Can You Stay Slim and Still Be Healthy? YES!

Most of us want to look good, but do so at our health's expenese. You can have it both ways.

We are a culture obsessed with esthetics. Everyone wants to lose weight and be thin to look like the models in magazines and stars on TV and in movies. The problem is, we as Americans are more concerned with the way we look then how healthy we are.  If you treat your nutrition properly however, you can have both.

The amount of “diets” out there today to lose weight are growing on a daily basis.  Some are nutritionally sound and some are seriously flawed.  Most of them areshort-term fixes for rapid weight loss with no concern for overall nutrition.  Some purport to be healthy nutritional diets allowing weight loss while increasing nutritional competence.  Most of them fail miserably at this.

Nutrition has gone through faddish times.  During the early to mid 60’s, which we’ll call the Atkins protein era, the emphasis was on a very high protein diet (usually to the expense of fresh whole vegetables, fruits and grains.)  There were
many fortified foods that supplied the diet with increased amounts of protein.  Not much attention was given to the source of the protein or the completeness of it either.

During the early to mid 70’s the shift was made to carbohydrate-based diets.  By the end of the 1970’s the focus of diets were extremely high carbohydrates, most of them complex, more fresh fruits and vegetables.  This was a healthier alternative to the high protein situation. However, still not the most healthful diet. 

By the mid 1980’s the attention had shifted away from very high carbohydrates, to more moderate carbohydrate levels, complex carbohydrates, and more fresh fruits and vegetables.  The USDA for the first time in 30 years changed their attitude of what constituted good nutrition by replacing the “four food groups”, (one of the groups being the dairy group, an absolute absurdity) with the “food pyramid”. Although the food pyramid falls short of absolute good nutrition, it
comes a lot closer to what the ideal should be.

Diets towards the end of the 80’s and into early 90’s began again to shift back
towards the very high protein situation at the expense of fresh fruits and vegetables.  They centered on such diets as the Atkins diet which promotes very high levels of protein with almost no carbohydrate, and on the modification of the Atkins diet, the Zonediet by Dr. Barry Sears, Ph.D.   Dr. Sear's diet, although not as limiting and absolute as the Atkins diet, falls short nutritionally in many areas.  First of all, it’s almost impossible for the average person to follow it, being
extremely complicated and relying theoretically on bio-chemical processes that
may not actually occur in living humans.  Second of all, it’s not centered in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in certain vitamins.

The basis of healthy weight loss however, centers on one factor and one factor alone, and that is: you must eat a low volume of calories in order to lose weight.  This is something that no one who has been on rebound diets or likes fad diets wants to accept.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the weight loss study through the thousands of people who have participated, it’s that eating less calories than your body actually requires to sustain its weight is the only way you can lose weight.  Even when exercising sufficiently and burning many calories throughexercise, unless you eat less calories than your body is going to expend on a daily basis you will never, ever lose fat.

What is healthy eating and what is a good, balanced nutritional diet?  My diet
consists of 30% protein, 50% carbohydrate and 20% fat.  All of my fats are of vegetable source and either polysaturated or monosaturated.  All of my proteins are from plant sources or animal sources that are high in protein and low in fats, such as oily fin fishes, shellfish and poultry.  Most of my carbohydrates are fresh vegetables. The rest are whole grains and fruit. 

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cv October 03, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Dr Murphy great article. No one ever wants to believe there isnt a magic formula. Its all about calories in and calories out. I have put on a little weight over the past few years nothing too bad but I recently started evaluating my eating and I was not eating very good. I now track my calories and exercise with the lose it app and I am slimming down.
Dr. Joseph J. Murphy October 03, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Great to hear it, CV! Yes-everyone does want a magic formula, but as they said on SNL: "Eat Less/Move More" pretty much sums it up. Just eat the right, good foods, but not too much, and stay active!
cv October 03, 2012 at 08:29 PM
when we reach our mid forties boy do the rules change haha. I am also battling a thyroid condition but as long as its regulated it shouldnt cause too much of an issue. Thank you for your response.


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