Take Responsibility for Your Fitness

Time magazine’s cover story “The Myth About Exercise” made me mad. It looked like an irresponsible marketing ploy to sell newsstand copies. The Time article sends absolutely the wrong message to Americans who should take responsibility to do as much as they can to create and maintain good health. In this case, the magazine’s actions are detrimental both to individuals and our costly American health care system.

I was grateful for the LA Times response and accompanying comments from readers. GrandpaG’s was one of my favorites:

I just finished reading the Time article and was incensed at both the premise and the failure to recognize that any endeavor, weight loss, finances, relationships or career, requires at least a modicum of self control. Time has for years published articles absolving fat people of responsibility for their condition. Time has variously attributed obesity to genetics, brain cells, food processors and now exercise? Weight loss is a simple mathematical formula, regardless of how it may be more difficult for some to achieve than others. Calories in vs. calories out.

Linda Sherman white top
August 22, 2009

A major point of the Time Magazine article is that the benefits of exercise are undone by people rewarding themselves with high calorie treats. If this is true for a significant number of people, it is a sad state of affairs.

I do some kind of exercise every day. There is no reason to be starving before you exercise. I have never found exercise itself to make me hungry. I enjoy exercising because it makes me feel good. I’m sure there is some tipping point to getting started in this direction but I am confident it is worth it.

I frequently get asked how I stay fit. My regime is fairly simple, and I do not feel in the least bit deprived. I am never hungry, I am rarely sick and I generally feel great.

1. Lots of omega 3 rich mackerel, salmon, black cod and tuna (not from a can) – fabulous for your skin!
2. Secondarily tofu and turkey
3. Lots of vegetables (moderate legumes and corn), baked yams are OK
4. Brown rice
5. Lots of water
6. Nothing white: bread, rice, potatoes, mayonnaise
7. To the extent possible, no refined sugar, no bread (watch out for Chinese dishes cooked with sugar)
8. Limit alcohol to 1 – 2 times a week
9. Use olive oil, forget butter; nothing fried
10. Daily exercise

During a diet phase: NO carbs at night works like a miracle.

During maintenance (not diet) phase it is OK to go off these guidelines once a week.

I eat sugar-free high fiber cereal with fruit for breakfast. I fresh grind 2 tablespoons of flax seeds and add to the cereal. This is easier than it sounds: buy a cheap coffee bean grinder and dedicate it to this use. I use light Silk or skim milk.

I do not believe in “no carbs.” I do trust in the glycemic index – and with much regret have therefore given up beer and fruit juice.

I also take some high quality vitamin supplements.

Last year, I wrote about how to order well when you dine out .

I believe that we have a great deal of power in our lives. The first step in taking charge of that power is realizing just how much we can create ourselves. This applies not just to fitness, but to relationships and many other important areas of our lives.

About Linda Sherman

International, multicultural marketing pro, Linda brings a distinguished background of international subsidiary CEO/CMO to her Social Marketing expertise. These include CEO Club Med Japan, Barilla Japan and CMO Wal-Mart Japan. Managing Editor, Boomer Tech Talk, she is passionate about senior services including senior health care and housing. Linda Sherman has been featured and quoted in Forbes, The New York Times, Christian Monitor and other leading publications. She devised and implemented an innovative guerrilla-marketing plan for ZIMA in Japan that produced a lasting, profitable success.

Connect with Linda Sherman on Instagram, Threads and X @LindaSherman.


  1. Great rebuttal, Linda! I agree, it is our responsibility to do all in our power to make good choices and, failing that, to find out why we don’t and then change. Most of the time, we are simply unwilling to choose correctly. At least that is my weakness on which I am constantly working. I love the results when I choose right and exercise is essential! I like your regime, too, now I know why you look so great and have so much energy.

  2. It’s interesting that TIME Magazine takes that stance. I seems to me that people back east are much less exercise conscious than out in the west.Weight loss is a complex issue because so much of it also relates to self esteem. There can also be glandular issues at work, but in most cases the combination of exercise and diet, on a foundation of mental health, should work. Your diet sounds excellent. But it takes attention and intention to stick to such a regimen, and also to get your body to move when it doesn’t want to. And yes everyone is ultimately responsible for doing that for themselves, at any age.

  3. Nice post! I like how you said “I enjoy exercising because it makes me feel good”. It is easy to miss the point of all of these health and fitness efforts…it makes us feel good and helps us enjoy life!

    I did a short video response on YouTube myself http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKTIcl83NPw


    [rq=437082,0,blog][/rq]Flip-Flops and Sandals Make Me Money as A Corrective Exercise Specialist but I’d Rather They Just Wore Sneakers!

