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Old 01-04-2010, 07:48 AM   #1
Greg Light
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Making some changes in 2010, what to tackle first

I'm planning on making some changes in 2010. Like most people, I am pretty successful if I start with one change at a time and get that change incorporated into my daily life before tackling another. It doesn't seem to be such a big change that way and it never really bothers me too much.

The thing is, which one to tackle first.

Some of these bad habits are as follows:

Diet Pop
Food Quality
Food Quantity
Alcohol
Sweets
Macronutrient Balance

Now this may seem like a laundry list of what not to do, but honestly, I'm not that bad with any of these, but they are all things I need to work on. Food quantity is not going to be touched until at least April as I am currently on a strength program so I need the calories.

Please help me rank these items in order of importance to overall health so I can decide what to tackle first. Weight is up from 188 in October 2008 to 213 yesterday. This gain is intentional and will likely continue to about 220 or 225 before I look to get back to 195 - 200 throughout the summer as I get rid of the fat that accompanied the muscle gain.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks!
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:48 AM   #2
Richard Joy
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Re: Making some changes in 2010, what to tackle first

I'd rank them as follows:

Alcohol
Sweets
Food Quantity
Macronutrient Balance
Food Quality
Diet Pop

Here's my thinking:
Alcohol basically gets converted to sugar by your body. Also, getting the alcohol out of your system becomes your body's number one metabolic priority when you drink. So, processing other foods takes a back seat, and you end up dehydrated and feeling crappy to a degree that is directly related to how much you drank. Also, alcohol makes you much more likely to look at a plate of fries and think "It's not so bad if I eat all of those." The less you drink (think of it like a cheat meal), the better.

Sweets do nothing good for you nutritionally. I'm certainly guilty of eating them more than I should, but I recognize that it's something I need to reduce as much as possible. Except for the poor judgement part, sweets are about as bad as alcohol.

Food Quantity doesn't just mean reducing calories. To me, it means eating an appropriate amount of food for your goals. I want to lose weight, so I need to restrict my calories; you want to gain weight, so you need to increase yours. It's hard to meet your fitness goals if your body is moving away from a form that is suited to them. It sounds like you already have a handle on this one.

Balancing macronutrients makes sure that your body is getting what it needs, which is important for building muscle while limiting body fat. A xxxx calorie diet may be what you need to maintain body weight, but if you just eat sugar packets until you get to xxxx calories, your body will quickly cannibalize muscles to meet its protein needs. Similarly bad things happen if you don't get the right amounts of carbohydrates and fat.

I am of the opinion that a diet that contains x grams of protein, y grams of carbs, and z grams of fat is the same whether x, y, and z come from burgers and twinkies or grass fed beef and broccoli - as far as maintaining your body is concerned. I know from experience, though, that 1/2 of a twinkie is not nearly as filling as four cups of broccoli. So, food quality is definitely an important piece of the puzzle. What kind of food you should eat varies from person to person, so you should experiment with it. (However, if you find that your body operates at its peak on a diet of twinkies, you are a rare and very lucky person)

Diet Pop - First off, what the heck is "pop"? Are you talking about soda? If you eliminate every vice but diet soda, you're doing pretty good. Sure, water is better for you, but have you ever tasted the stuff? It's horrible. (Try to get used to it, though. It actually is a better option than what's in diet sodas)
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:03 AM   #3
Eric Lester
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Re: Making some changes in 2010, what to tackle first

While diet soda may not be the most unhealthy I think I have felt better from cutting it out than any other change. Just my experience.
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:23 AM   #4
Greg Light
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Re: Making some changes in 2010, what to tackle first

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Joy View Post
I'd rank them as follows:

Alcohol
Sweets
Food Quantity
Macronutrient Balance
Food Quality
Diet Pop

Here's my thinking:
Alcohol basically gets converted to sugar by your body. Also, getting the alcohol out of your system becomes your body's number one metabolic priority when you drink. So, processing other foods takes a back seat, and you end up dehydrated and feeling crappy to a degree that is directly related to how much you drank. Also, alcohol makes you much more likely to look at a plate of fries and think "It's not so bad if I eat all of those." The less you drink (think of it like a cheat meal), the better.

Sweets do nothing good for you nutritionally. I'm certainly guilty of eating them more than I should, but I recognize that it's something I need to reduce as much as possible. Except for the poor judgement part, sweets are about as bad as alcohol.

Food Quantity doesn't just mean reducing calories. To me, it means eating an appropriate amount of food for your goals. I want to lose weight, so I need to restrict my calories; you want to gain weight, so you need to increase yours. It's hard to meet your fitness goals if your body is moving away from a form that is suited to them. It sounds like you already have a handle on this one.

