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Eat This Not That

“Eat This, Not That”, the book written by Men’s Heath editor-in-chief, David Zinczenko, has become extremely popular over the last few years. If you watch TV or read popular magazines, it has been hard to miss David spreading his information on how to make better food choices that will save you thousands of calories.

His book typifies the attitude change that I see taking place in our society today. It seems like we have reached a “tipping point” of sorts, involving food and weight issues. David’s book emphasizes that YOU have choices when it comes to what food you put in your mouth, and depending on the choices that YOU make, you may eat a lunch that is close to 2000 calories or have something similar for only 600 calories. The choice YOU make will result in either you continuing to gain weight or turn the tide and begin losing weight.

It was just a few short years ago that all of the attitudes regarding how best to lose weight were focused on the type of food you eat. Popular diets were either all about carbohydrates or all about avoiding them; no-fat diets or “smart” fat diets, raw foods vs. cooked foods, no white foods, etc. The point is that none of these diets focused on the real reason you gain weight; IF YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT IT IS BECAUSE YOU CONSUME OR CONSUMED TOO MANY CALORIES! Instead, these diets let eaters off the hook and convinced them that if they just chose a different type of food, even if they ate it in mass quantities, they would lose weight.

These, “blame the food”, diets have been quite popular over the last 20 years. And if you look at the trend in the rate of overweight and obesity over the last 20 years, it is clear to see that these diets were not helping the American people. In fact, the rate of obesity is higher than it has ever been in our society. If you want to see something scary, go to the CDC's website and watch the graphic that shows the rate of obesity over the last 20 years. It shows that by 2007, only one state (Colorado) had a prevalence of obesity of less than 20%. Thirty states had a prevalence equal to or greater than 25%; three of these states (Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee) had a prevalence of obesity equal to or greater than 30%.

It is clear to me that the only way America is going to turn the tide on the obesity epidemic is for everyone to take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for the choices that they make, especially regarding diet and exercise.YOU have to admit to yourself that you do have a lot of control in how your body develops, ages and even dies. You do not have to get fat as you get old, if you don’t want to. You can not continue to use excuses like, “I have to eat on the road, so I can’t eat healthy”, or “I just don’t have the time to exercise” or even worse, “everyone in my family is fat; it’s just in my genes”.

Taking personal responsibility is just that……………taking responsibility for you own self, your own choices. No one MAKES you eat a double cheeseburger and an order of fries 4 days a week for lunch. No one MAKES you sleep an extra hour in the morning instead of getting out of bed and going for a walk. No one MAKES you grab the donuts in the break area, even though you had breakfast at home. You are the boss of your own life. You can make whatever choices you want. If you want to be overweight and unhealthy, it is your choice (although, millions of people making that choice is a major reason why healthcare is so expensive for everyone). If you do choose that life, then at least have the guts to take responsibility for it. Just say it! Just say, “I don’t want to limit my food intake. I want to eat whatever I want to eat and I don’t care if I am fat. I hate exercise and I will not do it” Don’t blame everyone else or your busy life or the fast food restaurants…………take responsibility for your own choices.

If you would like to start making more positive choices, then I applaud you and am willing to help you. My best advice is to START SMALL. Don’t go making huge changes to your life all at once; you will quit before the first week is up. Make small changes to your diet; buy the book “Eat This, Not That” and begin to learn how a few small changes can make a big difference in your daily caloric intake.

As for exercise, again, start small. Go for a walk that is about a mile, or 20 minutes. Do this at the same time Monday through Friday. Try to double that distance at least one day on the weekend and take one day off. Slowly build where that walk or jog is closer to 3 or 4 miles, this should take about 4 to 5 weeks. Then begin to add some strength training. Substitute a good weight workout (30-45 minutes of lifting) for your walk on 2 of the 6 days you exercise. Have a qualified personal trainer work with you to develop a good routine.

By subtracting a few hundred calories a day from your food intake and adding a few hundred calories burned through exercise, you will lose extra weight at a slow, but steady pace. The BEST part about losing weight with a process like this is that weight lost this way is RARELY EVER gained back. Weight lost quickly and in massive chunks returns within one year 90% of the time.

I am sorry if my words sounded harsh, but I felt it necessary to be very direct: YOU are in charge of YOU; how you age, your health, and your quality of life. Don’t waste time blaming other things…………the choices you make are yours and yours alone.