Recently, I wrote an article in which I discussed cycling and diet. I received a comment or two from the article, but also received a comment or two from fellow riders who read my blog. Whenever I use the word diet in an article I am always using it as a noun and not a verb. Our daily lives of eating healthy and trying to maintain a certain lifestyle of placing goodness into our bodies is our diet (noun). It is the way to live and eat only to maintain our bodies and not stuffing our face to entertain our taste buds. Someone who is dieting (verb) anywhere from two days to two weeks at a time to shed weight, practically starving himself, is never the way to do things.
The body is a very simple machine, to be so complex. When you deprive the body of food, the metabolic rate slows tremendously, thinking that food might be slow in coming so it needs to conserve what it has in reserves. Yep, body weight does drop. The bad part is that when you return to your normal routine after a couple days or weeks, metabolism is at a crawl and you pack on more pounds than when you started; then the cycle usually repeats. There are billions of dollars spent every single year on diet fades. “Eat this and avoid this, and you’ll have the body you’ve always dreamed about” is the biggest trick. Have you ever noticed that the diets that tend to have longevity to them are the ones who call for a healthy consumption of food throughout the day AND some form of exercise? It’s not rocket surgery.
Start with a good breakfast. No, don’t even start with the not enough time or you feel queezy in the morning. Start small and work your way up, but EAT breakfast. Later, around mid-morning, have a healthy snack of an apple or nuts. At lunch, plan ahead and have a good lunch. Do NOT grab something from the vending machine. Try, as best you can, to eat lunch at the same time everyday. Later, about mid-afternoon, you might want to grab another piece of fruit. A healthy, light dinner must be consumed at least a couple of hours before you go to bed. Daily exercise is crucial for blood flow, muscle tone, and cardiovascular benefits. Do what you like to do (cycling, CrossFit, aerobics, spin class, etc.), but walking around your neighborhood with your dog while listening to your iPod won’t cut it . . . unless you have been extremely sedentary for a while. Grab a group of friends or a single friend and keep each other accountable to stay active and healthy.
My diet (noun) is part of my lifestyle. I don’t diet (verb). Now, I’ve come to the point where I don’t think about it that much. Alarm bells do go off when horrible choices of food are presented, but that is part of making it a lifestyle. Eating is a part of life and breaking bad habits is hard. You will feel like crap (at first) mainly because the body wants what it wants when it’s been given fatty, greasy, or sugary foods for a long while. Try eating healthy six days a week, with one reward day of one “bad” thing. Eventually, that will even diminish to a very occasional day. Learn to live healthy and you WILL feel better and have more energy than you’ve ever had.
Oh, I almost forgot. STAY AWAY from soft drinks . . . I’ve got more coming on that later. No, I don’t care if it’s a diet soft drink. STAY A-W-A-Y.