Already, so here’s the deal: Losing weight is not a priority for me. I’m actually about two or three pounds lower (today, anyway) than I’d like to be. That probably means I’m shy on muscle mass at the moment. BUT, I know weight loss is a huge priority for a lot of people out there, so I just wanted to throw out my opinion on the subject:
First off, I think people place WAY too much emphasis on weight. Look, weight is ONE measurement for health. BMI is another. Neither of those gives you anything more than a narrow perspective of health, however. You can be low-weight and still be incredibly unhealthy. Trust me; I’ve seen it. So step one here is to quit worrying about the bathroom scale so much—if you’re like me, your weight will vacillate by two pounds every night anyway.
Next, I keep reading these web sites that promote low-carb lifestyles. They seem to think the cause of obesity is carbohydrate. Well, I’m sorry, but the human race has been eating carbs for THOUSANDS OF YEARS, and the obesity/overweight epidemic is maybe 30 years old. "But Caloi," you say, "our ancestors were also more physically active than we are." Well, there’s your solution then: Don’t cut the carbs, increase the activity.
For some reason, I feel like this advice falls on some deaf ears sometimes. People seem to want to know what the minimums are when it comes to exercise—what’s the minimum amount of exercise I can put in and still gain the health benefits? I’m sorry if you’re someone who’s asking this question, but my answer is that if you’re going for the minimum, you may as well forget about it. For you to really, truly benefit from exercise, you need to enjoy what you’re doing and you need to do it often. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it often enough. If you hate treadmills, forget it. You need something you can stand to do for HOURS before you get sick of it. Those skinny cyclists and runners you know aren’t putting in the minimum. They’re putting in hours of exercise. They’re so compelled to do it, they’ll keep doing it even after they break bones and get told not to do it by their doctors. They sincerely enjoy doing it.
What kind of exercise should you do? That’s partly up to you, but it’s also partly up to your body. Bear in mind that the amount of muscle fiber you have will change how well you react to certain types of exercise. If you’re packed more with Type II (fast-twitch) muscle fibers, you’re going to run yourself into the ground trying to run marathons. Fast-twitchers are more prone to inflammation. On the other hand, if you’re a Type I (slow-twitch) kinda guy (or girl), you probably won’t ever see the results from lifting weights. Most of us are somewhere in between, so most of us should be doing a little of both—endurance/cardio and strength/power. You’ll reach your optimal shape with a combination of both.
If you want to look at improving your eating habits, look for something that is younger than carbohydrate. In my opinion, there are really two or three ingredients you ought to watch out for in foods. These are:
Trans Fat otherwise known as hydrogenated oils. If you see hydrogenated anything oil on the label, put the food down and back away slowly. Don’t buy it so you won’t eat it.
High-fructose corn syrup or HFCS if you prefer. It’s kinda freaky that high-fructose corn syrup was discovered at about the same time as the beginning of the obesity epidemic, and it’s a bit wacky that even the experts know that the body doesn’t process HFCS the same as it does other sugars.
Truth is, I’m also not a fan of caffeine or aspartame, and I avoid them like the plague. It’s my opinion, but your body knows what to do with sucrose and even fructose—it doesn’t know what to do with aspartame. Caffeine will just mess up your sleep cycle and force an unnecessary high on your body. I’ve also read it can lead to heart problems.
So that’s my little treatise on health. I hope you’ll take it for what it’s worth, go eat some bread, stop dieting, and ignore that Atkins-funded moronic study in the New England Journal of Medicine.