If you’re a long time reader of my Newsletters, then you’re familiar with my stance on words such as, “diet”, “fad” and the emaciated, “skinny.” We all have trigger words that set us off, and are cause for correction, upon their auditory delivery.
As such, these words are here to say. Just taking a casual drive around Los Angeles, the senses are pummeled with boot camp signs proclaiming, “skip lunch and get skinny”, or the plastic surgery jumbo-tron imagery of the injected lips, air bagged busts, and sucked out waistlines.
Since these catchy ads are used to attract the attention of the masses and are the catalyst in moving billions annually in product, I arm others with the knowledge that, “lifestyle”, “long-term”, and, “lean”, are positive affirmations in regards to the war on words regarding fat loss and health, rather than the former. It is this word- reassignment, if you will, that reminds me that, like Oscar Schindler, “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” Or in this case, if I can enlighten one person in achieving their physique goals, I have indeed made a difference. (How I linked WW2 and myself metaphorically is beyond me.)
Although well into 2011, by now, many of us have lost, or at the very least, lessened the proverbial belt on our resolutions, including yours truly. Yes it’s true. I said it. Although the weekly allotment of resistance and cardio training has gone on steadily, what was mostly fueled by chicken breasts, asparagus and brown rice was seemingly, too often, replaced by varying fast food entities too graphic in nature to go into, within these hallowed pages.
While one could attribute the ill regard for nutritional sanity to colder weather, the economy or any number of excuses, the truth was quite frankly, a relationship on cruise control finally hit an iceberg. (A Titanic reference, too?) Alas, with the relationship now over and a heart that continues to heal, nothing motivates one more than going out into the field again feeling and looking their best.
It was this forced upon breakup and the confrontation of my high school bully, now reconciled these many years later, that have reignited my inner matrix. Sometimes, the best motivation comes from an unlikely source because life is too damn short for regrets. Not a day goes by that someone does not go out of his or her way to tell me the difference is striking! And I’ve only just begun…
Now you’re probably wondering how does this relate to you, the reader, as would I. You might even pontificate, “Sorry for your loss, but how does this help me get LEAN?”
Because with all of the Gurus, diets and books out there, many of which say the same thing, there exists, amongst us, as a populace too much confusion regarding how to properly get in and maintain decent shape for the long haul.
Schools certainly haven’t a clue. Remember the old food pyramid, which listed way too many high-glycemic carbohydrates at the bottom to supposedly support a healthy and lean way to fuel one’s day? Or how about the, “healthy”, lunches we were served? Soggy fries, square pizza or the ever-popular Sloppy Joes?
Proper nutrition, that starts early, can both stay, and serve one, well for a lifetime.
I am not a Doctor or Dietitian. What I am, however, is a top Los Angeles based Trainer, former Editor for 3 Fitness Magazines, Writer of eight feature length Movies, Creator of one television Pilot and the 1995 Teenage National Heavyweight Bodybuilding Champion and the purpose for this ongoing newsletter now, in its 35th rendition, is to debunk the varying, “diets”, currently engrossing Pop Culture and get all of us back onto track.
What follows is a list of 10 current and popular Diet Programs (in no particular order) widely used throughout the world. The list will include a brief synopsis of said Diet as well as its’ pros and cons, as I see them. Once again, I am not a Nutritionist, but rather a body specialist, whose job it is to bring bodies into condition.
ATKINS – low carb diet that uses largely proteins and fats in order to lose weight. PROS: People have lost a lot of weight on this diet; steaks and burgers are regular staple items. CONS: Not enough energy is provided in the form of carbohydrates, low in fiber, those who return to carbs usually gain all the weight they lost AND some.
ZONE – a diet that professes 40 % carbohydrate, 30 % protein and 30 % fat. PROS: Encourages eating small meals throughout the day with lots of fresh water. CONS: Limits the consumption of fiber and essential minerals and vitamins from lack of whole grains and starches, promotes food as a drug rather than for its splendor or aesthetics
VEGETARIAN – a diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and sometimes animal products such as milk, cheese and eggs. PROS: The user is following a healthy diet and lifestyle; being at lower risk for certain diseases including heart disease and a pride in knowing one is not included amongst animal eaters. CONS: The need to take certain vitamins and minerals that meats would otherwise provide, un-accommodating restaurants, cost factor.
VEGAN – a variant on the vegetarian lifestyle in which only plant foods are consumed. PROS: Diet is rich in fiber, protective characteristics against major chronic diseases. CONS: Eliminating dairy may impact in bone fractures; vitamin B12 deficiency can have many serious consequences.
SOUTH BEACH - a three phased diet that replaces bad carbs and bad fats with good carbs and good fats. PROS: Unlike other diets, which are low-carb in nature, the south beach focuses on the glycemic index for its carbs or GI for short, no counting or measuring just choices from certain “clean” lists. CONS: Very restrictive first phase, often categorized with many other fad or low-carb diets.
NUTRISYSTEM - individuals order pre-made meals from the, “NutriSystem” website that are specifically formulated, and proportioned, to provide the ideal number of calories, fat grams, fiber and protein for weight loss. PROS: Convenience of pre-packaged foods, constant revising of recipes. CONS: Costly, program is completely online, hence no meetings or human interaction.
SONOMA DIET - a derivation of the Mediterranean diet, consisting mainly of 10 items known as the, "Power foods". PROS: Simplicity, plate size is used for portion control, emphasis on eating slowly and savoring food. CONS: Low- calorie rigid diet, limits low-starch/high fiber vegetables due to volume.
JENNY CRAIG – program that combines individual weight management counseling with a menu of foods, which are distributed through its centers or shipped directly to clients. PROS: Pre-packaged foods control portion size, ease of usage, counseling. CONS: Cost, most of the foods are frozen, difficult to follow while traveling
GI DIET – The Glycemic Index, (GI), is a system that ranks foods based on how much they cause fluctuations in blood sugar. The GI system has spawned a GI diet that encourages those following it to eat foods with lower numbers. PROS: Blood sugar is beneficial for keeping the hunger signal in check, making it useful for weight loss and is easy to learn. CONS: Malnutrition risk if consuming only foods with low GI numbers, the glycemic index is significantly altered by the type of food, its’ ripeness, processing, the length of storage, cooking methods, and its variety.
WEIGHT WATCHERS – is based on the established principle that weight loss happens only when calories burned exceed those consumed. PROS: No foods are forbidden, encourages portion control. CONS: Cost may be a factor; lack of weekly progress may discourage you.
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