My friend met a guy at the gym who told her he was once morbidly obese and lost the weight by eating mostly meat and now eats a pound of bacon per day. When my friend asked him about things like vegetables he declared that we can get by with almost none.
But someone who lost that much weight must know what he’s talking about, right?
First, everyone is unique.
I talked with a slim, vibrant 81-year-old last month who described her unhealthy habits (eating several Twinkies in one sitting) and said her two sisters, try as they might, struggle with being overweight. For her, it’s never been a problem. It’s like the pack-a-day smoker who eats bacon and eggs fried in butter every morning, considers a slip of iceberg lettuce on his burger to fulfill his daily veggie allotment, and lives to be a sprightly 98.
These folks are the exception, not the rule. Just ask the millions of people for whom those behaviors don’t work so well.
Second, weight loss – or being slim – doesn’t automatically equal good health. And while someone may appear healthy in his 20’s, like the pound-a-day bacon eater, most lifestyle diseases go unnoticed until we’re much older and start testing for them.
So, what are the best sources for information on nutrition and exercise? How much info is enough? Why do experts (I use that term loosely) disagree?
Google “how to be healthy” and you’ll have 548,000,000 sites vying for your attention. If only .0001% are useful, that’s still more than 500 sites to peruse. And even if you’re not actively searching for it, health is regularly mentioned in everyday life from cocktail parties to media outlets.
Really! More information isn’t making us healthier, just confused. Start with what you know to be good and true (like getting in fiber, staying hydrated and eating the “rainbow” to name a few). How are you doing on those things? How can you do better? What’s the next step you can take that will move you towards success?
The mass of data available tends to stop people from doing anything (because, what’s the right thing to do?) or has them jumping from one thing to the next, never realizing lasting results.
You likely start with a decent picture of nutrition, but maybe that picture gets fuzzy the more you seek the next thing that works. Truthfully, it’s less about new information and more about the head game. You know what I mean, right?
Start with what you know. Consider your specific situation. Find the support you need.
P.S.: You may be someone with a unique health situation who needs specifics from a health care practitioner. If so, it’s worth the investment. Know that most doctors receive little, if any, nutrition education in medical school. Gratefully some physicians make it a priority to educate themselves, but many don’t. If a nutrition consult with your doctor consists of a few general statements like eat “less carbs” or “low fat,” seek additional support.