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Surviving the typical American diet

Many of us had a great time during the holiday season, visiting friends and family, watching football, and probably eating more food than we needed. What the heck. It was the holidays and all that home cooking was too good to pass up, right?

Unfortunately, for too many of us the overeating never stops. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) more than 39% of American adults are considered obese, overweight; that’s 93 million people, not including children, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30. The BMI is simply a “fatness” measurement determined as follows: BMI= weight in pounds multiplied by 703, then divided by height in inches squared. For example: (180 lb x 703 = 126,540) divided by (60“x 60” = 3,600) equals BMI of 35.

In many survival situations things can happen beyond our control such as accidents or storms, but losing weight and getting in shape is completely within our control and nothing is more important to our personal survival. And, just like wilderness survival the key to success is knowing exactly what to do and then having enough “want to” to turn that knowledge into effective survival action.

While many diet plans and weight loss programs can be confusing and hard to follow, I use a very straightforward weight loss routine. I call it 5N4 and I created it as a universal method for my overweight wilderness survival students to get back in shape. I’ve had students drop 12 pounds in six weeks just by sticking with 5N4.

Let’s start by looking at what might be considered a typical day of food consumption for millions of adults in America. The calorie counts shown are the general amounts for the particular food and serving size.

Starting with breakfast: cereal, whole milk, wheat toast, butter, orange juice; 600 calories. Lunch might include a hamburger with fries and a flavored soft drink; 850 calories. Dinner might consist of grilled chicken breast, rice, green beans, wheat roll, and an oatmeal cookie for desert; 730 calories. And, add a beer or glass of wine with dinner (120 calories) and a candy bar (200) mid-day snack, and we’re talking about a daily total of 2,500 calories.

According to Web MD, that many calories might be OK to sustain a 30-50 year old male who walks 3-4 miles every single day at a brisk pace of 3 miles per hour, in addition to doing their typical daily life activities. But, keep in mind that if that same individual is trying to lose any weight at all then the solution has to include a whole lot more exercise and cutting way back on caloric intake.

The 5N4 routine can help us to do both. It consists of five rules and four principles, all easy to remember and follow for as long as needed to lose weight.

Rule One: Cut out all deserts, sweets, crackers, chips, and bread of any kind. No cookies, candy, pie, cake, sweetened drinks, rolls, bagels, or toast.

Rule Two: Cut out all spirits and alcohol. No wine, beer, whiskey, scotch, bourbon, gin, rum, brandy, shine or any related drinks. This rule is more difficult because alcohol itself is habit forming. Simply having a beer every day after work creates its own physical and psychological craving that must be interrupted.

Rule Three: No “seconds” at any meal.

Rule Four: No snacks between meals.

Rule Five: No “sitting”; that is no prolonged sedentary activity such as spending hours at a time watching television, working on the computer, or playing video games. Cut back on sitting time with an active hobby or taking exercise breaks to go walking or jogging.

The Four Principles are just as easy to follow: limit lunch to just fruit or salad, drink plenty of water every day, eat only half of a restaurant dinner entree (save half for another dinner), and eat nothing after 9 p.m.

Always consult a physician before starting this or any other weight loss program. The 5N4 program should work for those who are willing to make the commitment. Learn more about survival and upcoming programs at www.mountaineerwilderness.com.