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Phil Covington headshot

The Boomer Generation Diet, Or Any Other For That Matter


With New Year's resolutions aplenty, you can bet there are millions of people looking to get in shape and shed a few pounds, and they are no doubt turning to one diet plan or another to reach their goals.

Maybe it’s a low-carb diet, or a low-fat one; perhaps they are counting calories or following in the footsteps of the caveman and giving the paleo diet a shot. Some might prefer going cold turkey and stop eating altogether for periods at a time by giving one of those fasting plans a go. They’ll probably all see some good results at first, and then … well, you know how the story typically ends.

Fellow TriplePundit contributor Bill Roth tried many diets a few years ago, and they didn’t work. So, he set out on his own path -- devising a plan from his perspective as a professional economist. He’s not a doctor or nutritionist, but he’s lost 30 pounds and has had a great time in the process. His new book tells you how you can do the same.

Roth’s book, “The Boomer Generation Diet,” is targeted at his own demographic. But as he tells us in his Triple Pundit article this week, much of the inspiration for eating healthier comes from his own millennial-generation kids -- a generation are more likely to walk than drive, eat more sustainably and, as power-users of social media, more inclined to peer-research consumer choices rather than respond to the branding onslaught.

Boomers, on the other hand, were the first generation to grow up with advent of fast foods, be bombarded with a saturation of TV commercial advertising, and were sold on convenience living and convenience eating. Consequently, they are the generation that has ingested the most industrial foods of any -- scarfing down products loaded with salt, fat, sugar and a whole host of chemicals that encourage you to binge more. Just add 40 years and you have a generation that is, according to Roth’s research, statistically the most overweight of any generation ever.

Roth’s humorously personal account of his lifestyle course-correction, as he grappled with decoupling himself from industrial foods, is grounded in careful analysis and systems thinking -- which informed his path to successful weight control.

He tells us that the problem with most diets is that they all tend to disappear down the same rabbit hole: Life should be fun, but diets are boring, restrictive and stressful. Stress actually contributes to making you fat, and when the diet becomes unsustainable because you’re denying yourself foods you like, ultimately the whole thing is doomed to unravel.

The book, then, is careful not to be a diet prescription or another “silver bullet” solution. It’s not rigid or a one-size-fits-all approach. Roth won’t tell you what you can and can’t eat [okay, one caveat: nothing good comes from fast food and soda], and gratifyingly, he won’t insist you walk around hungry -- something Bill absolutely refuses to do himself.

It gets better: His plan will neither make you count calories, lambaste you for poor portion control, or have you maniacally weighing yourself every five minutes. In fact, and here’s the real “icing on the cake,” if you will: He wants you to cheat! Go ahead and have that dessert from time to time, or that pizza or, indeed, the cake; that’s what he does; and on more than one occasion, Roth explains that happy hour and hosting parties are too important to him to be negotiable. As he tells us, social isolation and denial are not fun!

But, I should pause, as I think I’m almost making this sound too good to be true. It’s not, in fact, open season to eat any old junk you fancy whenever you like; there is a framework.

The essence of his plan is a list of 10 best practices that constitutes both an eating and lifestyle road map. It’s not a lose-weight-quick system, as it’s designed to be something, after all, that addresses the problems of most diets -- you need to be able to stick with it.

So, allow me to highlight some examples of the trade-offs. Drink tap water, not sodas. Understand that the type of calories matter -- 750 calories of broccoli are better than 750 calories of soda (not that he’s counting). Make sure you walk 20 minutes a day, and -- really -- you do need to cut out that fast food! Figure out what healthy foods you do like, and make those your staples.

You’ll have to read the book -- and I encourage you to do so --  to get the full framework for success and see how all the 10 best practices fit together. But the point is that by respecting the 10 best practices as your basic modus operandi, you’ll be able to let yourself off the hook now and again. Roth's recurring mantra throughout the book is, after all, “Have fun, while losing weight.”

Into the bargain, you’ll be living more sustainably, too. Roth devotes a chapter on the link between healthy eating and sustainably-produced organic foods, which holds the key to his plan for healthier future generations, as well as forming the essence of the course-correction for his own.

Eating sustainably-produced foods will avoid the industrial and unhealthy crud he feels boomers have subsisted on for too long. And though the book is aimed at the boomers out there, it’s a sensible guide for anyone that wants to live a healthy life for themselves, and for the health of the planet.

Image credit: Pixabay

Phil Covington headshotPhil Covington

Phil Covington holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School. In the past, he spent 16 years in the freight transportation and logistics industry. Today, Phil's writing focuses on transportation, forestry, technology and matters of sustainability in business.

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