Pick it, Catch it or Milk it

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‘Fake Food’ Is Probably Why You Are Fat

 

Realfood

 

If you exercise properly and often, and you are still overweight, it may be your diet that is the problem. Portion control and what you eat are key factors for weight gain. Although exercise is essential for fitness and cardiovascular health, it is the food you eat that makes people obese.

Proponents of primal diets insist that our species, Homo sapiens, evolved over the millennia as omnivores. Until a short few thousand years ago, a mere page in our history book, our ancestors were foragers, not farmers. A root, some leaves, maybe a frog, might be all they would eat in a day. They hunted when they could or ate carrion when they found it. Oona and Thag were lean and small, and free of disease. None of them were overweight. Diabetes didn’t exist.

Grain farming came late in the family history. We haven’t had time to evolve for a high-calorie, grain-based diet. Grains, whole or refined, are foreign to our metabolism. Our body can digest them only if they are cooked, but once cooked the human gut processes grain carbohydrates too well. Bread, beer and pasta, as delicious as they are, were the first ‘fake’ foods to arrive at the table.

Modern food scientists think they can tinker some more. Highly processed food is inexpensive to produce and store. Their goal is to create profitable food. Tasty food. It needn’t be nutritious or healthy. We got snacks instead of sustenence.

 

Nope

 

Nope. Highly processed. Mostly fake. There are better choices.

 

And so for the last century we’ve gorged on repurposed lamp fuel (Crisco) and genetically modified animal feed (Canola). High-fructose corn syrup and margarine cannot be produced by nature. Only now, after years of consumption, do we suspect a correlation between these ‘fake foods’ and the obesity-diabetes epidemic.

My grandmother always said “you are what you eat.” She shopped for fresh food every day. Fish, meat, nuts, greens, fruit and potatoes were served at her table. As kids she never gave us Coke or chips (“garbage!”). My grandparents were lean people because they ate well. Abuela cooked her food every day. “Pick it, Catch it or Milk it” she intoned. I’ve (mostly) followed her advice. I’m in my fifties now and have never been fat. I don’t want to be a high-fructose blob.

 

Totallyfake

 

Totally fake. Unnatural. Extruded. Chemical.

 

Think about it. Are you fatter than your grandparents? If so, are you eating a different diet than them? How much of your food is artifical? Does the list of ingredients in your pre-processed food say “modified,” “hydrogenated” or “BHT?” Do the additives require a degree in organic chemistry to decipher?

Eat less prepared food. Stop drinking beer. Avoid the fakes. Cook your own meals. You will loose weight.

 

15 Things Any Fit Man Can Do

 

Jack_lalanne-300x229

Jack LaLanne

 

Sharing an elevator with strangers can be an intimate experience. Over time you start to notice things about the people you see often. Here are three mid-life ‘elevator men’ I’ve come to know. Perhaps you know them, too?

  • The muscle-bound man with the gym bag who always takes the elevator for three floors. The stairwell is right next door.
  • The lean runner, still in his Nike trainers, who tows a normal-sized laptop in a little wheeled suitcase.
  • Or, the talkative man who enjoys the many weight-loss compliments he gets. He’s probably 45, but he shuffles like he’s much older.

These guys are committed to health goals. They aim for — and attain — a hard-sought number (reps, distance, body weight). We admire their fortitude and perseverance — they seem almost obsessed about it. Sad thing is, though they hit their target, they are missing a pretty big point.

That point is about the total package. My elevator men fixated solely on a number and forgot the ultimate goals of fitness and health.  What good is sliding into smaller pants if you can’t walk very far? Where’s the point of attaining long distance legs if you have the upper body strength of a woman? So what if you can lift six 45-lb plates on a barbell? You get winded climbing a few stairs!

It’s almost as if my elevator men became invalids, strong-weak men who lost basic functionality. They struggle at ALL the things their bodies were designed to do. I would say they are crippled.

Men are a collection of muscle, tendon and bone. We’re springs, motors and a nice chemical battery. Nature designed us to pursue, climb, forage, carry heavy things, crouch, hide, dance and protect … until we die. We’re not meant to taper off after 25. We serve an active purpose. Our modern bodies should be pure potential energy, ready to do anything.

The point of a good fitness plan is maintain ability long after youth. A fit man in his fifties can do the same things he did in his twenties if he aimed for doing instead of a number. A fit man avoids serious injury when he falls. He’ll advance into old age with strength and poise, and he’s less likely to get serious illness later.  He can do most anything at the time he must do it. He’s ready and able; he doesn’t need a new program.

Tracking to a single number distracts him from a long view. A fat man in his forties may have normal ‘numbers’ and think he’s fine. No need to exercise. This same fat man, now in his fifties, has a good chance of getting diabetes. It’s too late in his sixties when he faces amputations and internal ‘ectomies.’

As I’ve pointed out in a previous blog post, a lifetime commitment to strenuous exercise is what men must make. Don’t be a ‘numbers man.’

 

From 1940s body builder to pulling rowboats behind him at 70, LaLanne never succumbed to the false assumption that getting old means getting weak.

