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Never say diet or barbells

Published February 26. 2011 09:00AM

I never had luck with fad diets. Maybe I have no willpower. But diets don't seem to work over the long haul, anyway.

Still, I was impressed when Jason Alexander went on television and said he lost 30 pounds on a commercial diet plan.

You probably remember him as the TV actor playing George Costanza on the Seinfeld sitcom.

Alexander was a pudgy guy who reportedly weighed 195 pounds before going on the Jenny Craig diet. It's one of those diet plans where they send food to your door.

I did some Internet research and learned that many folks say it's very expensive and a waste of money. I don't know if that's true. Everybody has an opinion.

As fas as I'm concerned, the jury is still out regarding which foods we should eat and which to avoid. Eating certain foods to be healthy and lose weight is an inexact science.

For instance, we've been led to believe that fats and carbs are bad for us.

But nutritionists now say our bodies need fats and carbs. Same with eggs. Eggs were good, then bad, then good again. Butter, too. It's difficult to figure out which way the wind is blowing.

Recommended nutritional guidelines constantly change and so do deprivation diets.

There was a low-carb diet, then a low-fat diet, and then a liquid diet that relied on low-cal, high-fiber milkshakes. How about the grapefruit diet, macrobiotics diet and juice diet?

We've been led down the yellow brick road of diets that just don't work.

I tried some of the frozen food diets. But when I read the labels, the stuff seemed to be chemicals, not food. I couldn't acquire a taste for Mean Cuisine. The lasagna serving was so small I thought it was an appetizer. We're supposed to feel satisfied with less food. We're supposed to be careful with portion size. But it's not easy. Did you ever try to eat just one potato chip?

Jason Alexander appeared on a talk show recently. I listened as he discussed details of his diet success.

Turns out, he said the Jenny Craig diet was helpful to him because it taught portion control. But he said something else. He said he believes daily exercise "was the key" to losing weight and keeping it off.

Alexander said he walks five miles a day. He didn't say if he uses a treadmill or simply walks outdoors. But the five-mile regimen, he said, is what keeps him trim.

Experts say we need only 60 minutes of exercise a day, and walking is very good for us.

If we walk, and if we stay away from supersized fries and burgers, we'll supposedly see results. So we don't need to count calories or go to weigh-ins. We only need to learn to eat right and stay active.

And that makes sense. Instead of ordering a package of weight-loss delivered to your door, it's probably better to learn how to cook right, eat right and do it in the comfort of your home.

Then, after the meal, take a nice, long walk for exercise. Besides, not everyone wants to join a gym. I'm always intimidated at a gym because I typically find myself next to one of those muscle-bound dudes with a German accent who says, "I lift things up and put them down."

Every gym has its share of incredible hulks. Gyms are made for schwarzeneggers and people trying to win the Heisman. I just can't get into the worship of biceps, triceps, abs and protein drinks.

Good-paced walking is a natural and healthy habit everyone can enjoy. So I'm going to forget about the diets, barbells and those hulk monsters who lift things up and put things down.

I'd rather be Fred Rogers, walking and enjoying the beautiful day in the neighborhood.

It certainly seemed to work for Mr. Rogers. As I recall, he was skinny. And never once did he mention Jenny Craig or Mean Cuisine.

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