Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog is a catchy title for a book about diet and exercise by Grant Petersen, who also wrote an exercise book called Just Ride. The author is a bicyclist who ate a heart-healthy diet and worked out religiously for 30 years but noticed in his forties that he was starting to gain weight.
I noticed this in my 40s, too, although on a lesser scale. (I’m not athletic.) I took half-hour walks regularly and ate moderately for 20 years, which had always been enough, until it wasn’t. It was that dreaded middle-aged spread I kept noticing on other people! And it was going to take work to get rid of it.
29. How to Get a Figure Like a Potato
Just eat them. And if you’re going to eat potatoes, what the hell, go the extra inch and eat French fries because there’s just not that much difference. On a bad-for-you scale, one’s a 98, the other’s a 109. And on a “good-for-you” scale, one’s a minus 20, the other minus 25. So really, take your pick.
The combination of lowering carbs and improving your exercise habits laid out in plain and simple terms in Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog works really well if you can keep it up, but it requires a drastic, permanent overhaul of your regular diet. Which I personally am not prepared to do. But this was the book that finally got me to give up my habitual half-cup of orange juice in the morning. (My husband and daughters have been telling me for while now that it’s no better than sugar water…But it has calcium added! And vitamin D!)
Actually, I have already changed my eating habits somewhat during the past two-and-a-half years of living with a low-carb eater. I reach for nuts as a snack now instead of crackers or a granola bar. I rarely eat pasta. We used to eat corn on the cob and potato salad all summer long. Not anymore! 🙁
36. Eight Foods to Avoid at all Costs
GRAINS: Whole grains, refined grains, any grains. No bread, no pasta, no cereal, and no hidden grains. Grains make you fat by jacking up your blood sugar and insulin, preventing fat burning, and promoting fat storage. Nix them all forever.
Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog could be a great motivator for someone who needs to bring down blood sugar and wants to store less body fat for those lean times that never arrive. But grains – even whole grains (my favorite!) – top the author’s list of foods to avoid at all costs. The list also includes fruit juice and corn. So I’m not ready to go whole hog on the low-carb thing, because although I can give up fruit juice, I can’t give up snacking on popcorn. Or eating grains. And I’ll probably still have French fries once in a while, too. But Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog had me convinced that I should go whole hog, so if you’re considering a low-carb diet, this could persuade you to try it.
The “don’t jog” section of the book is also laid out in easy-to-read, very short bursts with catchy headings.
“If your workout requires special clothing, it’s the wrong kind of workout.”
The “Don’t Jog” part of the title is based on the counter-intuitive idea that the body derives more benefit from short, intense bursts of exercise than from prolonged, less-intense forms of exercise, such as jogging. According to the author, the benefits of jogging long distances don’t outweigh the drawbacks; shorter, more intense forms of exercise do more to offset the toll a sedentary lifestyle takes on your body and frees you up to enjoy active hobbies (such as jogging or bike riding) for the sheer pleasure of them (without worrying about whether you’re getting your workout in.)
Jogging’s reputation for being healthy doesn’t jibe with reality. Do it if it’s the way you like to wind down or relax, but don’t do it for your physical health.
So, you can stop feeling guilty if you don’t like to jog, but you still need to exercise and add activity to your day – however old you are!
There are a few Atkins-style low-carb recipes in the back that sound very easy but – heavy on meat, cream, and blue cheese – might not sound appealing until you have “recalibrated your taste buds” (Section 102). The section includes recipes for snacks to have in between your meals of grilled meat and salads, and there recipes for a few desserts and main course meals (e.g. “Fantastic Fake Pancakes”, “Fantastic Fake Quiche”, and “Real Ratatouille”).
The Exercise Basics section of the book would be very helpful to someone looking for quick and inexpensive ways to get started or improve on an exercise regimen.
To sum up, reading Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog got me to say “yes” when my husband asked me if I wanted to go on his morning walk with him today, so if you’re looking for a kick-in-the-pants type of book to help you (and a spouse?) get in better shape, this might be the one for you.
Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog
Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the public library.