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Columns : In My Sights

A Weighty Issue

Getting and staying in shape is tough when you're on the road at odd hours and there's so much conflicting information about what works.

May 20, 2010  |  by Dave Smith - Also by this author


Something in the human soul makes us suckers for the "latest scientific diet" or some such thing. I've been following the research and trends in fitness and conditioning all my adult life, and have tried quite a few. I ran during the running craze, mountain biked during the mountain bike rage, fell a lot during the roller blade fad...you get my drift.

So, too, have food and weight issues been my avocation or, actually, for a time my vocation, and I have experienced the problems of gaining weight, losing weight, staying the same weight, worrying about weight, and not having a clue what weight I should be.

As a skinny kid I fought for years to gain a quarter-inch on my bicep. Then, one day, we discover our metabolism has changed. Now I am desperately trying to get rid of the cushiony little, or not so little, layer of fat that has developed around those hard-earned muscles; my fifties has brought the opposite problem of my twenties.

How to lose weight? I went down to my local bookstore and bought an overpriced cup of mocha cinnamon sweet delight temptation and since they had a special of the day a nice little chocolate mango bagel with absolutely no hydrogenated fat. I read a short article about Brangelina while I drank and ate as I didn't want to spill on the books.

When I finished my brief repast, I walked into the diet section. Wow, what a boom industry this has become. Low-fat, low-carb, no starch, no meat, no exercise, chocolates only, no sweets, eat that, not that, organic only, don't worry about organic, eat like a caveman. Soon my head was swimming.

Grabbing three of the coolest looking covers...I mean, most interesting books...I went back over to the bookstore coffee shop and had a "skinny drink and low-fat snack." All this was really confusing and all the books had studies showing their strategies really worked. What to do?

Having gained two pounds at the bookstore, I went home to begin my Internet investigation. After hours of reading articles with countless pop-ups selling books, devices, DVDs, personal consultations, and even dirty phone calls, I began to wonder if we really know the truth about weight loss or weight gain or even exercise. In fact, the more I looked into things (by the way the phone calls are a waste of time) the more I realized all diets work if you follow them, but you have to find what you can live with.

Crime fighters have a unique problem. Our shifts often make it tough to pick and choose our food plans. I have known some who brought the proverbial brown bag lunch, but for us our meals are also part of our socialization, our warrior bread-breaking ritual. Strict diets and rigid exercise programs work fine for someone in an office. But walking into my favorite restaurant after two bar fights and a domestic on swing shift, I was mighty hungry and ready to debrief with JW or Sam or whoever could clear for a meal and celebration of the great adventure of crime fighting.

So, what hat really works and fits the lifestyle of the modern non-cave dwelling, not rich enough to have a personal chef, meat loving crime fighter?

Well, 15 pounds lighter, I can say the Greek warriors were right: Moderation is the key. I started following the "Eat This, Not That" restaurant guide as I am on the road all the time and I quit eating so damn much food. Now I do exercise some too...not as much as I like...but when I have time I do good old fashioned interval training.

Finally, I did one thing my doctor asked me to do, and research says works, and that is simply write down everything you eat. When I read some of the stuff I eat I am amazed and feel a tad guilty, which helps me cut back on the next meal.

So, with 15 more pounds to go and hunger gnawing at my stomach, I find myself looking over at my dusty abs training machine leaning against the wall next to my full-body training swing-rapidly blade and think, I'll head to the gym after a light lunch!

Tags: Officer Fitness, Police Humor


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