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Adventures in Retirement – Moderation in a world of extremes

Written by Bill Leavitt. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on December 24, 2014 with No Comments

“Every doctor will agree that a gradual weight loss of just a few pounds a month over a long period of time is healthier.” --Bill Leavitt

Newspapers, TV and the Internet are constantly bombarding us about the nation’s health.

We read that a huge percentage of the population is obese, that we eat unhealthy foods, and that we don’t get enough exercise.  There are dozens, if not hundreds of diets that tell us that we’ll lose 20 pounds a month or more if we buy their plan.  We are told not to eat butter, or salt, or sugar, or trans fats (whatever that is).

What is wrong with society and what should we do about it?  Do we change the eating habits we have developed over the past decades?  Should we be concerned about how being overweight will affect our health?

About 15 years ago, a doctor told my wife and I that we were overweight and well on the way to becoming obese.  He gave us a list of foods to avoid, and even suggested that we become vegetarians.  We took the doctor seriously and began looking at diets, and considered how our current habits were affecting our health and weight.  Ultimately, we decided against radical changes to our diet.

It is not overly simplistic to suggest that weight and health are controlled by two simple things:  how much we eat and how much we exercise.

To lose weight, you simply eat less or exercise more.  Eating less, of course, means you are consuming fewer calories and your weight is reduced.  Exercise burns calories, so that means you can eat more without gaining weight.  Finding the proper combination that helps you lose weight and gain fitness requires trial and error on your part.

However, you shouldn’t expect to lose 20 pounds a month.  Every doctor will agree that a gradual weight loss of just a few pounds a month over a long period of time is healthier.  If you are not losing weight, reduce your intake of calories or do more exercise or do both.

There is some truth to the notion that you should avoid unhealthy foods.  Certainly sugars and fried foods are not especially good for you.  However, consider this:  When I was a child I ate plenty of butter, whole milk, lard, ice cream, etc.  However, I also ate plenty of vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods.  I exercised every day—often from dawn to dusk.  Most of my friends and I were healthy and fit.

So here is our health regimen now:  We exercise moderately every day.  We eat smaller meals, but we eat things that taste good.  That sometimes includes butter or fat or other “unhealthy” foods.  Some foods, like steak, have become an occasional treat, rather than a regular staple.

The result is that I feel good, I am physically fit, and I am a few pounds under my ideal weight.  My wife is also fit and close to her ideal weight, too.  The key is MODERATE.  Eat moderately, exercise moderately.  You can be healthy and fit without feeling that you are sacrificing your enjoyment of life.

 

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About Bill Leavitt

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bill Leavitt is a technical writer from Valparaiso. After retiring from a large corporation in Chicago, he did technical writing consulting for many companies. He currently teaches part-time at Purdue University Calumet. You can order Leavitt’s book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by sending $16.65 (includes shipping and sales tax) made payable to Write On Technical Writing, Inc., P.O. Box 132,Valparaiso, IN 46384-0132. Or, visit RetirementLifesGreatestAdventure.com for more information.

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