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Monday, January 12, 2009

The best diet: Moderation

So you've made the new years resolution to lose weight and eat healthy and now you're struggling with trying to stick with it. If you're like me, your effort is about in the 50% range. The workout is going great, but for some reason I don't think having bacon for lunch and dinner isn't exactly a healthy diet.

But I'm on vacation. Yep, that's my excuse. The goal is to eat healthier starting today, but my idea of eating healthy is not to go on one of those ridiculous crash diets -- been there and done that and failed that. Nope. I'm going to do the diet my grandpa John recommended to my mom when she was a kid. It's simple: Anything in moderation is good for you.

I'll call it the Moderation Diet.

The best diets I've read about say that eating a lot of food three times a day as Americans have traditionally done is not good. The best way to keep your metabolism going is to constantly have a supply of nutrients for your body to burn up, and the best way to do that is to eat several small meals a day. So I try to eat every 2.5 to three hours, when I'm being healthy (which should be all the time but, again, that's easier said than done.)

Home style breakfasts are not good for you. By home style I mean eggs and bacon and omelets. Those things are "okay" in the moderation diet once or twice a week, but definitely not every day. And you should "try" to limit yourself to one egg and not two. I had breakfast with an overweight man a few weeks ago, and he had four eggs. If he eats like that every day, it's pretty obvious why he has a weight issue.

The thing is, though, you can't just buy into one of these crash diets and think that you are going to be able to maintain that for life. I honestly think the companies that sell these diets rely on people buying them and not sticking with it. There may be 1 or 2 out of 20 who can motivate themselves to a crash diet (eating chicken for every meal for example), but I highly doubt many of them are married with three kids running around.

Of course it also helps to have a pal to work out with. This is mainly important for those days you don't feel like working out. It's good to have someone motivating you.

It's good to have a wife (or husband) who is on the same diet page as you. When my wife was pregnant and making bacon and eggs every day for breakfast, it was hard to avoid eating what she cooked. Plus her desserts were way to good to avoid.

Likewise, the pal (friend or wife) who is on the same page as you can motivate you on the "bad" diet days, and vice versal.

I've learned that if you give up all the things you like you will crave them strongly, and it's that craving that will set your diet up for doom. If you love beer, go ahead and have one or two once or twice a week. If your friends go out, go ahead and go with them. But don't do this every day.

If your daughter has a birthday party, go ahead and pig out. If your aunt millie has an 90th birthday party, go ahead and pig out. You need those kind of "off" days during any diet. Likewise, you should take a day or two off each week that you do not excercise. Your muscles need a break too.

My wife once lost 20 pounds while eating one piece of chocolate a day and otherwise doing the body-for-life diet. She actually stuck with that diet a long time. I lost weight once when I was in college and I went to the bars on the weekends. You have to find a routine that works for you and stick with it, and continue sticking with it.

Easier said than done I know.

So, this time around it's moderation.


The Tengu said...

Happy New Year! Great to hear that you are making your health a priority. There is a real short book put out by Men's Health Magazine called "The Abs Diet", which isn't a diet at all but really an introduction to sound nutrition principles. With that book's information and working out quite a bit, I've lost about 50lbs of fat and packed on about 20lbs of solid muscle over the past 320 days or so. I can't recommend it enough. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm all about moderation in food. Most of the time I get it right, occasionally I over indulge. But I've found that denying myself something tends to create a healthy craving for said item.

I do try to get off cookies whenever possible. Those tend to become a daily battle.