It’s Diet Season Again – American Thinker

The holidays are over, and it’s time to shed those extra pounds.  Marie lost the weight, and you can, too, or your money back.  The same with other diet plans, all guaranteed to work – only for most people, the weight comes back.  But there is, I believe, one approach that does work.  Eat well, exercise, and limit eating to an eight- or nine-hour window each day.  It’s a conservative, commonsense approach to diet and exercise based on self-control and moderation.

Two thirds of American adults are now overweight, and nearly 40% are obese.  Most who are overweight find it difficult to lose weight and especially difficult to keep it off, despite spending an estimated $60 billion on diet plans every year.  It’s clear that these popular diets are not working, since Americans en masse continue to get heavier every year.  For myself, I’ve discovered a simple, effective, and cost-free approach that actually works.

Part of this approach is to engage in periods of intermittent fasting.

Some find intermittent fasting, as it’s called, difficult because they are afraid of hunger.  Actually, they might be better off, in most but not all cases, accepting at least brief periods of hunger in return for lower weight and better health.  Important: Anyone attempting fasting of any kind should discuss the matter with a physician before attempting to do so.  Fasting of any sort can be dangerous for some individuals.

Dr. Valter Longo of the University of Southern California has spent his career studying both extended and intermittent fasting.  According to Dr. Longo, simply by avoiding food for a period of about 16 hours daily, one can enjoy benefits similar to those associated with longer periods of fasting.

In addition to intermittent fasting, there are other lifestyle changes I have found beneficial.  These include regular exercise and a low-fat vegan diet.

Early in the film Lawrence of Arabia, there’s a marvelous scene in which Lt. Lawrence snuffs out a match with his bare fingers.  A dull young corporal attempts the same thing and experiences pain.  “Ow!  That hurts.  What’s the trick?” he asks.  “The trick,” Lawrence replies, “is not minding that it hurts.”

It’s the same with going to a vegan diet that includes intermittent fasting and daily exercise.  After a few days, one doesn’t mind its hurting.  Eventually, one realizes that it doesn’t hurt at all.  

OK, it does hurt just a bit, especially in the evening, when hunger tends to peak in humans, but our society’s failure to control weight is not primarily the result of a lack of discipline.  It results, I believe, from a lack of knowledge.  Fresh vegetables have more complexity and richness of taste than a Whopper and fries or other fast-food choice.  When I realized that it was true, I changed my diet.  Knowledge is power.

Few who are regularly eating a beautiful vegetable stew or vegetable curry will have a taste for nuggets, pizza, burgers, shakes, or fries.  The rich and complex taste of fruit, oatmeal, and whole grain bread make a better breakfast than the popular sugary treats that many favor.  A bean burrito with salad makes a tasty lunch.  The possibilities of smoothies are endless.

I eat this way, and I try to eat only within an eight- or nine-hour window.  I don’t count calories or weigh daily, or even monthly, but I maintain a healthy weight, and I feel strong and alert, even in my eighth decade.  It’s a way of life based on knowledge and self-discipline.

I don’t obsess over diet or exercise, but I am strict in what I eat because health is important to me.  I pass the many aisles of unhealthy foods, stopping only for fruits and vegetables, soymilk, rice and beans, whole grain bread, and tofu.  Along with that, I go for spices from an Indian grocery and online supplements.  Tonight, it’s cauliflower Thai curry with brown rice.

Sometimes I do feel a bit alone in my habits and sad knowing that so many are harming themselves.  Still, unless they ask, I don’t share my opinions with them.  They’re adults, and the knowledge is out there.  That is a core tenet of conservativism: every person is at liberty to choose for himself, even if those choices are questionable.  All those laws against 36-oz. sugary drinks are ridiculous.  Is there anyone who needs to be told that a 36-oz. Coke, with 117 grams or about 28 teaspoons of sugar, might not be the healthiest choice?  People are choosing what they like, and they have every right to do so.

I offer you a description of my way of life – not as medical advice, but as a description of what works for me.  I eat vegan and low fat, within a limited timeframe each day, and exercise about 20 minutes a day.  That’s it.  No meal plans, no power shakes, no meetings, no daily weigh-in.  It works for me, and it tastes and feels better.

