My wife, Elaine, and I—along with tens of thousands of others we’ve helped throughout these seven decades-plus of fitness—are living proof that a healthy diet is the backbone of any fitness regimen. When I first met Elaine, 27 at the time, she was a junkfood junkie, a cigarette smoker, and an addict hooked on chocolate doughnuts and jelly Danishes. She paid little attension to my warnings that tomorrow she’d be wearing the foods she ate today. Until one day, she noticed that certaint body parts were sagging. Not long after that, she realized tobacco was sapping her energy. So Elaine woke up and decided to take charge of her health. She joined my fitness class, quit smoking, and broiled the foods she used to fry, and cut white sugar and flour products from her diet. In one month she Reproportioned her body. Her skin became smoother and tighter. Even her vision became more acute, because smoking had been constricting the blood vessels in her eyes. Elaine had become a convert
You too can step away from the throngs who overeat and overindulge. Eating properly isn’t that difficult, espycoaly if you consider the consequences of eating poorly. Remember what happens if you put water in the gas tank of your car? The machine won’t run. The same concept applies to the human machine, your body. If you put the wrong fuels into it, the fuel lines—your blood vessels—will clog, and the body won’t run. Another analogy: You wouldn’t wake up your dog in the morning and give him a cup of coffee, a cigarette, and a donut. That would kill the dog!
Forget the “Diet”
Our bodies truly are remarkable. Our cells have the ability to replace themselves every 90 days, so it makes sense that what you put in your mouth today will show itself later. It’s like planting a garden. What you sow today, you’ll reap tomorrow.
Moderation is an essential step to a physically fit way of life. We’re not talking about a “diet” like those in-and-out fads we all hear about. As Art learned and profited from, this is a way of life that’s neither temporary nor unnatural. It’s a new way of thinking about your life and your body. Let’s analyze the word diet. What does it mean to you? Is it what you eat every day? Or does it mean hunger, calories, a temporary state, or regimented eating?
The first thought that comes into my mind when I hear the word diet is temporary. Most people who go on a diet end up going off and on and off and on. They lose weight, gain weight, lose weight, and gain weight. It’s a vicious cycle that accomplishes little and isn’t particularly healthy either.
It’s easy to compare the house that is our body with an actual home. If a house is neglected and poorly maintained, throughout the years it deteriorates and ceases to function properly. The plumbing breaks down, the foundation starts to collapse, the central heating system goes haywire, and the exterior needs to be repainted. In other words, the house is a wreck, and looks old and dilapidated.
The Details of Rebuilding
A damaged building isn’t rebuilt without first having a plan. It’s the same with rebuilding your body. Lay out and then write down a plan. Decide what you will eat and when, and then keep a record of it all. Not only will writing down your plan reinforce your commitment, but it will also show you concrete and achievable goals. Those nutritional achievements, in turn, (as with financial achievements) will reinforce your positive approach to this new way of life.
Let’s take a closer look at the elements of your plan. Fruits and vegetables. Your plan should include a sensible diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep the internal plumbing system (bowels, bladder, arteryies, veins, and more) working properly. Leading health authirties Recommend that you eat a least five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, along with a variety of other foods. Include fruits and vegetables high in vitamins A and C (see the vitamin list later in this chapter), such as bananas, avocados, carrots, cabbage, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, apples, oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, grapes, and berries.
Following is a list of the three kinds of fat and what they will do for you. Z
Polyunsaturated: This is a harmless group, and can even have beneficial side effects such as possibly lowering a person’s
Cholesterol level. These oils include safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, sesame oil, sunflower oils, and most margarine. Z
Monounsaturated: Another “safe” fat, these include olive oil, canola (rape-seed) oil, and peanut oils. Z
Saturates:These are troublesome, and include coconut oil, palm kernel and palm oils, and hydrogenated oils. Beyond vegetable oils, whole milk dairy products, butter, lard, and other animal products also are included in this group.
Vitamins and Antioxidants. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements is an insurance policy for your diet. Even if you eat healthy foods in their natural state, you.
Everyone talks about vitamins, but minerals are equally important to our general health, growth, and body maintenance. Our bodies don’t manufacture minerals, so we must acquire them from the environment. Keep in mind that trace elements such as zinc and chromium are reduced when grains are refined. Also, if the soil a food is grown in is depleted in a particular mineral, the food grown will be deficient too. Be careful when taking minerals. Ingesting large amounts of some minerals can lead to deficiencies in otherrs, as well as other problems. Sodium (as in common salt) and potassium regulate the body’s water balance. Too much sodium depletes potassium and can throw off the balance. This can result in high blood pressure and water retention.