Day by Day

Friday, January 09, 2004

We've all heard the mantra of "Exercise more, Eat less" that's been pushed at us since birth. Hell, we HAD the four food groups, and now that's changed to the food pyramid, and they've already found a few little problems with THAT. We had the government issued "Body Mass Index", (which states that Michael Jordon is overweight) to try and follow, all in the name of health. There are exercise manuals, diets, we're constantly being hounded with examples and pictures of what we SHOULD look like, and what we SHOULD do to be healthy.

Fortunately for us, more and more people are realizing that it's all bullshit.

Another study just released provides some especially poignant data. The Midwest Exercise Trial led by Joseph E. Donnelly, EdD put men and women on a 16 month-long, intensive exercise regimen (at 60 to 75% of their maximum heart rate, to burn about 2,000 kcal per week). While men lost about 5 kg and 3.7% body fat, women gained 0.6 kg of body weight while losing a mere 0.2 kg body fat. It makes for some rather interesting math, noted Gaesser. The women each burned about 138,000 total kcal during those 69 weeks, or about 313,636 kcal per pound of fat!

It sort of flies in the face of that simplistic myth -- "burn 3,500 kcalories and lose a pound" -- doesn't it?

Look, there are a few things you can do to be healthy. 1) Stop smoking (I'm still working on that one), 2) stop eating fast food, 3) don't overdrink, and 4) get outside for an hour a day. It doesn't have to be much. Take your dog for a walk. Go for a hike. Bike down to the store instead of drive. No only does this get your ass off the couch, but it gets you into some sort of sunlight, which your body needs in order to produce Vitamin D. Follow those four steps, and you'll be fine.

The food pyramid is bullshit. You can just toss that pile of junk right out the window. Carbohydrates need to be used, otherwise your body just turns it into fat and stores it. So if you're eating five loaves of bread every day and wondering why you're gaining fat, that's why. Veggies, fruits, and other produce should have been at the bottom of the pyramid. I have rarely seen anyone get fat from eating too many apples. Your body excretes any protein that it doesn't use, so trimming the fat off of your meat goes a long way towards getting thinner. Eggs are low fat. Pull the skin off of your chicken before you cook it. That gets rid of 80% of the fat right there. Fried chicken is a no-no. Seafood is pretty much low-fat. If you can get decent seafood for a low price, chow down. But toss that food pyramid in the trash.

Let's recap:

1) Don't smoke (or smoke less, and try to quit)
2) Stop eating fast food/junk food. Put the Ho-Hos DOWN!
3) Don't overdrink. Beer has TONS of carbs in it.
4) Get off the couch and go outside for an hour. Gardening, walking, biking, take the dog to the park, it doesn't matter so long as you're active.

This won't make you some ripped muscled stud, but it will get you much healthier than just sitting around. Hell, simply changing how you eat will do worlds of good. You like fried chicken? Try this recipe:

Pull the skin off the chicken. Type of meat doesn't matter. You can marinate it for an hour or two if you like.
Roll the chicken in beaten egg. Get it good and coated.
Roll the chicken in breadcrumbs. You can get seasoned breadcrumbs or plain, depending on what you like.
Bake the chicken at 350 for an hour, or until it's as done as you want.

The egg and breadcrumbs give the chicken a crispy "skin", and you've dumped the fat right out of the picture. Try marinating the chicken in a vinaigrette before you use the egg and breadcrumbs. A simple Italian salad dressing will work. Viola, you have crispy chicken with much less fat. And it's simple to do.

But whenever you see the government come out with some plan that's "good for your health", toss it. Junk it. Use it as toilet paper. Because that's all it's good for.

Hat tip to Kim du Toit.

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