Like most North Americans, I’m sure I could probably stand to lose a few pounds. But I think overall I’m pretty healthy and over the years have struck a pretty good balance of eating right and exercising effectively. These crazy workout schemes and rigorous diets that people constantly fall for are just rackets designed to lighten their wallets rather than their big gross bodies. There are more books, videos, fads, and gurus out there claiming to be the gospel on healthy living than you can shake a buttered garlic cheese stick at. It’s only when you detach yourself from all that hokum that you realize everyone is different, and everyone needs to be aware of themselves and figure out a system of living that works for them personally. I’ve found mine, and I realize I’m treading dangerously close to being part of the very diet culture I’m criticizing here, but I’ll give you a few tips. I’m not suggesting you follow my system exactly, but rather use it as an example of how different methods work for different people, and maybe it will inspire you to figure out a system of your own.
First of all, I don’t adhere to a rigidly strict schedule. Week to week your days are different, and you need to be able to adjust accordingly along the way. But a general set of guidelines are a necessity, and there are a few things that you should avoid as much as possible. Like, it is totally unnecessary and unreasonable to eat McDonald’s every day of the week. You’d do much better to get some BK in there too, and occasionally some A&W, and for God’s sake have some Subway now and again. Their meatball sub contains more than your daily recommended amount of processed meat product. Of course, it would be ludicrously unhealthy to subside wholly on fast food, I’m not suggesting that. I learned that the hard way a few years back, when I had what I refer to as my “lost weekend”, which I can only recall, painfully, as a blurry cavalcade of Baconators and so many Arby’s 4 for $6 deals that I’m pretty sure it borders on mathematical impossibility.
One great tip that I can offer is that eggs are your friend. They are healthy (as far as I know) and there is such vast variety to how you can prepare them. Fry them, boil them, scramble them, devil them, scotch them. Omelettes alone offer almost endless options for healthy eating if you do it sensibly. Throw in some peppers, mushrooms, onions, and tomato and you’ve got a heart friendly meal that tastes great! After you add cheddar, Swiss, and feta cheese to it, that is. And bacon, sausage, ham, and sour cream. Egg salad sandwiches are also a smart option, because the mayonnaise provides your body with much needed lubrication. And don’t shy away from raw eggs, either. A raw egg in your morning pint(s) of beer or Bloody Mary(s) can make a tremendous difference in the productivity of your day.
Variety is important to keep things from getting boring, but it’s important to have a few staples in your weekly routine. For instance, I am a staunch supporter of Taco Tuesdays, and, even more importantly, my Wednesday Lasagnarama. Early in the week I cook three lasagnas and then on Wednesday I have a lasagna for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s a good idea to make one of them a veggie lasagna, because vegetables are important. Or just make sure you eat a lot of garlic bread with them, because garlic is a vegetable (I think).
Speaking of vegetables, I cannot stress enough how important it is to eat as many as possible. You can never eat enough vegetables. Asparagus is a great one to have regularly, due to the many proven health benefits it provides, and it’s great with Hollandaise sauce (Incidentally, sauces are another important food group that should not be ignored). Fried onions are also a good option. Probably the most important vegetable, though, is the potato. As with the eggs I mentioned earlier, it has a huge variety of delicious methods by which it can be prepared. Baked, mashed, French fried, chipped. Those rad potato skin things that are filled with bacon bits and cheese.
Exercise is important, too. I’ll go to the gym tomorrow. I swear. But, I mean, I do get a lot of walking time getting up to use the toilet so much. I’ll go next week.
There are a few things that can be regarded as pretty unhealthy if you indulge in them without restraint, but in small doses can actually be beneficial to your health. Chocolate is one of them. It’s said that chocolate can be good for your heart if you eat it in moderation. That’s why I try to eat a pint of triple fudge chocolate chunk ice cream every second day. It can’t be a daily thing, because that would be too much. Restraint is a virtue. Wine is another thing that has proven health benefits. Doctors recommend you drink eight glasses of red wine a day, but I find it’s easier to keep track if you just make it a box a day.
So, as you can clearly see, I’ve really carved out a nice lifestyle that has worked for me, and I hope that you can do the same. Again, I’m not trying to make any bold claims that you must strictly follow my system, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to use as a rough template. Really what I’m trying to impress upon you with all this, the one important thing to take away, is that I’m having severe chest pains, and I’m too out of breath to finish writing this article so I’m going to have another nap.
*Photo by uhuru1701 via Flickr.