Reflections on Workouts and Diet

After a day of reflection and thought and a lot of input from fellow bloggers I am finally starting to come to terms with the fact that good health is more about the food that I eat each day and less about the exercise. Although exercise is very important if I am not eating the quality foods and minimizing the carbohydrates and sugars I put into my diet each day then exercise does very little towards getting lean and fit.

So my dilemma is simple yet so complex. When I workout I get hungry and eat more carbohydrates. Those carbohydrates are converted into sugar that supplies my body with needed energy. I don’t have a physically demanding day so any sugar that the body doesn’t need it stores as fat. When my body needs energy and cannot find it in the form of sugar it burns fat. But, if I never give my body the opportunity to burn that fat because I am always feeding it carbs and sugar then it just sits there. So although I see gains in muscles mass, I never really see too much fat loss.

How do I fix this problem? I have to reduce the exercise to reduce the demand for carbohydrates and reduce the carbohydrates by balancing my meals with just protein and vegetables. I have to learn to adopt a 90% vegetarian diet and track my carb intake each day to limit them to under 60 grams per day. I also have to watch my fruit intake to avoid the added sugar.

This doesn’t mean that I am giving up on exercise, but it does mean that I am going to move my focus more towards my diet while reducing my exercise to a natural state. I will walk a few miles maybe 3 times per week and save weight bearing exercises for times where I feel extra energy.

huntinggatheringfishingI am working out too much and too hard and I believe that because of my athletic past I have been coached and even brainwashed into thinking that pushing myself to high levels is the way to work out. With a short term goal in mind this may be OK in sports, but in the long term it is non sustainable and can even cause damage. At 54 years old I can say that I still have the body of a 30 year old, but where is that getting me if my blood sugar is off and my body is constantly working overtime to compensate for muscle gain through demanding higher levels of energy. This is not the natural state of a human being. As early man developed he didn’t constantly work hard, although he did play a great deal. But most time was spent walking, gathering and hunting and getting plenty of rest. We ate fresh meats and wild fish but mostly green leafy vegetables. With this in mind I will making some major adjustments to my diet.

Blood Sugar- 100, Weight- 179.4

About SimpleLivingOver50

At 53 years old I am starting to realize how life changes both physically and emotionally. I strive for a life of simplicity. I am winning the battle with type II diabetes, created a plan to have all debt paid off in 4 years including the house, taking advantage of every opportunity to live life to it's fullest through adventures in nature, hiking, biking, loving and learning.
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31 Responses to Reflections on Workouts and Diet

  1. While T2D is horrible and I would not wish it on anyone, it can be a great motivator and trainer for those who are paying attention. You are! I have no doubt you will find the path to sustained health. You’re too invested in the search to come up empty handed. Keep at it–it will come.

    • John Greco says:

      I have had T2D for a little over 10 years and after a rough time in the beginning getting it under control I have been able to manage it to my doctor’s and my own acceptable level. My exercise routine is mild, about 45 mins to an hour at the gym, three to four times a week. I have been a vegetarian for more than 20 years and it helps, but remember you can be vegetarian and a still eat a lot of carbs and sugar. If I eat pasta, if possible, I eat whole wheat pasta. The same thing with bread, whole wheat and or grain. It’s not always possible if you eat out, but not impossible. At home, obviously you can control it. There is a lot of good vegetarian “meat” subsitutes out there that are quite tasty.

      • That is wonderful. I do have problems eating any type of wheat products and I try to avoid pasta and rice, but you are right eating out is not always easy as most restaurants want to try to fill you up on carbs because they are cheaper. I was vegan for two years until I developed T2D and changed my diet.

  2. Listening to your body is key. I think adding some extra coconut oil to your diet may help since this healthy fat keeps you satiety levels in check. Best wishes and keep inspiring!

