Homer Simpson Weighs in on Diet and Exercise
When it comes to diet and exercise, millions of Americans defy true logic and make up their own rules, just like junk food-eating cartoon character Homer Simpson. That’s why we wondered how Homer would respond to serious questions about diet and exercise. Check out Homer’s responses below, but more importantly, see what Dr. O’Keefe has to say about Homer’s advice. And remember, Homer is a cartoon character. Never, ever take his advice to heart!
Editor’s Note: When it comes to diet and exercise, millions of Americans defy true logic and make up their own rules, just like junk food-eating cartoon character Homer Simpson. That’s why we wondered how Homer would respond to serious questions about diet and exercise. Check out Homer’s responses below, but more importantly, see what Dr. O’Keefe has to say about Homer’s advice. And remember, Homer is a cartoon character. Never, ever take his advice to heart!
Reader: I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
Homer: You are born with a heart that has only a fixed number of heartbeats. When you use them up, it’s over. So quit wasting your heartbeats on exercise. It will just wear out sooner. Speeding up your heart won’t make you live longer, just like driving your car faster won’t make it last longer. Want to have a longer life? Take a nap.
Reader: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
Homer: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.
Reader: There must be some advantages to participation in a regular exercise program?
Homer: I can’t think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is “No pain…good.”
Reader: Should I cut down on sugar and snack food and eat more fruits and vegetables instead?
Homer: Eating a healthy diet won’t make you live longer, it will just seem that way. My policy is, “If it’s green, I don’t eat it.” I do, however, make exceptions for apple-flavored Jolly Rancher candies and green M & Ms. Besides, sugar is from sugar cane and sugar beets; and flour comes from wheat. And everybody knows potatoes are healthy vegetables. So when you feel as though you are not getting enough fruits and vegetables, have a can of Coke and a bag of potato chips.
Reader: Are beer and wine bad for me?
Homer: This gets back to my earlier point about fruits and vegetables. Scientists tend to divide everything on Earth into three basic categories: animal, vegetable, and mineral. Obviously, beer and wine are not animals or minerals, so they must be vegetables, right? Beef is another good source of green, leafy vegetables. After all, the cow is just an efficient mechanism for changing field grass into real food. If you need more vegetables, my advice is to have a burger and a beer.
Reader: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?
Homer: You’re not paying attention! Foods these days are fried in vegetable oil. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?
Reader: Is chocolate bad for me?
Homer: Are you crazy? HELLO…cocoa beans are just another vegetable! Chocolate is the best feel-good food around.
Reader: Do I need to worry about my weight?
Homer: Worrying is the worst thing you can do for your heart. Besides, you are allowed to gain 10 pounds every decade you live. So if you’re 50, and your weight isn’t more than 50 pounds over what your doc tells you it oughta be— you’re good.
Reader: How about blood pressure?
Homer: In this case, it’s 100 plus your age. If you are 70 and your top blood pressure number is 170— forget about pills and just relax like I do with a doughnut and a cigarette. Anyways, who wants to live to be 90? I figure "live fast, die young," and avoid five or 10 years in a nursing home.
Well I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have about food, exercise, diets and health. Now go back to watching TV and have a cookie.
Dr. O’Keefe Responds:
Homer, what can I say? You are a poster boy for the 21st century American diet and lifestyle. I will concede that dark chocolate and red wine contain more antioxidants than most vegetables. Indeed, a little alcohol is good for you, but just because beer is sold in six-packs, doesn’t mean that a standard-sized serving is six cans. When you go with the flow of mainstream America today, you will find yourself “up a creek” before long. We know how to reinvigorate your life and rejuvenate your heart, but it does not involve taking the path of least resistance. Instead, take the path less traveled today – the one upon which you hike or run; and thrive by eating the natural whole foods for which you are genetically designed. This is the path to a fitter, stronger, healthier, and happier you.
And about that “finite number of heartbeats theory” – nonsense! If you treat your ticker right, it is good for 4 billion beats or more (enough to get you through 10 decades of life, while exercising every day). Your heart, like your mind and the rest of your body, will rust up from not enough exercise and too much stress, long before it will wear out from overuse. Homer, do you want to know who wants to live to be 90 years old? A vigorous 89-year-old like my patient Paul who still walks daily with his dog, enjoys cheering for the Chiefs and travels around the country with his wife visiting family and friends. He confided to me last month that his ambition in life is to live to be 100 and then be murdered by a jealous husband.
As for blood pressure, the top number should be less than 130 regardless of how many candles are on your birthday cake. Weight? You can ‘guesstimate’ that your ideal weight should be not more than 20 pounds over what it was when you graduated (or in your case Homer, when you dropped out) from high school. Your BMI (weight divided by height) is 31 which places you in the obese category, so Homer you either need to lose that spare tire around your waist or grow about 9 inches taller. Speaking of your waist, it should be less than 40 inches for men and less than 35 inches for women. And Homer, your waist is not way down there below your belly where you wear your belt. No, your waist is the part of your body that enters the doorway first when you walk into a room. Yeah, up there closer to your belly button!
So go ahead and rationalize about why your junk food diet is okay, and joke about the fact that the only exercise you get is walking to the frig and back during commercials. But your body doesn’t understand excuses; it only suffers and deteriorates while you kid yourself into thinking “if everybody in America lives this way, how bad can it be?”
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James O’Keefe is a practicing preventive cardiologist at Cardiovascular Consultants of the Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute located in Kansas City, MO. He is actively involved with clinical research, has published over 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and is the lead author of several books including The Forever Young Diet & Lifestyle.