit of time to develop.

And have yourself a treat every now and then.  Just don't go hog wild and don't eat it all the time.  

And don't overthink the process.

Exercise more.

Eat less.

Do both wisely.  

...and quit giving diet hucksters your money....
   

Friday, April 15, 2016

Addiction?

Okay...I know it's been a long time and I apologize about that.  I'll try to do better.

I had planned to so something along the lines of the technical aspects of weight training.  Like; what exercises to do, which ones are helpful and which are not, how much to actually lift, and a bunch of other stuff that may be helpful to somebody just starting out at a gym.

But I'm running across friends who, though very passionate about their goals of losing weight and getting fit, are (I think) going about it in the wrong way.  They may in fact be sabotaging their efforts, causing them to become discouraged and give up.  I've seen it happen all the time.

One thing that really irks me is the tendency to look at obesity as a disease and overeating as an addiction.
  
Neither of those are either of them. 

First look at this idea that obesity is a disease.  Obesity CAUSES disease.  Carrying around a lot of adipose tissue (fat), especially around the organs (the belly) has a direct correlation to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, some forms of cancer, and a host of physical ailments that can drastically reduce the quality and span of a life.  Obesity has pulled way ahead of smoking as the number one cause of preventable death in this country. 

It's not a disease though.  A disease has a carrier agent...like a bacterium or virus.  You don't catch fat, you develop it through years and years of bad eating habits and low activity levels.  Calling obesity a disease gives the false impression that it can be treated like a disease and can be medicated.  This gives rise to all the quack diet pills and bullshit gimmicks that have flooded the market in the last few decades.  Millions of people desperate for somebody or something to "fix" their overweight problem gravitate to hucksters who are more than willing to cure their imagined illness for a hefty price.

Also....thinking of being fat as an illness can give rise to the notion that overeating, or eating junk foods, is an addiction.

I hear this all the time.  

"I have to lose weight but it's so hard for me because I'm a food addict" or "I can't stick to a diet because I'm addicted to soda pop", sugar, burgers, or whatever.  "I have to treat food like a dangerous drug".

Bull - Shit

Saying you are addicted to food is akin to saying you are addicted to oxygen.  To stay alive we breath.  We also eat.  Eating is not the problem.  Even what we eat is not the problem (not the biggest one anyway).  HOW MUCH we eat is the crux of the matter.  Lots of overweight folks eat way more than their body needs...and most of that is in the form of simple carbs and fats.  Your body loves that stuff and socks it away into storage for lean times....which in our culture comes in the form of the occasional diet that people jump on in a desperate attempt to lose pounds.  Of course, since your body thinks you are starving when you go on the ridiculously restrictive diet of raw veggies and nuts, your metabolism slows to a crawl and your weight loss slows to a crawl and eventually stops.  You get discouraged of being hungry all the time and not seeing results, so you shitcan the diet and gain back two or three times what little you might have lost.

Over and over......yo-yo,  yo-yo

It's behavioral, guys.  We don't overeat because we are hungry.  We overeat because we have learned to use it as a way of coping.  Coping with stress, with boredom, with anger, with happiness, with grief, with just about everything that happens around us in day to day living.  To stop overeating is not a matter of just not eating....it means to think, really think, of the reasons you eat and looking for alternatives to meet the needs that food is providing.  

Simple.  Not easy...but doable and long lasting.  Overeating is a bad habit that has been reinforced by years of practice because it works to nurture whatever need we have at the moment.  The brain doesn't know the difference between a bad habit and a good one, so the trick is to develop good habits (like exercise and eating healthy foods) to take care of those same needs that fat and sugar were used for.  

I'll discuss next time what and how to eat.  If you are into juicing...you won't like what I have to say.