Wednesday, April 02, 2008


I was reading in the news the other day that dieting is going out of fashion and that the diet industry is making less money today. It seems that people are starting to think that exercise is the most important factor in the quest for weight control. I believe this is a common misconception and that people should focus on diet first and exercise next if their objective is to trim down. In the park where I do most of my cardio exercise I have noticed the same people year after year performing their exercise, which is usually just walking, yet not getting any lighter and maybe getting even larger.

For the obese person exercise can be rather inhibiting and off-putting and indeed it can be dangerous. For those carrying many pounds of excess weight the act of exercising will put an extra strain on joints and muscles that the lean person would not experience. This could lead to extensive damage of key areas like knees and ankles that could result in being practically crippled. The obese person should approach exercise with caution and develop an exercise routine that has the least joint and tendon impact as possible. Cycling and swimming come to mind as exercises that would be good at least until a normal weight has been achieved.

That said, exercise will have little impact on controlling weight. The key is calorie restriction. It is extremely difficult to work off an up-sized McDonalds meal yet it is very easy to forgo the meal altogether and eat an apple or a banana. You would probably have to run for twenty miles or more to burn off the excess calories consumed in a McDonalds combo.

Exercise is more important for controlling weight gain once the ideal weight has been achieved.

So back to dieting. I have devised all sorts of diets for reducing weight and I think that nearly all of them would work well which brings us back to the concept of the effectiveness of calorie restriction. The key is to avoid high-energy foods. Foods that are packed with easily accessible calories like processed foods high in sugar. These foods are digested almost immediately and saturate the blood with food that cannot be burned off quickly and so is converted to fat. If you avoid all processed food and that includes bread and rice and just stick to fruit, meat and vegetables you cannot go wrong. Forget about the totally wrong food pyramid above where you are advised to eat six to eleven servings or more a day of bread – have they completely lost their minds? Think about bread as a food developed by the masters to feed the slaves that build pyramids. The food pyramid is for active children or very fit and active adults.

It is true that exercise for many people is a bit of an appetite suppressant yet you could use other tricks like suppressing the appetite by drinking lots of water or even coffee. Exercise is great but don’t damage yourself by going at it too hard and making the mistake that exercise will make you thin.
The key is healthy eating in moderation with long gaps of five hours or so when you eat nothing at all. Avoid all snacks and try to have long periods where your blood supply is not saturated with food. Forget about breakfast being the most important meal of the day and take advantage of periods when appetite is low to fast - just don't over do it mid-morning when craving for food returns. Eat fruit instead of bread and never eat biscuits, candy or cakes.

Once you have brought your weight down you can then focus on exercise. You will notice that you will be more motivated to do exercise due to the increased energy and feeling of wellness that healthy eating brings about.

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