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    Posted June 19, 2010 by
    Boynton Beach, Florida

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    Diets, Exercise and the Culture’s Conflicting Message


    Week 12 is about to begin. At age 58, the weight comes off steadily if slowly. 23 pounds. 30-45 minutes of exercise at a gym, maybe five days a week. It’s a self-styled diet:

    Breakfast: yogurt or cottage cheese and fruit or Total (yuk). You can get it down if you add blueberries or sliced banana. V-8 juice. No orange juice (high in calories and sugar). Ruby red grapefruit would be nice but I take a medication which prohibits it. I find that plain oatmeal tastes pretty disgusting. Coffee with a dash of reduced fat milk and half a teaspoon of sugar.

    Lunch: a veggie wrap or salad. Maybe soup. Not both.

    Dinner: It’s all about reducing the portions. Bread, cheese, and potatoes are off the menu. Pasta once a week. No soda, not even diet colas. Water, Diet green tea, maybe an occasional diet ginger ale make up the beverages. Hot broth at 5 calories is a harmless snack.

    80-90% reduction in alcohol consumption. A little wine, a little scotch on the weekend. Absolutely no beer.

    Side-effects: I think I feel hungry much of the day. Maybe it’s psychological. Often light-headed.

    The results don’t seem to match the effort. Why go through this? Do I feel better now? Sometimes, yes; sometimes I feel worse. Vanity? At the outset I could barely fasten my size 38s. That seems to be the main thing. This is the second time in my life I’ve had to battle a weight problem. I don’t expect any miraculous improvements in my general health as is suggested by the advertised weight loss plans and exercise programs.  A while back, I ordered two sample Nutrisystems meals. Absolutely horrid. If you want to go that route, Weight Watchers Smart Ones in your grocer’s freezer taste better and cost way less.

    Enough about me. Our national landscape reflects conflicting messages regarding obesity, though there is general agreement that there is an obesity epidemic. “Sandwiched” in between TV commercials for Bowflex and Nutrisystems is the Denny’s Grand Slam. Business at the fast food joints is brisk. Part of the reason is economics. Ever notice the line of cars in the drive-through? People would rather wait 15 minutes in the car than park and walk inside. If we think we have an obesity epidemic, wait for the coming diabetes epidemic. The health care bill will probably be repealed and people in general will have less access and care than before it was enacted. We are a nation of consumers. And greasy, fatty food tastes the best. The hows and whys of weight loss vary. Remember, the process is a marathon not a sprint. And there are no substitutions for will power.

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