  4. Linda – Just looking at you is proof of the value of exercise. I can attest to that as I’ve known you FOREVER. I couldn’t agree more about the importance of regular exercise. It is my drug of choice. A natural and healthy way to feel good, plus it allows me to indulge in various foods I love without doing too much damage!

    For a healthy dose of laughter, I invite you to take a moment to see my latest column on MomLogic

    Thanks Linda for putting out such wisdom. Now, if only I could follow a bit better your diet suggestions. Food is my weakness but my fast metabolism sort of makes up for it.

    [rq=447040,0,blog][/rq]Welcome Readers, Publishers, and Editors

  5. I agree with you Linda it’s important that we invite some form of exercise in our lives, since we are sitting and working so much. I know for me yoga and Pilates are a huge help and also creating balance in my life with meditation and being out in nature. Recently I’ve started taking vitamins and cutting down on my alcohol intake and noticed I have more energy.

  6. Kim: That is so true. Life is about choices and we have the power to make those choices. I think we would agree we are not the “victims” of food manufacturers

    Tom: I would agree that self-esteem is involved. Good point.

    Eric: Thanks for bringing your video.

    Bruce: Fast metabolism, nice DNA gift.

    Clara: Congratulations Clara. Having seen your Zen Garden, I know how serious you are about that.

  7. I don’t know what it is but something in what I do allows me to sleep easily and soundly every night.

    I should mention don’t drink anything with caffeine.

  8. Add a tblspn of Apple Cider Vinegar– it evens out your PH balance. I have seen a huge difference by incorporating that in my diet.

  9. What a load of garbage. Both the La Times Magazine article and the original Times Article suck. Exercise and eating a healthy foods are important. This is true, but it won’t make you thin.

    Furthermore, if you start depriving your body of essential nutrients and ignore natural food cravings then your body is just going to fight back. In many cases it will enter hunger-mode/survival-mode and you might even end up gaining more weight, than you lost. Not to mention that your internal organs aren’t getting what they need and you risk diseases such as anemia or diabetes or hart conditions. Add to that, that more than 80% of the people who diet gain back all the weight they lost within five years, then you might wonder who is being more unhealthy. The people who try to get or stay thin at all costs or people who don’t try to link their health to their size?

    You simply can’t tell how fit someone is by looking at a damn number on the scale or by looking at their size. When are people finally going to get that through their thick skulls?
    [rq=861464,0,blog][/rq]“Women Drivers”

  10. “Weight loss is a simple mathematical formula, regardless of how it may be more difficult for some to achieve than others. Calories in vs. calories out. – L.A. Times”

    Sorry, it’s not. If you haven’t read about the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, I suggest you do.


    “They Starved So That Others Be Better Fed: Remembering Ancel Keys and the Minnesota Experiment”

    [rq=862482,0,blog][/rq]I exist. Really.

  11. mike jensen says

    Very helpful, key reasonable guidelines for an active person.

  12. Rob, Personal Trainer says

    The Time article has a basis in truth but in all its very irresponsible. For the most part people hear what they want to or in this case read what they want to. It’s an extensive article with about two paragraphs that mention the benefits of exercise. But what most people probably read over and over is exercise is not important and I’m wasting my time doing it, “just like I thought I was”.
    It says nothing about the important hormones that are released during exercise or what positive effect exercise has on mood and self confidence regardless of weather or not you maintain what would be considered an ideal body weight.
    It’s easy to say weight lose and maintenance is as easy as calories in and calories out, but in reality it is very complex. Otherwise 60% of the population wouldn’t be over weight and the incidence of diabetes wouldn’t be out of control. Genetics play a role but psychological, sociological, and cultural factors play a much greater role.
    When someone comes to me and asks me for help losing a significant amount of weight, one of the first questions I ask is “Do you come from a heavy family and is your significant other overweight as well?” 99% of the time the answer is a resounding yes. So in most cases I have to teach people to establish proper eating habits which they have never had and get their family, husband or wife on the weight lose train too. Otherwise that person will fail.
    So again, it’s another article that focuses on the individual and weight lose. We need more to see more that focus on the family as a whole. Maybe then America will stop the upward tend that’s been happening for the last century.

  13. Thank you Rob. You are a great trainer. I very much benefited from my sessions with you. It is not surprising that your comments would be smart and helpful

    Melissa – you gorgeous thing. If apple cider vinegar has anything to do with the way you look and the velocity with which you hit a tennis ball at me, it must be good stuff.

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