Guest Column: Changing your diet can be cheap

Brian Sorenson

Every doctor that’s ever practiced general medicine has used the phrase “diet and exercise.” If you want to lose weight — diet and exercise. If you want to live to 100 — diet and exercise. If you want to leap tall buildings in a single bound, you guessed it — diet and exercise.

By now you may be wondering just what diet and exercise really means. I don’t blame you. “Diet and exercise” is one of the most vague statements, and there’s a reason for that.

What your doctor means when they say “diet and exercise” is they recommend that you first be mindful of what you shove into your mouth on a regular basis and secondly, get up off the couch every once in a while.

As far as specific rules are concerned, it varies from person to person. For example, a 100 lb. freshman looking to put on some muscle can eat french fries until they bleed ketchup. However, a 300 lb. senior might want to stay away from anything with the word “fried” in it. In a similar vein, cardio may work great for our freshmen, but our senior may have a little trouble in that department.

Clearly everyone’s body is different. Still, there are a few pointers I’ve picked up in my research that I feel confident in passing on to you, dear reader.

Diet is perhaps one of the simplest yet most difficult things to change about your life. Chances are you know what things you eat that are bad for you. Fortunately, healthy food can be surprisingly tasty. Unfortunately, Taco Bell is delicious and cheap.

Speaking of money, you may think that improving your diet will make your trip to Walmart more expensive. I’m going to disagree with you there. Sure, living off Top Ramen is cheap, but vegetables can be inexpensive and discounted meat is a godsend. Plus, I guarantee your Ramen-indiced medical bills would eclipse any extra spending at the megamart.

One final word on diet. Believe it or not, those pointy things in your mouth are there for a reason. So don’t tell me that eating healthy means not eating meat. Besides, the protein alone is worth the guilt of eating something with a face.

What do you think of when I say exercise? Do you picture Arnold Schwarzenegger pumping iron or someone doing an impossible yoga pose? According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Association, the Center for Disease Control and countless other health acronyms, exercise is defined as any action which elevates your heart rate and is done in pursuit of physical fitness.

You’ll notice that nowhere in there does it say that you must go to the gym every day, or that you can’t. It simply says that you should do something. Find a trainer that can help you determine the best exercise load and regimen for your body and don’t try to keep up with the body-builders if you don’t want or need to.

In the final analysis no one can tell you if your diet and exercise regimen is good or bad except, of course, your own body. That being said, there are

millions upon millions of resources on the web to help you develop your regimen.

The title of this column may be “Unsolicited Advice,” but that doesn’t mean I don’t take requests. If you have a topic you’d like to see me try to cover, just send an email to the address below this column and I’ll give it my best shot.

Daily Evergreen, Washington State U. via UWIRE