AN OVERVIEW OF CRON – CALORIE RESTRICTION WITH OPTIMAL NUTRITION
The fundamentals, in my opinion, are straightforward: The fewer calories you consume within specific restrictions, the better your health and longevity. The advantages are proportional. The key benefit is avoiding or postponing major killer diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer (also see: Calorie Poisoning: Civilization’s Exploding Killer Disease). Other advantages include a better immune system, higher fitness, and deeper enjoyment of food.
Weight is the simplest measure to judge calorie intake in the long run. Getting to a minimum, healthy weight, on the other hand, should be done gradually – no more than 2% every month for overweight people, and 1% for everyone else. In any case, the weight should not fluctuate by more than 3% (+- 1.5%) when measured first thing in the morning.
Body fat and BMI are the easiest ways to estimate the lower healthy weight limit (see below).
However, lowering one’s calorie consumption and losing weight are insufficient: Good nutrition is critical – this is not about going hungry! The majority of nutrients should be obtained from foods rather than supplements.
There is also evidence that enhanced fitness (cardio & muscle) through additional exercise contributes to longevity – even in persons who complete CRON.
PRACTICING CRON: CRON is a lifestyle, not a diet – (that is, habits that you change permanently, rather than just a short-term weight-loss program). However, when you approach closer to your ideal weight, the emphasis moves from calorie restriction to nutrient improvement). This indicates that you must find a method to enjoy doing it; it is not something you must simply ‘get through.’ It also implies that slow, incremental adjustments are more effective – new habits must be created. This isn’t to say that one can’t go ‘cold turkey’ on bad eating habits.
Make CRON enjoyable by making it a journey of finding new tastes and habits. Instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t do or eat, consider what fantastic new things you may incorporate into your diet. As you become more conscious of tastes, ingredients, and possibilities, you will develop a new appreciation for food. Don’t criticize yourself for program failures or perceived limitations.
Learn about calorie and nutritional content, health indicators, and personal psychology (what you find easy or difficult, enjoyable or not, etc.). Discover several ‘tricks’ and approaches for making CRON easier and more enjoyable (see: Easy CRON and My CRON experience).
DEBUNKING SOME IMPORTANT (UNFORTUNATE) MISTAKES ABOUT CRON:
CRON does not have to be tough or unpleasant, or, as some critics put it, ‘a longer life not worth living.’ On the contrary, a sound approach to CRON will improve one’s appreciation of food and, in general, contribute to a higher quality of life. Hunger does not have to be an issue; many CRON participants struggle to consume 1500 calories a day because they are too full! Another thing to keep in mind is that it gets easier over time, both physically and psychologically, and since your relative calorie restriction actually decreases when you achieve your target weight.
CRON is not an all-or-nothing proposition. This refutes the argument that severe CRON is simply too tough or impractical, or that one cannot participate in particular sports, or appear buff, or do anything. Benefits are proportionate to the degree of restriction/nutrition -, for the vast majority of persons, the largest risk reduction % occurs with quite minor CR and nutrition increases.
CRON does not have to be difficult. You don’t have to spend hours shopping for and preparing specialty delicacies. Most CRON meals may be found in your local store, and many of them require little or no preparation. You are not required to weigh everything you consume! Simply educate yourself on how many calories various portion sizes of specific meals contain. The more you do this, the better your understanding of the tradeoffs will become.
Being on CRON does not preclude you from eating out, attending parties, or consuming high-calorie, low-nutrition meals. To begin, one can typically find some healthful fare almost everywhere and/or eat less. Furthermore, because CRON is a way of life rather than a diet, there is no danger of ‘falling off the wagon.’
CRON doesn’t necessitate superhuman willpower. It takes some education as well as a few intentional choices that allow you to modify your habits. One of the most important decisions is what foods to buy and keep in the house! It’s that simple.
CRON IS ALL ABOUT LIMITING CALORIES AND REDUCING HARMFUL SUBSTANCES WHILE MAXIMIZING NUTRIENTS. WHAT FOOD MIX BEST MEETS THESE CRITERIA?
The most crucial thing: Vegetables low in calories, high in nutrients, and high in fiber. Second, there’s fruit. Then, add tiny amounts of fish, lean meat, or other protein sources such as nuts, beans, soy, or eggs (white).
Try to avoid sugary beverages; (herbal) teas are far superior. Reduce your intake of sugary (and fattening) processed foods such as pastries, candy bars, and numerous ‘cereals.’
Reduce your fat intake because they contain many calories but few nutrients, and some fats are harmful: Trans fats are dangerous and should be avoided at all costs (anything fried, most baked goods, and most processed foods). Reduce your intake of saturated fats (go for nonfat dairy and lean meats) and/or switch to monounsaturated oils (olive, nut). An omega-3 fatty acid is the only form of oil that most individuals do not get enough of (fish, flaxseed).
Beans are delicious. Rice, pasta, and bread are borderline – relatively rich in calories but low in nutrients – avoid or drastically minimize portion size. Brown/whole wheat bread is ideal; avoid white/highly processed bread.
Some persons (particularly the unfit/overweight) are hypersensitive to high glycemic foods (foods that rapidly raise blood sugar levels). This is usually not a problem for folks who are far into a CRON program. However, eating a variety of little meals rather than a few large ones and eating balanced meals containing protein, (mono) fat, and fiber appears to reduce metabolic surges.