Eat less, exercise more? I beg to differ

Eat less, exercise more? I beg to differ

It’s constantly drummed into us that the only way to be lean and healthy is to eat less and exercise more. Well I don’t agree. I think we should be eating more and exercising less.

Let me explain.

For a start, I certainly believe that the main cause of weight gain comes down to calories in versus calories out. But you don’t have to eat less and exercise more in order to consume less calories and burn more calories.

In fact I eat more food, in volume, than I ever used to when I was eating a standard Western diet. Yet I’m consuming less calories.

This is simply because a traditional Mediterranean or Asian meal is typically based around vegetables, grains, beans, fruit, fish and poultry — foods that are bulky and filling, but low to moderate in calories. The more calorie-rich foods I enjoy — like olive oil, nuts and cheese — are more than counter-balanced by these lower calorie foods, so overall my meals are generally only moderate in calories.

That’s how Trudy and I stay lean while eating substantial amounts of delicious food.

When it comes to exercise, I’ve got this to say: If you enjoy doing it, keep it up — but if you don’t, give it up. Remember this simple fact — there are now more fitness centers and exercise gadgets than ever before in history, yet we’re the fattest and least fit we’ve ever been in history.

This dramatically demonstrates that exercising doesn’t work for the majority of people. Yes, it will work as long as you keep it up, but most of us don’t bother. And I can understand why, because it’s a lot of hard work!

A far better approach is simply to be more active as part of your everyday life. That’s how Mediterranean and Asian peoples have got their “exercise” for the last few thousand years. It’s also how Trudy and I get ours.

There are lots of fun ways to incorporate more calorie-burning movement into your life including: throwing around a Frisbee or football at the park or in your backyard; going for a scenic walk or cycle, walking around art galleries or museums; playing with the kids or your dog; dancing (take up lessons or simply dance around the house to your favorite CD); flying a kite; playing golf; making love; and even window shopping.

It’s also easy to slip movement unobtrusively into your daily life by doing things like: taking the stairs instead of the elevator; gardening; walking to your local store for convenience items; and cleaning your car by hand.