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).

The holidays are over, and it’s time to shed those extra pounds.  Marie lost the weight, and you can, too, or your money back.  The same with other diet plans, all guaranteed to work – only for most people, the weight comes back.  But there is, I believe, one approach that does work.  Eat well, exercise, and limit eating to an eight- or nine-hour window each day.  It’s a conservative, commonsense approach to diet and exercise based on self-control and moderation.

Two thirds of American adults are now overweight, and nearly 40% are obese.  Most who are overweight find it difficult to lose weight and especially difficult to keep it off, despite spending an estimated $60 billion on diet plans every year.  It’s clear that these popular diets are not working, since Americans en masse continue to get heavier every year.  For myself, I’ve discovered a simple, effective, and cost-free approach that actually works.

Part of this approach is to engage in periods of intermittent fasting.

Some find intermittent fasting, as it’s called, difficult because they are afraid of hunger.  Actually, they might be better off, in most but not all cases, accepting at least brief periods of hunger in return for lower weight and better health.  Important: Anyone attempting fasting of any kind should discuss the matter with a physician before attempting to do so.  Fasting of any sort can be dangerous for some individuals.

Dr. Valter Longo of the University of Southern California has spent his career studying both extended and intermittent fasting.  According to Dr. Longo, simply by avoiding food for a period of about 16 hours daily, one can enjoy benefits similar to those associated with longer periods of fasting.

In addition to intermittent fasting, there are other lifestyle changes I have found beneficial.  These include regular exercise and a low-fat vegan diet.

Early in the film Lawrence of Arabia, there’s a marvelous scene in which Lt. Lawrence snuffs out a match with his bare fingers.  A dull young corporal attempts the same thing and experiences pain.  “Ow!  That hurts.  What’s the trick?” he asks.  “The trick,” Lawrence replies, “is not minding that it hurts.”

It’s the same with going to a vegan diet that includes intermittent fasting and daily exercise.  After a few days, one doesn’t mind its hurting.  Eventually, one realizes that it doesn’t hurt at all.  

OK, it does hurt just a bit, especially in the evening, when hunger tends to peak in humans, but our society’s failure to control weight is not primarily the result of a lack of discipline.  It results, I believe, from a lack of knowledge.  Fresh vegetables have more complexity and richness of taste than a Whopper and fries or other fast-food choice.  When I realized that it was true, I changed my diet.  Knowledge is power.

Few who are regularly eating a beautiful vegetable stew or vegetable curry will have a taste for nuggets, pizza, burgers, shakes, or fries.  The rich and complex taste of fruit, oatmeal, and whole grain bread make a better breakfast than the popular sugary treats that many favor.  A bean burrito with salad makes a tasty lunch.  The possibilities of smoothies are endless.

I eat this way, and I try to eat only within an eight- or nine-hour window.  I don’t count calories or weigh daily, or even monthly, but I maintain a healthy weight, and I feel strong and alert, even in my eighth decade.  It’s a way of life based on knowledge and self-discipline.

I don’t obsess over diet or exercise, but I am strict in what I eat because health is important to me.  I pass the many aisles of unhealthy foods, stopping only for fruits and vegetables, soymilk, rice and beans, whole grain bread, and tofu.  Along with that, I go for spices from an Indian grocery and online supplements.  Tonight, it’s cauliflower Thai curry with brown rice.

Sometimes I do feel a bit alone in my habits and sad knowing that so many are harming themselves.  Still, unless they ask, I don’t share my opinions with them.  They’re adults, and the knowledge is out there.  That is a core tenet of conservativism: every person is at liberty to choose for himself, even if those choices are questionable.  All those laws against 36-oz. sugary drinks are ridiculous.  Is there anyone who needs to be told that a 36-oz. Coke, with 117 grams or about 28 teaspoons of sugar, might not be the healthiest choice?  People are choosing what they like, and they have every right to do so.

I offer you a description of my way of life – not as medical advice, but as a description of what works for me.  I eat vegan and low fat, within a limited timeframe each day, and exercise about 20 minutes a day.  That’s it.  No meal plans, no power shakes, no meetings, no daily weigh-in.  It works for me, and it tastes and feels better.

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).

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