Maintaining a Healthy Weight
It’s possible to be strong and overweight at the same time, but it’s not a healthy combination. Excess weight increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. You run the risk of undoing all the benefits you get from your strength training workouts. A couple of years ago, I decided that although I was very strong it was time to drop a few pounds.
As I thought about it, I decided the best way to approach it was the same way I approached strength training—develop a plan and stick to it. It helped set me up for success. In two years, I lost 30 pounds. It worked for me. It can work for you.
Fred’s Method on Maintaining a Healthy Weight
It’s important to be consistent in both your food and exercise, and to hold yourself accountable.
- Buy a really good, accurate digital scale
- Keep it in your bathroom
- Weigh yourself when you first get up in the morning
- Write your weight on your mirror with a dry erase marker—206.2, 207.1, 206.4, etc.—down the left side
You’ll soon learn how difference combinations of exercise and diet affect your weight. You’ll be startled to see the effect a restaurant dinner of pasta with bread will have on your weight the next morning. I was. It made me adjust the way I eat.
What I Eat:
Again, consistency is key. I eat the same way every day.
- 150 grams of protein
- Fruit (oranges, apples, and grapes)
- Vegetables (peas, corn, peppers)
- Nuts (almonds in afternoon to reduce hunger)
My NO list:
- White rice
- Processed Food
High Carbs vs. Low Carbs for Weight Loss
As you can see, the bulk of my diet is protein, fruits, and vegetables. I avoid certain carbs but not all of them. It’s worked for me, but it wasn’t a quick fix. As recommended by medical science, it took me two years to drop 30 pounds. Lose no more than pound a week max. That ensures I’m keeping it off.
It’s important to note that there is a huge debate raging among nutrition experts and medical researchers on whether it’s better to eat a lot of carbs, some carbs, or no carbs at all. It’s one of the hottest topics in medical research right now.
Low-carbohydrate diets are very popular because of the quick weight-loss results you get, but several studies indicate that may not be good for you. One of the most recent medical papers on carb intake and what it means for health and longevity was a peer-reviewed research report commissioned by the National Institutes of Health and published in August in Lancet.
The report found that both low-carb and high-carb diets were associated with shorter life spans. It was primarily concerned with the research around the low-carb diet, finding that people who replaced the lost carbs with animal fat and protein had a higher risk of early death than those who ate more plant-based foods in place of the carbs.
When it came to high carb diets, the new Lancet report cited a 2017 study of people from 18 countries across five continents. The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study found that “high carbohydrate intake was associated with increased risk of mortality.”
The headline on another study published in August put it more bluntly: Low carbohydrate diets are unsafe and should be avoided. The study presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress looked at more than 24,000 Americans’ eating patterns over more than a decade. It concluded that Americans who ate low-carb had a 32 percent greater risk of premature death from coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer than those on a high-carb diet. The conclusion was that low-carb “should be avoided”.
The ESC quoted the medical researcher as suggesting that the reason there was a higher risk of premature death among low-carb dieters was due to the type of protein they were eating in place of the lost carbohydrates. “The reduced intake of fiber and fruits and increased intake of animal protein, cholesterol, and saturated fat with these diets may play a role. Differences in minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals might also be involved,” according to the study’s author.
These newest studies support other research that intake of an excessive amount of animal protein and fat is linked to an increase in health problems. “Too much and too little carbohydrate can be harmful but what counts most is the type of fat, protein, and carbohydrate,” according to Walter Willett at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, one of the authors of the Lancet study which recommends we eat a 50-50 mixture of protein and carbs.
For almost 40 years, the federal government’s U.S. Dietary Guidelines have recommended as much as 65 percent of our daily food intake consist of carbohydrates. Both the Lancet and ESC studies have led to questions about whether it is time to reconsider dietary guidelines, in the U.S. and globally, in light of their findings.