Thursday, June 12, 2008

Secrets versus Science

How many times have you heard "What's your secret?" as it applies to weight loss, toning up or becoming a healthier, more vibrant person? It has either been asked of you, you have asked it of someone, or you have seen this exchange between two people as an onlooker. What is interesting about this question as it relates to weight loss or improving fitness levels is that the "secret" is probably science! Typically, what we don't know, even if it's evidence-based and scientifically proven, strikes us as a secret...just because we don't know it!

I love it when I'm asked "What's your secret? You look so trim. You must be working out like a fiend!" It is almost hard for me to admit that I work out less (just smarter), but that I eat better - cleaner and leaner. Basic clean eating from whole foods is truly the ticket. I hate to admit that too many people don't know the government's Food Pyramid ( - they know "of" it, but don't know it. I'm one of those Americans who takes full liberty with our freedom of speech to bludgeon our government regarding it's over-regulation or lack of regulation with our health, health care, food and agriculture industries, etc., however, as it relates to the release of information for the benefit of our health, the slow speed of the government is directly related to the amount of evidence-based research required to publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (, which is consolidated into an easily understood plan within MyPyramid.

I predict that most people looking for that "secret" diet or exercise plan, are not currently incorporating what are the very basic recommendations for Americans that exist within MyPyramid. First, how many calories are you eating? Most people really don't know. To know that information, you first must know exactly what you eat each day and be able to log and detail that. Then, to find the information on the calories and nutritional content of the food becomes even more difficult for most (or, rather, time consuming versus difficult). Next, do you know how many calories you should be eating per day based on your age, current weight, current weight goal, and activity level? This information is also located within the MyPyramid website.
Now, how active are you? Do you know how active you should be? Once again, this basic information is all there within MyPyramid. And this is no rocket science. It is very basic information regarding energy in and energy out - how many calories (energy) you eat compared to how many calories (energy) you expend via normal daily activity plus planned exercise activity. It all sounds complicated - but maybe that's because it's not packaged as a "secret" - it's just science - it's fact - and it's all right there for us. Maybe it's not as fun if it's not some great secret that no one else knows or that's packaged in a flashy hard cover book on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Trust me, take it back to basics. Use the tried and true information and create a clean and healthy lifestyle using solid science to build your plan. You won't regret it! And then, when someone asks you "What's your secret" - you can decide if you want to tell them the boring truth that it's basic science...or make up your own version of science...maybe it'll be the next best seller!!!

No comments: