“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.” ~ B. Frankel
I have struggled with my weight for my entire life. The only time I was lean was briefly when I was four and later when I was taking ribavirin. I am one of those people who gains weight just looking at a high-calorie food. Fortunately I am tall and active, which has kept me from tipping the scales into the danger zone.
It’s getting harder to lose weight now that I am in my AARP years. I eat a healthy diet, but too often I consume more than I burn. My metabolism has slowed down, and I can’t eat the volume I used to. And although I am active, I am not pounding the pavement like I did in my younger years.
When it comes to weight, calories matter. There are all sorts of beliefs that when it comes to weight loss, your diet matters more than how much you eat. No research has definitively supported this. It comes down to a math problem: If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight; if you consume less calories than you burn, you will lose weight.
This is not to say that we should disregard the quality of those calories. If my total food intake for the day consisted of an ounce of Doritos, I’d lose weight. However, I’d be much better off with an ounce of almonds than what amounts to eleven chips of pseudo-food. But overall, whether you are choosing Dean Ornish’s Spectrum, a Mediterranean, or a Paleo diet, the best weight loss plan is the one you can stick to.
Someone once told me that the secret to health and weight loss is that once you have discovered what works for you, to practice it consistently over a long period of time. That’s the rub for me. I can stick to my simple, healthy diet when I am at home. Once vacation time rolls around, my mouth says, “Bacon tastes much better than yogurt.” Or, “You can have a kale salad at home; why not eat a burger?”
The problem is, once I say yes to the burger, the fries are going to slip in. The bigger problem is that if I head down that path, I am ignoring the consequences: weight gain, increased heart and stroke risk, chances of fatty liver disease, and other health complications. What I really need to say is that as good as bacon may taste, it doesn’t stack up to how good feeling healthy feels.
Summer vacation is around the corner, so I thought it would be a good time to check in with some of my favorite sites. Here are some worth sharing: