The Illusion of Health
by Mack Newton
No one gets old by surprise. No one. There is a basic confusion among people concerning health today. People believe that their weight alone determines whether they are healthy or not. Your weight only determines one thing…what you weigh. It’s the numbers behind the weight that are really important. The number that indicates your body fat level…it’s the number that indicates how much lean muscle mass you have… and the numbers that tell you how much energy you have. Your weight doesn’t have the answers to any of those questions. So, you can see why I’m continually amazed to hear people say that all they have to do in order to get healthy is to lose a few pounds. That’s ridiculous.
I’m NOT in the weight-loss business, it’s really too insignificant for my experience…I’m in the health business. What a person weighs really isn’t that important to me unless they’re obese or morbidly obese. In order for people to sleep better, be less irritable, be more optimistic and simply have much more energy, they need more oxygenated blood flowing through their bodies and brains 24 hours a day. The only way that I know of to get that is to build more lean muscle mass and reduce the overall fat mass. Done properly, through proper eating habits and exercise, at least 3 times each week, one can use the available fat mass to build lean muscle mass and in the process overall weight will be a casualty.
The proper eating plan I recommend is the 3-2 eating plan I developed over 30 years ago. Originally, I developed the 3-2 for people who are extremely active…exercising between 3-7 times every week. I also developed it for people who really like to eat. People who like to eat beautiful food…delicious food…fabulous food. The unique thing about the 3-2 is that it is not a diet. It’s an enjoyable eating plan developed out of my need for more energy after I began my professional career of teaching Taekwondo. The amazing by-product of the 3-2 eating plan is weight normalization and lean muscle mass gain. And, because my plan is not a diet…as long as you remember that the 3-2 philosophy and combine it with light to moderate exercise, you can easily satisfy your gourmet tastes and never feel hungry again.
The 3-2 eating plan is easy to remember: There are 3 things you can eat…fresh meat (beef, pork, lamb, poultry and fish that is baked, boiled, broiled, sautéed, fried or barbecued), green vegetables and fresh fruit. There are 2 things you can drink…120 ounces of fresh clean water each day (not carbonated or flavored) and real, fresh fruit juice (hopefully cold-pressed for maximum quality). I do have a short list of “do not eat” things. It’s really just good, common sense. No salt, sugar or white flour. See? It’s really easy. This means no bread, no crackers, no cake, no muffins, no pasta, creamy dressings, dairy, soda and no alcohol.
I am one of those people I described earlier who loves to eat. I mean, I really love to eat. It’s one of the reasons I work out so hard and consistently is that it allows me to eat almost anything I want and as much of it I want. I love everything about food. I love the way it looks…I love the way it smells…and I really love the way it tastes. I’ve always felt that food was one of the three great gifts from God to all of us to stimulate our senses, the other two being music and dance. That’s right…to me, food is much more than just nutrition for the body; it’s nutrition for your mind and soul.
Food and eating should never have any guilt attached to it. You should always feel good after having a well-prepared, beautiful meal. If you feel guilty after eating, maybe you’re eating for the wrong reasons. It could be that you’re eating to punish yourself for what you saw as inappropriate behavior in another part of your life. Maybe you were binge eating. Whatever. So, in those cases it’s not the food you need to change, it’s your attitude towards food that needs to change. Food is never the bad guy…food is our friend.
The most commonly asked question I get about the 3-2 eating plan concerns my recommendation to eat so much meat. I recommend that for each 2 ounces of meat, you need to eat at least 3 ounces of a green vegetable. So, if you’re going to have a 8-ounce steak, you need 12 ounces of a green vegetable like asparagus, spinach or broccoli. So, the most commonly asked question is: “Isn’t eating all that fat bad for you?” No. This is another area of mass confusion. There isn’t a corollary between dietary fat and body fat levels. The fat that makes you fat comes from eating bread, cakes, cookies, gravies and other processed and refined carbohydrates along with elevated consumption of starches and sugars. You probably already know that bread is NOT your friend.
Most of you know that for the last several decades, the government agencies concerned with health care have continually bombarded us with the message to reduce your total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol in order to reduce your weight and get healthy. The government has been unrelenting with this message over the years, so much so that the terms “healthy” and “low-fat” seem linked somehow, but the rationale for a low-fat diet is based on ideas that are simply incorrect. It amazes me how the government continues to promote this madness of a low-fat diet in the hope that somehow, as if by magic it will somehow…take and begin to work. They need to face it…it’s bad science.
As I mentioned earlier in this piece, if you combine the unique simplicity of the 3-2 eating plan with a regular light to moderate (depending on your physical goals) exercise program, you will experience amazing gains in very short order. To get you started, I recommend walking as your primary workout. Walking is one of the most under-rated forms of fitness training available. Start slowly and gradually work yourself up to a 15-minute mile. Whatever you do…don’t begin a new workout regimen by running. Keep in mind you don’t run to get in shape…you get in shape to run. Beginning a new workout program with running on a hard surface makes it highly unlikely that you will be able to continue it very long because chances are very, very high a beginner will injure themselves that way. With issues like a lack of flexibility, strength and of course, proper running technique, failure is almost assured. Walking is far more body friendly…it’s easier to learn and the rewards are immediate and sustainable. To make your walking program complete, simply add in my free 7-minute workout on my website, www.macknewton.com
We all must get older, but getting old is a choice. When you don’t make the choice of getting in shape to live, you make the choice of getting old and dying. Every time I sign up a new client, I always ask them; “What are your sleep habits like? Do you sleep through the night? Do you wake up refreshed?” They always look at me with a quizzical face and ask…”Why are you asking me that?” or “How do you know I don’t sleep well?” I can tell just by looking at them. People always underestimate the important of a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation is a major issue in America today. Poor productivity, shoddy workmanship, mistakes and just a lack of focus costs American businesses billions of dollars and thousands of lives are lost for the same reasons every year…and, it doesn’t have to happen. Now, good sleep doesn’t come easily. Like so many other valuable things in life, it comes with a price tag. You have to be in shape to sleep well. You need more blood volume. You need more muscle mass. The amount of sugar and salt most people eat daily keeps the heart beating so fast that’s it’s literally impossible to fall asleep quickly upon going to bed. And…this is the illusion of health. Thinking that you are getting in shape just by ‘losing a few pounds’…what a pipe dream!
You can tell how well you’re doing in life at any point by how much ‘peace of mind’ you’re experiencing. It’s like an internal gyroscope. Peace of mind is actually the highest human good. Peace of mind means you live with the absence of anger, fear and guilt. Wow. The emotional qualities of a winner. The qualities that allow you to always be in the present. Peace of mind. Now…can you even imagine having peace of mind without getting a good nights’ sleep? Remember…no one gets old by surprise.
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