YOU ARE YOUR OWN FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: Movement, Motivation and Mindset for Active Seniors

Energy Bite 67 – Fad Diets and Other Things

Well, here it is, the first Blog Posting in 2015. What are your Resolutions? Exercise? Diet?

My wife mentioned yesterday that the “buzz” among the teachers at the school where she substitute teaches, is something called the “Whole30” Diet. More than a few of the teachers have started it and are already complaining about some of the things they can’t eat that are so natural to them. Looking at it online, it seems to be a take-off on the “Paleo diet” without legumes. My wife commented that if they would just eat right, they wouldn’t need a diet.

At the other extreme, I have been trying to gain weight back ever since I got down to 152 pounds following a stint in the hospital earlier this year.  That was a thirteen pound loss. I have eaten bread, ice cream and everything I could think of to add pounds while at the same time, sticking with the daily exercise to keep the new weight from turning to flab as well as adding back lost muscle. I am now up to 170 pounds and would like to get up to 175. But I have noticed a subtle deterioration in the way I feel. I have been more lethargic and less filled with energy. Yes, the energy is still there but I actually “feel” heavier and feel like I had better stop the over eating now!

My answer is to go back to what I was doing earlier in 2014 which is eating just a few more vegetables and cutting back a little on meat. I don’t plan in any way to cut out meat, but like most people, I eat too much of it. Of course now I’ll cut out the excess bread and ice cream. No big deal.

It seems that at the beginning of every new year, everyone goes on a “get healthy” kick and then by mid-February, they go back to their normal habits. Gym memberships swell at the beginning of the year, and then the people stop going around the middle of February. Gym owners love it because the new members keep their memberships but don’t show up and take up space. I was at the gym yesterday and the place was packed. The attendant at the front desk said that it had been that way all day and all week. Lots of new members have signed up and are showing up – for now.

It would seem that we could do all this on an incremental basis. Start with 10% more exercise and a ten percent improvement in what we eat. That would give us ten percent change pretty quickly. Then as we see a 10 percent improvement in the way we look and feel, we would easily go for ten percent more. If we did that once a month, we would see a substantial improvement over a year. Not bad.

For some that wouldn’t work. Some people need massive change all at one time. What works for one person won’t work for another. There simply is no “one size fits all.”

But here’s a point to consider. As seniors, massive change all at once can be a real shock to our system. I would suggest that unless you are in good condition going in, you make incremental but real and lasting change.

“Fad Diets” don’t work well for long. They rarely have. Some diets are common sense such as the Mediterranean Diet, and the maybe one of the versions of the Paleo Diet. They represent long term lifestyle adjustments and result in incremental changes rather than the sudden and unsustainable changes found in most Fad Diets. Many of the Fad Diets work for a short time because they deprive you of something that results in short term, fast acting weight loss. But the reality is, much of what you are deprived of is necessary for your health in the long term. For example the drastic low fat diets of recent years cut back on healthy fats as well as the unhealthy fats. That works for a while, but your body needs a certain amount of fat to sustain itself and to keep the internal organs functioning properly. So at some point one needs to add fats back in to the mix. You can’t stay on them for long without some sort of deprivation and damage to your overall physical system.

Don’t forget that one can go without any food at all for a while without major damage to the systems of the body.  FASTING is a great way to clean up your system. But you can’t stay off food forever. Forty days and forty nights of FASTING is a bit much to ask of anyone, but a one day FAST monthly with only water and nothing else, will increase your energy and help rinse out your system. A two day FAST can be even better. I have done both in the past and they worked for me without any discomfort. I may give it a try myself again a few times this year.

I’ll be curious to see the results of the “Whole 30 diet” on my wife’s friends, and curious to see just how long they stick with it.

I’m not allowed to prescribe individual nutritional advice. But I am allowed to talk about what works for me and suggest that it might work for readers of this blog. More veggies and less meat, and cutting out as much sugar and refined foods as possible, worked for me. I lost nearly 30 pounds over a year without even trying. Will it work for you? Probably. If you really want to lose weight over the long term, give it a try and see if it works for you. It won’t be a dramatic or immediate change, but you will probably feel better pretty quickly and see noticeable improvement within a month. Combine that with a little exercise and watch and feel your energy soar.

Have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Thank you for reading.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.