Of course, we don’t just want to lose weight. There’s the hell of the Metabolic Syndrome, also known as Syndrome X, where you’ve got insulin resistance, and consequently high blood sugar, high levels of abdominal fat, high blood pressure, low HDL (the good one — you don’t want this to be lowl), high triglycerides, and high uric acid levels — just everything basically going to hell in a handcart, and about as ready as you can be for heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, gout, dementia, blindness, and liver failure.
What shall we do? Cut down on fats and protein? Careful, that can increase insulin production and promote heart disease.
Perhaps we’ll eat fewer carbohydrates, and more protein and fat? Well, except that if you’re eating a lot of saturated fats, you’ll promote heart disease. President Clinton lost a whole lot of weight on a low-carb diet in 2004, and then had to go in for bypass surgery, if I remember the story right.
Low-fat diets can work, if you’re actually getting a lot of your calories from healthy vegetables, and not stuffing yourself with a lot of high-caloric-density “white foods” like sugar, white flour, white bread, white pasta, and white rice.
Low-carb diets can work, if you’re eating a lot of fish, especially salmon or other fish high in healthful Omega-3 fatty acids, or if you’re eating grass-fed beef, rather than corn-fed beef (the former having relatively more Omega-3 than the latter). But most of us eat the cheaper corn-fed beef, extra high in saturated fat, yum.
But in the end, deprivation diets, in my experience, have led to relapse and rebound. I want to be able to have the occasional slice of pizza, and mug of beer (because pizza and beer are delicious).
Well, but what will work? Exercise.
Exercise builds muscle and burns calories, which lowers weight, which directly correlates with reduction in blood pressure, reduction in blood glucose, and an increase in HDL (good cholesterol).
In the last few weeks, I’ve been exercising about 1,000 calories a day, which, all other things being equal, would clobber about 100 pounds a year. It takes about two hours a day, but is much better than an early death, as far as I’m concerned.
I’ve worked up to it gradually over 13 weeks, and I’ve got an exercise buddy (Industry Figure Larry Helmerich, who is a grandfather, by the way), which really, really helps.
And plus, since I only want to lose at most a pound a week, I’m in the enviable position of trying to find several hundred calories a day of delicious food to eat, so that I don’t lose weight too quickly. Ha! It’s a great life.
If you’re pretty far behind, you might want to exercise a lot more — with a buddy!