Last year I weighed 220 pounds and was outgrowing 40 waist pants. I couldn’t do a single pull-up. I was 41 years-old, and I lived on a tight budget, so I couldn’t afford exercise equipment or dietary supplements. Today I am 42 years-old; my size 34 pants are loose on me because I weigh 175 pounds. And I can score well on the United States Marine Corps physical fitness test. My blood pressure and cholesterol have fallen into the excellent category.
How did I make such progress without a personal trainer, fancy exercise equipment, or expensive supplements? It’s all about knowledge and willpower. You can do it without breaking your budget, but you need to educate yourself and have discipline.
Your body didn’t come with an instruction manual. Unfortunately, marketing hype misinforms people. Disabuse yourself of the notion that the front of food packaging means anything; it’s all hype. All the important information is on the nutrition label found usually on the back or the side of a product. “Heart healthy” and “diet” marketing slogans don’t mean a thing when the nutrition label lists saturated fats, corn syrup, sugar, and other garbage among the packages’ ingredients. Read the nutrition label!
Read the nutrition label as if you had a fourth grade reading level. If a child in grade school cannot pronounce an ingredient, don’t eat it. If your brain can’t make sense of what an ingredient is, then your body probably can’t figure out what to do with that ingredient either. Yes, that’s a strong claim, and I’ll back it up!
The average adult can read “partially-hydrogenated oil,” but what does it mean? Your body is asking the same question. You know what olive oil is, and so does your body. Your body knows what to do with olive oil: use it to regenerate the interior lining of your arteries, or use it to create your body’s hormones. But your body does not know what to do with partially-hydrogenated oils, so your body just dumps it in lumps inside your arteries, and someday those lumps can rupture, causing a clot (heart attack or stroke).
Other examples include high fructose corn syrup and aspartame. Both are artificial substitutes for cane sugar, and both contribute to insulin resistance, which is why the diet soda drinkers gained more weight than the sugary soda drinkers in a double-blind study.
As a general rule, do not consume anything that you cannot pronounce or explain accurately to a kindergarten class. I gave up all processed carbohydrates. If a carbohydrate is not in the form presented by nature, then it’s man-made (processed). Bread, pasta, pastries, and sugars are examples of processed carbohydrates.
Examples of good, natural carbohydrates are oatmeal, wild rice, and any kind of bean. Beans and rice together make a complete protein, which is why beans and rice is a staple dish around the world and across cultures. Eat your vegetables!
Drinking water gets boring for me, so I make tea. I do not sweeten tea. I did not like unsweetened tea a year ago, so I gradually reduce the amount of sugar that I added to my daily half-gallon of tea. After about 3 months, I was using no sugar at all in tea, and now I prefer it without sugar. Sweetened tea tastes like syrup to me.
Your taste buds will change with your habits! I reduced the amount of salt I would add to my recipes until I was using no salt at all. Now anything with added salt is too salty for me. The taste of food without added sugar and salt might be repulsive to you now, but gradual reduction in your salt and sugar consumption will change your desire for salt and sugar. I loved cakes a year ago, but most cakes are too rich for me now. I enjoy grapes, apples, and berries of every kind as my treats now.
My food tastes good. I season my beans and rice with diced green peppers and onions. Prepared box mixes use a lot of salt to make the beans and rice mix taste better, but it’s not good for you that way. The American palate has become so ruined that it cannot enjoy natural healthful foods, but you can condition yourself to appreciate real (unprocessed) foods!
As a starting point, read the labels so you do not eat ingredients that you cannot pronounce or explain exactly what it is. Gradually reduce your consumption of sugar and salt, and within a few months you won’t need to add them to your foods. These are just the most basic steps, but they make a huge difference if you have the discipline.