For a long time, I played golf with the fellas every Sunday morning at courses in Lampasas, Copperas Cove, Temple, Georgetown, Austin, Round Rock, but most of the time at good ol’ Stonetree Golf Club in Killeen.
One of the guys working in the clubhouse there, who shall remain nameless, suddenly started losing a bunch of weight. He went from pretty chunky to really skinny in a fairly short amount of time, and I finally asked him one day what he was doing. He said the reason he was running out of holes in his belt was fairly simple: “If it comes out of a window, I don’t eat it,” he said.
In other words, no more fast-food.
I knew a guy once who had heart bypass surgery, and he said the doctor’s advice for avoiding a recurrence of life-threatening clogged arteries was this: “When you eat something, if it tastes good, spit it out.”
As we all know, there are a seemingly endless variety of sure-fire diet plans out there: low-carb, low-fat, high-fat, high-protein, portion control, vegetarian, vegan, raw foods, rabbit food. The list goes on. Equally abundant are theories on the best way to exercise: cardio or resistance training; cardio and resistance training; interval training; high-intensity training; low-intensity training.
There are also beaucoup opinions as to which is most important – diet or exercise. Some say, and I tend to agree, that what we eat is definitely number one on the list of importance for good health, with regular exercise coming in a close second.
When it comes to losing weight and getting in shape, one thing is certain – packing on the pounds is a lot easier than unpacking them. Especially as the years go by. My friend, Bubba, who remains incredibly lean and muscular at age 65, says his dietary regimen has always been simple: “I eat whatever I want. I just stop eating before I get full.”
Now, I have seen the guy down half a basket of onion rings, a salad, chicken-fried steak with extra gravy, mashed potatoes, and corn for lunch. The thing is, other than his usual yogurt and a banana for breakfast, that might be all he eats, all day long.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average adult American male is 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and just over 195 pounds. Throw those numbers into a BMI (body mass index) calculator, and this dude comes out listed as “overweight,” and fairly close to obese. Looking around at the general population these days, that unfortunately seems pretty accurate. The average woman, meanwhile, is 5 feet, 4 inches tall, 140-150 pounds, leaving her somewhere between the high end of “normal” weight, and the overweight column.
This year, I’ve lost about 30 pounds, and I haven’t done anything outrageous. I’ve been working out a lot more, and I practice something called intermittent fasting, which for me is basically a fancy way of saying I skip breakfast and don’t eat anything until 10 or 11 o’clock each day. When I eat, I try to keep it fairly “clean,” but I pretty much eat whatever, although I’ve cut way down on the tacos, burgers and chicken tenders with cream gravy, and continue battling my sugar addiction.
I go to the gym three or four times a week, lifting weights, doing plyometrics, core strengthening exercises, and I practice pole vaulting twice a week. It’s slow-going, but I’m getting better at it all the time – even qualified for this summer’s National Senior Games in Albuquerque. More about that in a future column.
So the big advice this week? As always, keep it simple. Go for walks. Join a gym. Pick up a sport you used to love.
Yoga is great, and believe it or not, can be a tough workout.
Get off the couch; get a little more active; watch what you eat.
Keep it simple.
Move more; eat less.
John Clark is a longtime central Texas resident, and a certified National Academy of Sports Medicine personal trainer with a specialty in senior fitness. His column appears each Friday, and readers are invited to send Questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on senior fitness, go to www.fossilfit.net.