Diet Plans and Exercise

I have never been a dieter. In my younger years, I ate as much as I wanted and did not face a weight problem. That may have been partly because my extensive exercise was burning off more calories than I ate. I would also like to think that I ate wisely, seeking good nutrition rather than empty calories. But that certainly was not always the case.

As I have aged, I have found it harder to keep off the pounds. That has made me more aware of talk about diets. I still have not undertaken a specific diet. And I am very aware that it has become harder over the years to exercise as hard as I once did.

I hear talk from friends about high protein diets, high carb diets, no wheat diets, cabbage diets and more. The names apparently come from the devisers of the diets and/or the concept. (Is there one called the Neanderthal diet?)

But I have a question. When we debate whether eating carbohydrates will result in my putting on more fat compared to eating a meat and fat diet, are we talking about the chemistry of the body or about something else? If I consume only the calories I need and not more, does it matter whether I eat meat or bread? Unless I eat more than I need (more than I burn up through daily living and exercise), it will not turn to fat whether it is cheese or rolls, right? Instead, the food I consume will be consumed to run my body.

And if I eat more than I need or if I fail to consume the nutrition I need, then I will likely pack on some more fat. Right or wrong?

So is the key to weight gain the calories we take in or the calories we burn off?