  3. Florida Life Minimalist says:

    I believe you are right on track here. I have been doing a lot of research myself about the balance of diet and exercise, and have come to the same results that you have here. The diet of someone with T2D is really no different than how the rest of us *should be eating. You can spend hours lifting weights and doing cardio, but unless you’ve got your diet in check you will not see healthy, lasting results. You almost have to have your diet down to a science. That’s not to say it’s difficult, because it’s not. Eat real, whole foods, and nothing processed, packaged or non-organic.
    I have just started a diet around these concepts. I need to lose 25 lbs. While I will spend 3 days a week in the gym doing a short, whole body workout for about an hour, the other days I will be doing nothing more than walking my dog. The majority of my efforts are focused around what I am eating. I am sensitive to dairy, and am not a big meat eater so I am eating mostly fruits, vegetables and nuts like almonds for fat and protein.

  4. geekkat says:

    As long as you are listening to your body and not ignoring the signals it is telling you, you should be fine. Diet should come before exercise, but there should be a healthy balance between the two. You’re doing a good job figuring it out.

  5. 8m33 says:

    I was getting exhausted reading how much you exercised. As we age, I feel the wear and tear on joints comes to the forefront. I used to work around horses and saw how much the legs wore out before the horse did. These were horses that were jumped a lot over their lifetime. And think about old police horses, the years they spent walking on sidewalks and city pavements vs. a horse who spends his life on grass or the prairie.

  6. Amused Cat says:

    Sometimes a growling stomach may be a sign less of hunger than a food allergy. I have noticed this effect with wheat and oats. I would get hungry an hour after eating oat meal. Pay attention to what you have eaten with the hunger pangs hit. You might want to check out Tim Ferris’s blog and how he recommends eating 20 grams of protein within 20 minutes of waking up to help with weight loss. Just a couple of ideas for you to think about/investigate.

  7. john says:

    Like many, I’ve been reading the past few weeks and wondering how it would come out for you. While I always hope that anyone can pursue any level of activity they desire….it is great to see the rationale in your recent postings, this one especially.

    Nothing wrong with lighter weights too – I find I can retain my 2 1/2 decades of lifting size with a tiny fraction of the weight (and joint and body stress) of what it took me to put it on. ie…I doubt I’ve lifted over a 30 pound dumbbell in years…and mostly I use the smaller ones than that!

    Diet and walking….those are my top avenues to attack myself anymore. We gotta have LIFE left in our years! πŸ™‚

    Good luck!

  8. Dermot Barry says:

    You’re right, people who live longer in the blue zones tend to be active each and every day rather than hitting the gym. Three or four workouts a week does nothing for our largely sedentary lifestyles whereas a two minute walk has been shown to somewhat counteract the damage of sitting for an hour.

  9. hsampson says:

    Well done Billy! finally nowadays modern medicine is paying more attention to the food we eat than to other things. I have been a vegetarian for 30 years and yet I still have to learn a lot about balancing food. “let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food” -Hippocrates Faher of modern medicine.

  10. I saw a movie a couple years back “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead”. A day does not go by where I do not get an image from that film in my mind. It’s a must see for all. I use liquid stevia to satisfy my sweet tooth. Seems the carbs are just a problem for everyone. I am glad you are working toward balance. It just amazes me how we have whole warehouse sized stores of stuff they label as “food” that is not fit for consumption. It is so sad that the bulk of society buys the lie and spends money on it.

  11. smittyrooks says:

    Preach :3

  12. Great post Billy. You are so right, health is the accumulation of margins and not just knocking yourself out in the gym.
    Rings true with some of the battles my brain goes through each day…!

  13. Amused Cat says:

    It looks like you already have an abundance of comments here but I guess I’ll throw in another. I have spent a lot of time on the Dr. Mercola website trying to figure out how to solve my own issues. The interview that will hopefully link in this comment was one of the most fascinating that I have heard on the subject of exercise and energy. It is a very long interview of Dr. Doug McGuff by Dr. Mercola, who advocates slow weight training that pushes your muscles to their limit and then allowing a week long recovery period where you don’t really do anything strenuous but let your muscles recover. His clients eventually get to the point where they have so much extra energy that they are enthusiastic to get out and hike mountains, etc.

    Anyway, if you’ve got the time, you might want to watch it. There is also a transcript you can download.

    http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/01/06/dr-doug-mcguff-on-exercise.aspx

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