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Boomers' Sustainability Diet: Five Steps to Losing 20 Pounds

Bill Roth headshotWords by Bill Roth
Energy & Environment

Editor’s Note: 3p correspondent Bill Roth used sustainability principles to get healthy, lose 20 pounds and keep it off. He documented his experience — and what he calls the Boomers' Sustainability Diet — in a three-part series. This post is part two. In case you missed it, you can read the first part here and the third part here

I have lost 20 pounds, and kept it off, by adopting sustainable best practices. My secret sauce consists of eating things I like that are good for me and the planet. As I reviewed in my first article, this diet is designed to be easy to follow. It requires no hunger, and I allow myself to sinfully enjoy happy hour and holiday season pies, cookies, stuffing and gravy!

I designed this diet for my generation, the boomer generation. The diet consists of five “do this” and five “stop doing that” steps. This article covers five action items that will help you lose weight sustainably.

Five “To Do’s”

1. Listen to the millennial generation and Generation Z. I began losing weight once I started acting on what my kids kept telling me about food. The millennials are the ones that began avoiding McDonald’s (and killing their sales). They also were the ones who discovered Chipotle (making it America’s most valuable restaurant chain) because Chipotle is sourcing their foods sustainably. Millennials think aging begins at 25, so they are constantly on social media looking for health ideas. I just wish I had listened to my millennial generation kids when they begged me to buy Apple at $50 per share!

2. Drink water. My friend and green expert, Scott Cooney, got me started on drinking water the first thing each morning. During most of my life I began my day running to the refrigerator for a can of Diet Coke to get my caffeine fix. WRONG. Now I drink 18 ounces of tap water first thing in the morning. Then I have another 18 ounces with breakfast. (Did you know that studies have found that tap water is just as safe as bottle water at a fraction of the cost?) Drinking water in the morning seems to increase my energy level. During the rest of the day I drink just tap water with the exception of having wine or beer at happy hour or dinner. Otherwise, I drink no manufactured drinks. I thought drinking fruit juices was good until my millennial generation kids explained to me that it was like drinking sugar. Now my kids have me doing smoothies made out of vegetables, and they actually taste great.

3. Eat fish, chicken, avocados, apples, bananas, salad, tomatoes and broccoli. Most of the foods on this list are supposed to burn belly fat. Who knew? I chose them from doing research on what foods were healthy for me and healthier for our planet. Apples and bananas are my kill-the-hunger foods that I reach for between meals. I keep them stocked in my office, home and carry-on bag. I never skip breakfast. When I do I get really hungry and end up eating a super-sized sandwich and fries for lunch. For breakfast at home I eat smoked salmon, avocado slices and tomatoes. If I am traveling, I try for egg whites or a chicken breast with fruit and yogurt. There is nothing magical about my list, and you should create your own. The core of your list should be foods you like to eat, that are low in artificial ingredients, sustainably-sourced and biased toward fruits and vegetables.

4. Walk 20 minutes non-stop every day. This is a must-do. New research now concludes that inactivity kills more than obesity. Harvard Medical School reports that walking 20 minutes a day not only combats obesity, but also reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Walking three to five hours a week has been found to reduce by 50 percent the recurrence of female breast cancer. Get out there and walk non-stop at a rapid pace for 10 minutes one direction and then 10 minutes back. Lunch is a perfect time for doing this because it also helps in reducing your work tensions. Walk at least 20 minutes every day, and you will be healthier and thinner.

5. Do cardio for 20 minutes at least every other day. Cardio is your body’s ability to push oxygen throughout your body. You build cardio by pushing your heart rate up to its top quartile for 20 minutes. So, pick an exercise like jogging, swimming or, in my case, riding my mountain bike. Give yourself 40 minutes. The first 10 I use to do stretching exercises and light pedaling. Then go for it non-stop for 20 minutes, but stop immediately if you are in real pain. After 20 minutes, do a 10-minute cool-down of slower paced exercise. Traveling really messes up this routine. If you are on the road for more than a couple of days, then figure out what to pack and get your cardio workout. It is that important.

Try it for yourself and your kids

What about those five "to-do's" can you not implement? This diet fulfills our boomer desire to never grow old while still having fun. These actions do require change but no pain. They do take some time, about 20 to 40 minutes a day in exercising. We will watch more minutes of advertising during the Super Bowl. My experience from implementing these five action items is that I have lost weight, I am saving money compared to eating industrial foods and beverages, and I still enjoy happy hour. Doing cardio and getting an endorphin rush helps me feel better about myself and life. This diet also makes me feel good that I am adopting a lifestyle aligned with my millennial generation kids' focus on having a sustainable future.

My next article profiles what not to do if you want to lose weight sustainably. They are not as bad as you might think. Not only will these five "stop doing this" action items help you lose weight but they will also contribute toward a healthier environment for our kids.

Image credit: Bill Roth

Bill Roth is an economist and the Founder of Earth 2017. He coaches business owners and leaders on proven best practices in pricing, marketing and operations that make money and create a positive difference. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles business case studies of pioneering best practices that are proven to win customers and grow product revenues. Follow him on Twitter: @earth2017

Bill Roth headshotBill Roth

Bill Roth is a cleantech business pioneer having led teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and a utility scale, non-thermal solar power plant. Using his CEO and senior officer experiences, Roth has coached hundreds of CEOs and business owners on how to develop and implement projects that win customers and cut costs while reducing environmental impacts. As a professional economist, Roth has written numerous books including his best selling The Secret Green Sauce (available on Amazon) that profiles proven sustainable best practices in pricing, marketing and operations. His most recent book, The Boomer Generation Diet (available on Amazon) profiles his humorous personal story on how he used sustainable best practices to lose 40 pounds and still enjoy Happy Hour!

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