According to a recently published online article, “Exercise and healthy eating reduce body fat and preserve muscle in adults better than diet alone, according to a study funded and conducted by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases…part of the National Institutes of Health.” Okay, sure. Isn’t this already widely known? Doesn’t every doctor and personal trainer try to drive this point home to their patients and clients? Seriously, how is this news?
Well, for starters this study used participants from TV’s The Biggest Loser. While the show’s producers always add the caveat that these are not typical weight loss results, there’s no denying that under close supervision the combination of altered eating habits and exercise works. Secondly, the results were documented with a computer simulation which assigned weight loss amounts to diet and exercise separate from one another. This allowed comparisons of variables and their relative impacts.
The practical upshot of this study is that the simulations revealed that folks who have lost a lot of weight can sustain their weight loss by adopting moderate lifestyle changes. Just 20 minutes of daily vigorous exercise and a 20 percent calorie restriction is enough to maintain the weight loss once you have lost it. You might say it’s 20/20!
…stand in line for an escalator when stairs are adjacent?
…say they have no time for exercise while they watch hours and hours of vacuous television?
…tell their spouse/partner/children that they should get fit and healthy while themselves sofa spudding?
…eat far too much cheap, nutritionally barren food when a lesser amount of whole, fresh food would do the job right?
…guzzle artificially colored and flavored sugar water or chemical witches’ brew (soda and diet soda) when our bodies were designed to crave water?
…spend thousands of dollars a year on prescription medications when 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise would obviate a lot of health problems?
I don’t know the exact answers to these questions. I have my suspicions and theories, many of which are not politically correct. I think if more people took personal responsibility for their own health, a lot of America’s health issues would greatly diminish or disappear. Conversely, I personally don’t believe that the corporate medical industry has any interest in promoting health, as much as selling symptom treatment. What do you think?
If you had an infection, you would take an antibiotic, wouldn’t you? If you had asthma, you would use an inhaler, wouldn’t you? If you had a headache, you would take an analgesic, wouldn’t you? And if you had a bad cut, you would get stitches, right? These things all mitigate an adverse health condition.
So why are so many Americans unwilling to mitigate their obesity?
Maybe it’s because unlike an illness or an injury, the repercussions are less immediate and therefore more easily ignored. That does not mean that the repercussions are any less real or dangerous.
We all know that high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and diabetes are killers. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not for quite a while, but inevitably they will prevail. Even so, two thirds of the adults in this country and about half the children are overweight or obese.
The solution could not be simpler: eat sensibly and exercise regularly. But that’s not presently the American way. Let’s change that!
I had an odd experience at the supermarket yesterday. I stopped in after work to pick up a few things. I stepped into the express line with a hand carried basket, in which I had some fresh beet greens and kale, a package of turkey breast cutlets, some tempeh, a mango and a carton of almond milk. In front of me was a woman and her two boys.
The woman was obese and her children were heading that way. The counter was piled with a couple bags of chips, three large bottles of soda, crackers, white bread, peanut butter, and a jar of grape jelly. There was a clear causal link between their weight and all the junk food on the counter.
The odd experience was that the younger of the two boys, perhaps four or five years old, was looking at the vegetables and so forth in my basket as if they were souvenirs from Mars. It was painfully obvious from the expression on his face that he just didn’t get it. Where was the good food? It sure couldn’t be all that green stuff! And where’s the soda? What’s that weird man going to drink?
The evidence led me to conclude that he had not been exposed to healthy eating to any great degree. It’s up to parents to make sure that their kids have the tools they need for long and healthy lives. Knowledge is the cornerstone, and in my opinion, this woman missed mark. I feel sorry for those boys.
I’ve been thinking about my current state of health the past few days. A bit more than two years ago, I was pretty unhealthy. I was fat and sedentary, a combination guaranteed to cause problems, such as the chronic high cholesterol level that required me to take two medications, and borderline high blood pressure. If I may be candid, I was pretty unmotivated and apathetic back then.
These days I feel pretty good about myself. I eat well and I work out at least 6 days a week. I’ve dropped a lot of weight, gained some back during a setback, and now it’s coming off again. I’ve completely turned my life around from a health perspective. It wasn’t always easy and pleasant. It has, however, been worth it.
I’m no longer turned off and angry at the guy in the mirror.