Diet and Exercise: Diet
Diet is the first part of the diet and exercise approach to health that I will talk about. As with everything else, it seems, there are many different approaches to eating seem to have success in achieving health and/or weight loss. I have read that diet is more important than exercise in terms of health and well-being. Then again, I also read about a man who hasn’t eaten or had liquids to drink in 70 years!! Yikes! I personally have this idea that what we eat or drink is not as important as what we think about what we eat and drink. My theory is loosely supported by the various diets followed by old people in the news 🙂 I remember one woman who was, I think, 105, and she felt daily bacon was key. Another one I saw just recently thought her daily Dr. Pepper deserved the credit. And then there was the researcher who came up with and tested The Twinkie Diet. I like the sound of that! My parents are a another good example—they are in their late 80’s and early 90’s and are in good shape having never formally done any exercise and eating a good mixture of natural foods along with plenty of processed foods. They use what they think are good eating habits, but habits which run counter to much of the information out there…and it works for them! Then there are yogis who can ingest toxic substances without suffering any consequences (can’t remember where I read about that!). This makes me wonder about the whole concept of how important diet is….of course, I’m no yogi! And so I do have to consider, at least to some extent, what to put into my body. But in making this choice,I think it’s safe to say one could find a person that demonstrates the validity of almost any approach as well as someone who seems to detract from the validity of it. The point I take away from all this is that there are many possibilities and paths to fitness. Whatever you choose for diet (and exercise) should be something you enjoy, or at least something that you feel has a sound basis.
I, like most Americans, am almost always trying to lose some weight 😛 I was a thin and active child. My weight issues began in high school when I, for reasons I no longer recall, developed body image issues. I thought I needed to lose weight, and I did–but then I was too involved with what I ate and I developed some overeating patterns etc…I have had years as an adult when I was close to my ideal weight, and years when I was maybe 30 pounds above it.
Diet and Exercise: Exercise
Exercise is the second part of the diet and exercise equation. As with diets there are a ton of exercise approaches to consider. The basic forms of exercise to achieve physical fitness are cardio, strength, and flexibility. But oh, the choices you have! For cardio, there is steady state (think jogging at a steady pace), intervals (jogging with short sprints inserted), and HIIT (burpees, or jump squats). Then there’s frequency and interval lengths and spacing to consider- and on and on 🙂 For strength training there are weights (free or machine), body weight methods (yoga, pilates, and other), and isometrics. But do you do heavy weights, low reps? Light weights, high reps? Slow lifting? More choices! Flexibility is most often incorporated within cardio and or strength programs, either as warm ups and cool downs, or, as in yoga, part of the exercise itself.
Exercise has always been a part of my life. I was a tomboy as a kid and played sports throughout high school. Formal exercise started once I was in college. I have tried a lot of different approaches. Much like in other areas of my life, I seem to crave variety. So I’ve done pretty much all the choices I mentioned above 🙂 For the past 20 years, walking has been my favorite and most consistent cardio, although I add some short higher intensity workouts in there. Strength exercise is not enjoyable to me, and so I am always looking for ways to do this–again, short and sweet gets my vote 🙂 My choices have evolved over the years to fit my age (53). Refer to the references page for a list of things I have used with a few comments on each.
The programs below are things I have tried/or bought to try 🙂 All of them contain both diet and exercise components. I hope you find the information useful!