For a long time, I played golf with the fellas every Sunday morning at different courses throughout our neck o’ the woods.
One of the guys working in the clubhouse where we played most often suddenly started losing a bunch of weight. He went from pretty chunky to really skinny in a fairly short amount of time, and I finally asked him one day what he was doing. He said the reason he was running out of holes in his belt was fairly simple:
“If it comes out of a window, I don’t eat it,” he said.
In other words, no more fast-food.
I knew a guy once who had heart bypass surgery, and he said the doctor’s advice for avoiding a recurrence of life-threatening clogged arteries was this: “When you eat something, if it tastes good, spit it out.”
As we all know, there are a seemingly endless variety of sure-fire diet plans out there: low-carb, low-fat, high-fat, high-protein, portion control, vegetarian, vegan, raw foods, rabbit food. The list goes on. Equally abundant are theories on the best way to exercise: cardio or resistance training; cardio and resistance training; interval training; high-intensity training; low-intensity training.
There are also beaucoup opinions as to which is most important – diet or exercise. Some say, and I tend to agree, that what we eat is definitely no. 1 on the list of importance for good health, with regular exercise coming in a close second.
When it comes to losing weight and getting in shape, one thing is certain – packing on the pounds is a lot easier than unpacking them. Especially as the years go by.
My friend, Bubba, who remains incredibly lean and muscular at age 65, says his dietary regimen has always been simple:
“I eat whatever I want. I just stop eating before I get full.”
Now, I have seen the guy down half a basket of onion rings, a salad, chicken-fried steak with extra gravy, mashed potatoes, and corn for lunch. The thing is, other than his usual yogurt and a banana for breakfast, that might be all he eats, all day long.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average adult American male is 5-9 inches tall, and 195.5 pounds. Throw those numbers into a BMI (body mass index) calculator, and this dude comes out listed as “overweight,” and fairly close to obese. Looking around at the general population these days, that unfortunately seems pretty accurate. The average woman, meanwhile, is 5-4, 140-150 pounds, leaving her somewhere between the high end of “normal” weight, and the overweight column.
Over the past three years or so, since I took up pole vaulting for the first time in my life — yes, pole vaulting — I’ve lost about 45 pounds, and I haven’t done anything outrageous. I started working out a lot more, and I practice something called intermittent fasting, which for me is basically a fancy way of saying I skip breakfast and don’t eat anything until 10 or 11 o’clock each day. When I eat, I try to keep it fairly “clean,” but I pretty much eat whatever, although I’ve cut way down on the tacos, burgers and chicken tenders with cream gravy, and continue battling my sugar addiction.
I go to the gym three or four times a week, lifting weights, doing plyometrics, core strengthening exercises, and I practice pole vaulting once or twice a week. It’s slow-going, but I’m getting better at it all the time – even qualified for the National Senior Games in Albuquerque. More about that in a future column.
So the big advice this week? As always, keep it simple. Go for walks. Join a gym. Pick up a sport you used to love. Yoga is great, and believe it or not, can be a tough workout.
Get off the couch; get a little more active; watch what you eat.
Keep it simple.
Move more; eat less.
Let me know if you have questions or need some help!