COMBATING THE FRESHMAN 15 – AND THE ANNUAL 5! By: Dr. Byron G. Jackson
“…Inactivity and diet will soon rank as the leading cause of death in the U.S.”
-Roberts, Christian K. and R. James Barnard. “The Effects of Exercise and Diet on Chronic Disease”_ J Appl Physiol_ 98 (2005): 3-30.
In high school, most of us had a pretty descent physique. This was not a majestic manifestation, but rather the result of regular physical activity. In junior high and high school, most of us participated in some form of physical activity, whether it was sports, band, walking to and from school, or PE class. However, after arriving at college we became so enthralled with partying, studying, and the all-you-can-eat style cafeteria that we decreased our physical activity dramatically. As a result, some of us payed a hefty penalty and fell victim to “The Freshman 15.”
But it doesn’t always stop there - after entering the workforce, some people gain an extra five to ten pounds of unwanted fat each year after. By simply consuming an extra fifty calories a day, you gain over five pounds of unwanted fat a year (FYI: Fifty calories is the equivalent of five ketchup packets from your local fast food restaurant; now what do you think the calorie value of a super duper double whatever burger is, hmmm?). Sweets and fast foods have very high calorie counts and little to no nutrional value. By eating these foods, you not only fuel fat cells, but also deprive yourself of the proper nutrient sources your body needs to express proper function and vitality. It is no wonder that the unhealthiest beings on the planet rank among those who consume fast food, sugary snacks and sweets on a regular basis. The next time you consume a beverage or some form of food, ask yourself: “Am I moving toward health and wellness with this choice, or away from it?”
Taking in calories and not burning them is no different from filling a car up with gas, not driving it, and filling it up again and again. Very quickly, the gas tank will overflow and leak onto the side of the car; if is not cleaned up, the gas will penetrate the paint of the car and you will need an entirely new paint job. When it comes to your body, if you take in more calories than you are using, your body will begin to overflow as well, and can lead to drastic health issues. Not only will you become overweight and out of shape as I did, but the organ and vascular systems of your body will be placed under extreme stress, begin to break down, and cause you to exhibit signs of sickness and disease. However, you can combat this by regularly engaging is some form of physical activity. Physical activity does not have to be dreadful - as long as you are moving, sweating, and breathing heavily for thirty minutes, you are exercising.
Exercising with a proper diet (NOT DIETING) permanently combats “the freshman fifteen and annual five.” A year ago, I was out of shape and overweight (thirty-one pounds overweight to be exact), and regular, continuous physical activity and eating a proper diet helped me gain my health back and shed unwanted fat. To maintain the more optimal health I have gained, I strive to eat something raw (a food source in its natural form and minimally processed at best) before every meal. By something raw, I mean: a few florettes (clustered heads of broccoli), a carrot, a cucumber, some cauliflower,some celery, some figs, or some pineapple, strawberries, peaches, plums, oranges, avocado, red bell pepper strips, bananas, apples, squash, raisins, cranberries, cherries, unsalted natural/raw almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc. There are countless fruits and vegetables to choose from; just as with exercising, be creative. However, I personally avoid peanuts and peanut products due to the suspicion that they are regularly contaminated with aflatoxin (a fungus-producing toxin) which increases the risk of cancer.
If eating something raw before each meal is presently too extreme for you, do what my girlfriend does and make a smoothie. I firmly believe that “homemade smoothies” were the driving force to me permanently eliminating twenty pounds of unwanted fat in a little over six months. The process is EASY: an inexpensive blender, 1 ½ to 2 cups of almond milk (or water) and three to four fresh vegetables and fruits. The key to the “homemade smoothie” is keeping it simple. One of my favorite blends is a handful of frozen strawberries and mangos, half of avocado, a little fresh spinach, and two cups of almond milk. The almond milk gives the smoothie a constancy of somewhere between a frozen strawberry daiquiri/piña colada and milk shake… mmm-mmm good!
Dr. Byron G. Jackson “The Good Doctor”™