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YoYo Dieting

I remember the yoyo was a neat toy when I was a kid, though I became bored with it quickly. I never envied my friends that could make it walk the line, do the deep sleep or travel around the world. Didn't they have something better to do? My spinner cracked and came apart from high-velocity, ground-zero impact and the string knotted and frayed from failed loopty-loop tricks. The yoyo, come to think of it, was a real pain in the glutes.

Today we hear the word yoyo in reference to the copious fad diets that are failed, boring and not at all to be envied. They too are knotted, cracked and frayed. Do you find yourself practicing the eating schemes that appear in the snappy magazines at every checkout stand in town? I don't blame you; who doesn't want a flat tummy and tight buns the easy way? Why don't they work... any of them... ever?

Okay. Some work, sometime. Mostly fad diets don't because of the following reasons, which I will invent as we go along:

  • The dieter is a hopeful and trusting individual who is quick to throw his or her innocence off the nutritional cliff. Disappointment beats him up and he breaks into a hundred pieces when he lands on the rocks below. The weight loss was achieved and grasped for almost twenty-four hours before the dehydrated and half-starved body and the emotionally derailed personality fought its way back to its familiar and comfortable ground. Nobody prepared the good folks for the temporary nature of their charming loss of weight. They experience defeat and are cut deep. The yoyo begins its never-ending motion.

  • The groping individual is very well invested in the overweight condition and a quick-fix fad diet is not sufficient in style or approach for serious weight loss. The recommendations are cute and mild — Band-Aids for a bleeding wound — but metabolic changes are necessary and more advanced strategies need be designed and implemented. Bigger guns must be requisitioned.

  • The menu offered is food to serve the fledgling dieter who is tiptoeing through the day with a minimum of activity. The calories have been reduced to a number just above basal metabolic requirements (the number of calories to produce enough energy to breathe and keep the heart beating) and suggest nothing of exercise beyond minor typical daily activity. Nothing in the way of muscle building is encouraged.

  • The more aggressive diets that include exercise suggest the classic aerobics that improve the cardio-respiratory system, heighten the metabolism and add luster to the participant. Aerobics alone do little to build muscle and, too often, interfere with healthy muscular development.

  • Diets suggesting too few calories can cause low blood sugar and the symptoms that accompany hypoglycemia: sluggishness, drowsiness, irritability, jitters and the more serious condition of fainting. The body operating on excessively low calories runs the risk of shifting into a starvation mode where calories are hoarded to preserve the system and stored as fat. Not what the dieter had in mind.

  • The diets that are applauded and revered by the heart, cancer and diabetic associations are very nicely balanced but somewhat upside-down for anyone who would like to do a little more than walk about and do their daily thing. We need to be more physical and we need more protein and less sugar to accommodate the muscle-demanding activity.

The profile of society changes as knowledge and understanding grows. It also shifts with politics, economy and the invasion of devious thinking. Pause and look around. Sometimes it appears that too few are doing just that. The child's game "Follow the Leader" can be as tedious as the silly yoyo.

I'm no rawhide cowboy but where have all the physical people gone? Has it always been that whatever we are told we believe? There are some archaic notions disguised as fact, especially in the area of nutrition. Researchers are frowning on sugar, embracing protein and admit that fat is not the slippery monster it was once thought to be. There are lies disguised as fact, as well: Beware of fast food.

Keep your eyes and ears open. Truths and revelations in the area of nutrition and exercise are forthcoming.

  • "Diet" suggests a relatively short-term menu plan adopted to establish or re-establish a healthy weight from which we can resume our misguided eating habits. The assumption is that fixing the number of pounds we read on the scale also fixes the body and its distressed system that has responded to overeating the wrong foods over an extended period of time.

The word "diet" originally comes from the Greek word "diaita," which means "manner of living." Balancing protein, carbohydrates and fats along with the quality of the foods we eat comprise only a part of the whole. Much more needs to be added to the "manner of living" to make the picture complete. Restoring and maintaining the health of the system is a gradual, long-term process that requires time, a lifetime of time.

Fad diets match the slow-to-commit nature of mankind today. Something faster and easier is right around the corner... honest... and at half the price.

Do you realize that the things of which we speak — health, strength, muscle and fitness — you can attain?

Do you realize that you cannot attain them without hard work and perseverance? Hard work and perseverance define success. No good thing is accomplished without them.

Could I bestow you with gifts, you would need no others than hard work and perseverance. They are the Crown Jewels.

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