Balancing macronutrients makes sure that your body is getting what it needs, which is important for building muscle while limiting body fat. A xxxx calorie diet may be what you need to maintain body weight, but if you just eat sugar packets until you get to xxxx calories, your body will quickly cannibalize muscles to meet its protein needs. Similarly bad things happen if you don't get the right amounts of carbohydrates and fat.

I am of the opinion that a diet that contains x grams of protein, y grams of carbs, and z grams of fat is the same whether x, y, and z come from burgers and twinkies or grass fed beef and broccoli - as far as maintaining your body is concerned. I know from experience, though, that 1/2 of a twinkie is not nearly as filling as four cups of broccoli. So, food quality is definitely an important piece of the puzzle. What kind of food you should eat varies from person to person, so you should experiment with it. (However, if you find that your body operates at its peak on a diet of twinkies, you are a rare and very lucky person)

Diet Pop - First off, what the heck is "pop"? Are you talking about soda? If you eliminate every vice but diet soda, you're doing pretty good. Sure, water is better for you, but have you ever tasted the stuff? It's horrible. (Try to get used to it, though. It actually is a better option than what's in diet sodas)
Thank you for the thorough response. I guess I'm showing my midwesternness with my "Pop" comment. Ha. Yes, diet soda.

Regarding alcohol, I am definitely not a quantity drinker (except for the rare night when an old friend is in town, etc.), but more of a quality drinker. Me and my wife drink a lot of good wine and I have some microbrews. If some alcohol is non-negotiable, I would probably be better served keeping only those and gettting rid of the pointless light beers that I pop open at random on Wednesday night (i.e. keep it to only essential drinking if there is such a thing).

Agree with the rest of your points though..... the sweets gotta go. The gingerbread house with frosting that me and my daughter made (and then I proceeded to eat) probably wasn't a good choice huh?
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:12 AM   #5
Emily Maisannes
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Re: Making some changes in 2010, what to tackle first

Alcohol
Sweets
Food Quality
Diet Pop
Macronutrient Balance
Food Quantity
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:39 AM   #6
Richard Joy
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Re: Making some changes in 2010, what to tackle first

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Originally Posted by Greg Light View Post
The gingerbread house with frosting that me and my daughter made (and then I proceeded to eat) probably wasn't a good choice huh?
Gingerbread houses made with one's child are given a free pass. Consume as many as you'd like
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:12 AM   #7
Cassie Savage
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Re: Making some changes in 2010, what to tackle first

As far as overall health goes, not necessarily fitness, I'd say:

Food quality/sugar (kind of the same thing)
Food quantity
Diet Pop
Macronutrient balance (assuming it's already decent, I'd put it higher if you were getting no protein for example)
Alcohol (since you said you're not a quantity drinker - a little won't kill you)
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Old 01-04-2010, 06:21 PM   #8
Albert Chang
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Re: Making some changes in 2010, what to tackle first

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassie Savage View Post
As far as overall health goes, not necessarily fitness, I'd say:

Food quality/sugar (kind of the same thing)
Food quantity
Diet Pop
Macronutrient balance (assuming it's already decent, I'd put it higher if you were getting no protein for example)
Alcohol (since you said you're not a quantity drinker - a little won't kill you)
I'd go even further and say you could group the diet soda in there with sugars. Isn't that all it is essentially?

I would also group macronutrient balance in with food quantity.
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Old 01-04-2010, 06:43 PM   #9
Nic Michaud
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Re: Making some changes in 2010, what to tackle first

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Light View Post
Some of these bad habits are as follows:

Diet Pop
Food Quality
Food Quantity
Alcohol
Sweets
Macronutrient Balance
I would personally say that Diet Pop, sweets, Food quality and Alcohol go hand in hand, and in my opinion food quantity, sweets and alcohol also share some relation. What i sould suggest to you is to you is first improve your food quality then decrease you alcohol or sweets quantity. I'm not sure what you want to do with the diet pop, I'd rather not drink pop than have diet.

Once you have your food quality, alcohol, sweets and diet pop under control slowly change your food quantity to what you want it to be or it should be. Then find what you want to do about the Macronutrient Balance deal (which i don't completely understand the issue to start with).
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:50 PM   #10
Mark E. Wallace
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Re: Making some changes in 2010, what to tackle first

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Joy View Post
Gingerbread houses made with one's child are given a free pass. Consume as many as you'd like
Gingerbread houses; not children.
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