Monday, June 5, 2017

Eating as a Lifestyle, Not a Diet

Diet = Do It, Eat This

"We test your DNA to determine the right diet for you."  "I had this drink and my infirmities went away, my golf score improved, etc."  Let’s face it, healthy eating as a fad has become big business.  Yes, I understand that sometimes we need help starting us on the path to proper eating and there are many good products meant to point us in the right direction.  The reality is that in a world of ice cream, chocolate bars and decadent cakes, who has time to think of kale, cauliflower and asparagus?  When stepping out to walk to the places where I get salad for lunch, the scents from the potential lunch places I pass on the way do make me salivate.    "Have I got a diet for you," says the slick man in the magazine, on television or on the radio.  30 day, 90 day, etc. time sliced bromides that benefit our bellies, and provide a transformation back to a better size.  This is a far-gone cry from the guy with the horse drawn wooden storefront that sold concoctions for health, or is it?

While I am all for help, the lingering question remains - What happens the day after?  We all know people (including ourselves) that go on a “diet” and it works wonders; then more often than not, a few weeks later, all the weight loss has evaporated, and in some cases, plus some.  Where are the hawkers telling you that you must be diligent in what you eat EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE?  I have fought the Battle of the Bulge my entire adult life (and I do not mean one of the last major battles of WWII).  And while I have done some short-term diets, it was changing the way I eat every day that made the longer lasting impact.  Once I stopped relying on someone else dictating what I eat and took on the responsibility of what I put in my mouth, how I track myself and reminding myself where I want to be, my body reacted as I had wished for.

WebMD defines obesity as being 20% over what is considered your normal weight and could lead to an increase in having:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Some cancers
  • Gallbladder disease and gallstones
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout
  • Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea (when a person stops breathing for short episodes during sleep) and asthma

Similarly, our government’s CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) also sight the potential health risks:

  • All-causes of death (mortality)
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver)
  • Low quality of life
  • Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning

On the World Health Organization (WHO) web site, they estimate that: 

  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight. Of these over 600 million adults were obese.
  • Overall, about 13% of the world’s adult population (11% of men and 15% of women) were obese in 2014.
  • In 2014, 39% of adults aged 18 years and over (38% of men and 40% of women) were overweight.
  • The worldwide prevalence of obesity more than doubled between 1980 and 2014.

I do not include these statistics as a scare tactic.  I do not include these facts to sell you anything.  I include these external references to show that I am not just talking out of my “tuchus.”  And I get it that the food industry is in it to make money by appealing to our baser desires.  My purpose IS NOT TO POINT FINGERS, but to merely point out that EACH OF US has the ability to make choices that are beneficial to ourselves.  Am I saying that I never indulge in a piece of chocolate or cake? No, because I enjoy these tasty treats…on occasion.  When I enjoy too much, my body reacts and my weight goes up.  Do not just diet, but move towards better eating habits.  Eat smartly, eat wisely and eat healthy, as it will help us to live longer.