Burn Fat, Play Golf Longer

Full disclosure: I’ve been on a regimen devised by weight loss coach Larry Jacobs for two weeks, but I’ve been reluctant to cop to it, apprehensive that I wouldn’t make it even that far. For one thing, my weight issues are confined to the clothing-stretching realm, not the health-threatening category, so it lacks the urgency that some rightly feel. For another, the initial two-week segment of the eight-week program sounded daunting.


Turns out, though, that that initial cleansing interval of “Weight Loss for Golfers” not only was not so tortuous, it also produced the advertised result: immediate shedding of a half-dozen pounds, one peg less on the belt, more energy. But the other salutary by-products of the endeavor – reduced blood sugar levels and blood pressure, relief from joint inflammation, a less puffy appearance – are at least as significant as sheer weight loss.


(Indeed, Jacobs advises clients not to obsess over the scale, as it’s at best an imperfect yardstick of progress. Based on feedback from other clients, as well as my own experience, changes in appearance are more dramatic than the raw number of pounds shed might indicate.)


I’m naturally sworn to secrecy regarding a detailed description of how the program works – Jacobs avoids the term “diet,” as it implies short-term behavior modification rather than a lifestyle change – but, to oversimplify: The first two weeks consist of the elimination of foods — some obvious, others less so — that promote fat storage. Think vegan, with some modifications.


It sounds Spartan, but besides foods to avoid, Jacobs lists more than 50 to enjoy, including some protein from fish or chicken. You’re free to eat whenever you’re hungry, so it’s not a fast, nor is there any calorie counting.


(Exercise, moderate but preferably daily, is the second part of the equation, but this isn’t a departure from routine for me.)


The second two-week session begins the process of gradually reintroducing some of the banned foods to test for adverse reactions, while the two final segments focus on individual long-term plans for nutritional well-being. Each segment begins with a 60-90-minute teleseminar, also available on the Internet, and an accompanying pdf file. Jacobs also answers questions by e-mail and phone.


The editor in me notes that the production values of the materials are not what you’d call slick, but you tend to overlook that in light of Jacobs’ zealotry for his subject.


The connection to golf, too, of “Weight Loss for Golfers” is more thematic than substantive: Obviously, the discipline would benefit anyone wishing to lose weight, although Jacobs claims that 70 percent of golfers are overweight.


On the other hand, Jacobs – a 4 handicapper and Special Olympics golf coach – certainly knows his market: baby boomers and senior golfers heading down “the back nine of life” and thinking about extending their playing career as long as possible.


Jacobs has also had a number of golf celebrities who’ve endorsed the program, including Roger Maltbie, Dottie Pepper, Fred Funk, and Alan Doyle.


Another aspect of Jacob’s appeal to golfers is that he realizes that weight loss, like golf, is not a game of perfect. You’re going to make your bogeys – as I did in attending a lavish media dinner in Manhattan one night – as long as you continue to strive for a “cleaner” approach to nutrition.


Progress reports to follow.




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