Thursday, February 7, 2013

Eat Smarter, Not Harder

I'd like to introduce a new paradigm in health and fitness: Eat Better, Move More.  [EBMM]

I get rather irked whenever people say that Eat Less, Move More [ELMM] doesn't work for weight loss.  It does.  They also say that it's not about Calories In Calories Out [CICO].  It is.  At least, it always has been for me.  Every time in the past 20 years that I have kept track of my calorie intake to ensure it didn't get out of control and maintained a consistent exercise regimen, I have lost weight, and I have maintained that weight loss.

This all started back in high school: my senior year I kept a food diary (for the entire year) and went for regular walks, took water aerobics for gym class, etc.  In college, the "freshman 15" was never an issue for me because the dining hall had a well-stocked salad bar and great vegetarian options, and the gym facilities on campus were great (weight room, dance studio, indoor and outdoor running tracks.)  Nowadays, I keep track of calories on one of the convenient websites ( and I'm fortunate enough to have a gym at work and dance classes twice a week.

Presumably, the reason that it has worked for me is because I realized that "eat less" doesn't mean "put yourself on starvation rations."  Back when I wasn't exercising as much as I do now, my weight loss intake was around 1700 to 1800 calories a day.  I couldn't imagine going on one of those diets--like you see in women's fitness magazines every month--that takes you down to 1200 or 1400 calories a day.  At 5' 7" tall, that's like the food supply in a concentration camp.  Nowadays, since I'm actively trying to build muscle, my calorie intake is more like 2000 to 2100.  That's a very reasonable amount of food.

We can all agree on certain things.  Exercise is good--our bodies were not designed to be stationary all day.  Junk food--processed food high in calories and low in nutrients--is not good for you.  If you eat too few calories, your body will respond by assuming that there's a famine, and slow down your metabolism.

The intent of Eat Better, Move More is to demonstrate that one can consume a healthy, natural, filling diet with a reasonable caloric intake while enjoying pleasurable, dynamic physical activity.  What real foods do you like?  Eat them!  They'll provide calories in the form of protein, carbohydrates, and fat; plus all kinds of micronutrients like Vitamin B12 and potassium.  What sorts of physical activities do you like?  Do them!  Whether you're lifting weights, or walking at sunset, or playing baseball, it'll give your muscles some reason for being, lift up your mood, and maybe even strengthen your bones.

What do you think about the concept of EBMM?

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