The new food pyramid came out. Well, it doesn’t really look like a food pyramid anymore. They’ve successfully weaned us completely off the building block design I grew up with, eliminating sweets, fats and sugars from what I’m supposed to eat at all. But who are we kidding? It’s some of the cheapest energy available and has kept Americans kicking butt since we used them for soldiers in the World Wars. Even today they try to ship chocolate to the soldiers in the Middle East, but temperature has been a bit of a limiting factor and I’ve heard the chocolate that can survive that is not really worth eating.
The link I gave you above to the food pyramid comes from a friend’s blog. She gave some interesting input on it and I found it more helpful than the still currently limited information on the USDA blog. I have this sinking feeling that I blogged just last year on a new food pyramid and they probably just finished creating that website, so we’re in for a bit of a wait as they tell us over again how to eat and how to not get as fat as we are. But as time goes on, I’m seeing more that it’s not just how much we eat, it’s how much we do. And I found it ironic that they decided to suggest drinking fat free milk even though the fat provided in milk is much better for people than other fat they could intake. Milk is so great for you, there’s no reason why 1% or 2% milk isn’t just fine. Just remember to limit your fat intake somewhere else.
I didn’t gain weight when I ate a lot, I gained weight when I ate more than I was burning in daily exercise and work. I lose weight when I do physical labor and play sports, regardless of how much I eat or drink during that time. Sure, how much I eat or drink might limit how much weight I lose, but I lose weight. Amanda and I are in the process of tracking our weight change versus how much we walk and I can tell you that already the graphs are pretty interesting for me. I’ve learned a lot about my exercise levels and how much I really do or don’t walk on a given day and I’ll give you 2 fun facts I picked up the past couple weeks. First, stairs at work instead of the elevator isn’t gonna do it unless you work at the Sears Tower. Second, I need to ditch the desk work. Unfortunately neither of these are helpful in my situation so I’ll keep walking as much as I can and limiting unnecessary food intake.
And that’s what really important out of all this. We don’t all have a ton of time to go exercise and be super athletes. I hate lifting, my wife hates running, and our dog can’t go swimming with us. But all of us can find ways to be active, and we can avoid intaking large quantities of food. If you want a health food diet just eat healthy quantities for starters. People who pack themselves full of fiber material such as lettuce just to limit their intake or who starve themselves to limit calories are most likely not enjoying their weight loss strategies for various reasons. And our bodies are designed to be efficient. If your intake balance shifts, your body will find a way to capture as much as possible from what you provide it – that’s just a fact of life and something those of us who work with food animals are acutely aware of. Just like humans, animals adjust to different energy sources or quantities and their bodies naturally do what is efficient. Our problem is that we’re smart enough to provide ourselves more food than we need and then our body is too efficient. We eat too much and then our body stores too much and we get fatter. And we don’t exercise.
The food pyramid provides a great guideline for balancing your meals, but we need to limit how much balanced food we eat. And then we need to get outside and be active.