 

Be like your great-grandfather. Be Thag The Cave Man. Be Odysseus. Be Jack LaLanne.  Don’t be Richard Simmons.

Here’s a list of things any fit man can do, even those in their fifties. How many can you do?

  1. Climb over a six-foot fence without a ladder.
  2. Swim one length underwater at the high-school swimming pool. Do it without coming up for air. EXTRA CREDIT: swim back again, all in the same breath.
  3. Climb a large tree more than halfway up. You must pull yourself into the tree – no ladder.
  4. Dress yourself standing up (including socks, underwear and shoes) in the middle of the floor. You may not lean against the wall or touch any surface.
  5. Hoist a sixty-pound bag (salt, fertilizer, sand…) from the ground up to your shoulders. Walk the length of your street and back without setting the bag down.
  6. Mow a suburban lawn on a hot summer day using an old-fashioned, reel-type lawnmower.
  7. Ride a bicycle for four hours straight with one short break halfway.
  8. Do a cartwheel.
  9. Stand on your toes for ten minutes.
  10. Chase an active ten-year-old boy around the yard. Tag him.
  11. Jump rope for ten minutes.
  12. Do a headstand.
  13. Climb up and down ten flights of office building stairs, ten times, in 30 minutes.
  14. Carry another man your height for fifty paces.
  15. Swim across a small lake.

 

Img_1208

Me, trekking in Nepal

 

I’m glad you got your cholesterol down. It’s awesome that you burned 1000 calories on the treadmill. We’re impressed you threw out your fat pants.

Now, go climb a tree!

 

10 Waistline Tips For Younger Men

Waistsize

Yes, I buy my clothes from Target

Okay, you’re in your prime: you have a (mostly) good head of hair, the zits are gone and your clothes look good on you. But maybe your pants are feeling a little tight. Or, you look at your father and worry that you’ll get an Extendo-Gut like he has.

The twenties is the time of life when the flab creeps under man’s belt, fills out his face and makes him soft-looking. Oh, it won’t happen quickly – just a few lbs a year – but when you’re 30, you may be overweight with man boobs, squishy arms and experience the possibility you’ll never see your Little Buddy again. Modern life does that.

I’m in my fifties now. I decided in my twenties to keep a masculine silhouette. I wanted to move like a young man when I was an old man, to avoid old-age disease and look better than the middle-aged men I knew. 

I figured out how to avoid a thick waist and I want to share my tips with you. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Be thin. Seriously. Start out thin and you can maintain; try to reduce and you’ll fail. There, I said it: you cannot lose weight and keep it off. In all my years I have seen maybe a handful of guys lose weight permanently. 

    Your real goal is to stay where you are and keep from gaining. If you are ten lbs heavier now than you want to be, just accept that’s where you will stay. Your body has adjusted to the extra weight; in fact, it wants it to stay. That’s the way human physiology is; it hoards man-lard for tough times.

  2. Exercise a lot. You need at least 200 minutes a week of sweaty, heart-pounding, continuous exercise for the rest of your life. Each block must be at least 20 minutes long and you should split it at least over four days each week. Allow one non-exercise day.

    Golfing isn’t this kind of exercise. Brisk walking won’t do anything at all. That’s what they tell old people to do because that’s all they can do. Look, we’re designed to run after deer, throw spears and heave boulders, all day, every day. Get Cro-Magnon!

  3. No Beer. Sorry, but this has to be said. Beer makes men fat. Period. If you want alcohol, drink a glass of wine or a single mixed drink. Young-You may burn off beer calories now, but the Older-You won’t.

  4. No dieting. This also makes men fat. The seesaw of weight-loss plans will make you unhappy. Fatter, too, because your body will think it’s starving; it will work even harder to store calories for you.

  5. No fake foods. No supplements. No sports drinks. No crap from GNC or the kiosk inside the gym. Your body won’t know what to do with it. It’s really fertilizer for people. Think I’m kidding? What’s that grayish metallic residue at the bottom of the glass?

  6. Wear a belt. Don’t use a weight scale.  Set the notch to where you are now; that is your new life-goal. You and I both know how easy it is to trick the scale. But the belt never lies.

  7. Mix up your exercise.  Do weights, the sweaty stuff and yoga. Weights improve your muscle-to-jiggly fat ratio, and they make you leaner and more resilient. As far as I am concerned, bigger biceps are merely a byproduct of weight training, not the main purpose. Yoga is important for balance and being limber.

    I’ve seen weight lifters who groan getting out of a chair. I’ve seen runners who can’t carry a bag of groceries. You’re not meant to be a One Trick Pony. Be an all-rounder.

  8. Be consistent. Yeah, yeah. You MUST make exercise a routine, something you must do and feel bad about missing. Of all my tips, this may be the most important – and the hardest to attain.

  9. Come from a skinny family. Okay, I’m being flippant — a little. Genetics does play a role, but it’s not the major one. But you must honestly assess how you were brought up and what kind of life habits you picked up from your family. Discard the bad ones right now.

  10. Eat out rarely…  eat home-cooked food …  at regular times. Restaurant food will plump you up in no time. Learn to cook. Live by yourself? Then get this book: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. It has simple recipes of easy, delicious meals.