When people ask me how I got back in shape so quickly, I always tell them that it is easy. All you need to do is ERF.
Eat Real Food. It is that simple. No reason to over think it. Eating real food is the most important thing, even more valuable than exercise.
So the next logical question, what is real food?
To me real food means nothing overly processed or with lots of ingredients. Think of anything packaged, breaded chicken, spaghetti, bread, cereal or anything like that.
Their next response is usually something like “oh, so you eat low-carb?” Or “oh, so you eat Atkins?”
Ugh… I hate when I hear that. No, I eat real food, not low carb.
Now do not get me wrong, I have no problem with low carb as a weight loss technique, it works for most obese people. From 2001-2006 I did Atkins and low-carb. It works, and I did it for a long time so you can stay on it for a long time.
Carbs are not the enemy
There are a few significant differences between low-carb and eating real food. First I never count carbs. Carbs, the right kind of carbs, are not bad and are an excellent source of fuel if you work out or run. I will always get my carbs from natural whole foods like fruit. Your body is designed to run on carbs, but it is designed to do so on natural carbs that are found in fruits and vegetables? When I say fruit, I mean whole fruit, not fruit juices , which is basically just taking the good tasting sweet sugar out of fruit and throwing the good stuff away.
My problem with Atkins
Again, in general I do not have an issue with Atkins. Their philosophy is sound, but I have an issue with a few things they do. You can do much worse, that is for sure.
When you are on Atkins, most fruit outside of berries are greatly discouraged. I love bananas, but let’s be honest, bananas are not exactly a low-carb food. They are however real food. I love sweet potatoes, but again see previous.
I have a much bigger issue with Atkins and these other diets though that truly irks me. I feel like they created their own rules just to sell you their processed crap. It seems that the main reason some diets exist is so they can hawk processed crap with an ingredients list longer than my 8-year olds Christmas list.
But it is low-carb, right? Sure it is, but if it took machines to make the ingredients and the ingredients are things you cannot pronounce (see most Atkins low-carb bars), then I do not consider that real food and we should not be putting that processed garbage into our bodies.
What about Paleo?
Now we are getting closer. I love that the Paleo movement is catching on, I just wish they did not call it the Paleo movement. You are never going to win over the general population by talking about eating like cavemen ate.
Now I understand what they are saying. If you were to take the history of us on Earth and put it on a football field, from one endzone all the way down to about 95 yards later would represent our diet before we started harvesting wheat for bread. That was when we ate “real food.” Our bodies are accustomed and used to that diet, even if we personally have never lived that way. When a species does something for 95% of their existence, the body becomes accustomed to that way of life.
Even the Paleo diet has some quirks I don’t agree with. No dairy?
What works for me
What works for me is again simple. I eat real food. My one exception to the rule is probably wine and low-carb beer, but even my consumption of that is way off over the last few months.
So want to know how to get back in shape and see your toes again? Eat real food, you will not be sad you did. I will have a post coming up shortly on what my basic shopping list looks like and how much variety I get from just a few items.