Too many of us in America are too fat, and fast food is at least partly to blame. French fries, greasy tacos and pizzas, monster burgers ... wolfed down in five minutes, along with giant sodas that pack 300 to 400 calories and no nutritional value. Does it have to be this way?
Absolutely not, says the Slow Food Movement, a small but growing international group whose members believe that slowing down your approach to food from preparation to consumption will not only to reduce stress and increase your joie de vivre, but lower your calorie intake, too.
Slow foodies make mealtimes mini-celebrations of the good things in life: Family and friends. Fresh bread. Seasonal vegetables, grown by family farmers who do it organically, without chemical additives, in between raising perfect children and training for the marathon.
Slow foodies don't set up snack trays and eat in front of the TV. They pay attention and experience pleasure in the meals they prepare and eat. This kind of mindful eating is one of the great secrets to lowering your consumption. Smaller portions become more satisfying, over time, and as a result, your body loses (releases) some of its stored up fat.
Bottom line? Your weight drops and it's all pretty effortless. With effort, meaning if you begin to step up your physical activity walking, dancing, washing your car you can lose weight even faster. But is faster really what you want? Slower may be the way to go.
The Slow Food Movement may be just the thing to support and encourage your willingness to shift gears, slow down, get some control over your eating. To chew it over some more, check out their Web site: www.slowfood.com; or call (877) 756-9366 for more information.
What is sarcopenia?
I'm beginning to hear more about this all the time, and it's not a healthy development. The doctors are calling it sarcopenia (sar-co-pea-knee-uh), and defining it, in a recent Mayo Clinic Health Letter, as "the loss of muscle mass that comes with normal aging."
It happens like this: "Doc, I just don't have the energy I used to have. I can barely lift up a bag of groceries and carrying it from the car is exhausting." "What a shame," Dr. Toomany Likethis tells his patient. "You've got sarcopenia!"
Say what? If you're lucky, your doctor might try to explain that sarcopenia is what happens to your body as it ages. Its composition changes. Starting at about age 30, you lose about 1 percent of your muscle mass each year. By 55, you'll have lost about 25 percent. Even sadder is that as your lean muscle decreases, your body fat increases. Woe is you! But that's OK, most doctors will say. This loss of muscle mass is a result of normal aging. "It's called sarcopenia."
And that's called pathetic. You don't have to accept a doctor's opinion of what constitutes "normal" aging. It's not normal! It's the result of ignorance and sloth. The fact is, you can do something to prevent sarcopenia, to keep your muscle strength from going and the fat from coming. It's called exercise.
Step up your physical activity. Lift weights, go for a swim, start dancing, do whatever feels like fun. Do it slowly at first, but keep on doing it. No matter your age, you can build muscle. Very old and enfeebled nursing home residents, for instance, given the opportunity to train with light resistance and their own body weight, have gotten stronger. So can you.