Well it's that time of year again when we all think about improving. Naturally weight change (I'm guessing reduction as I don't think there are throngs out there saying if only I could gain 20 pounds)is one of the top choices for New Year resolutions.
I've been kinda fat and happy. I gave up trying to lose weight and decided I was happy with the way I was. However, I let that slip even further. As I am a veteran of every diet out there since I was in my twenties (I'm fifty, about to be fifty-one this week), I was frankly just tired of trying. I felt that thirty years, some much more lean and mean than others, of dieting was enough. I guess the rest of America joined me in that resolution, because we (USA) are now an obese nation. OK. OK. I don't think you can blame the WHOLE obesity thing on me, but I am doing my part.
Evidently, we should all be alarmed as it will effect health care costs, dogs and cats living together, and the end of civilization; anyway, they make it sound like that. But here is something truly alarming-one in two American children will develop diabetes! My math is bad but I'm pretty sure that's half! Part of the problem is we eat way too much. In Texas, where I live, if we don't give you a heaping plateful, we haven't fed you.
I remember my mother telling me about growing up on a farm in Missouri in the forties. They got up before sun-up and had a big breakfast. This probably consisted of eggs, bacon and biscuits. They then went into the fields and did intensely manual labor until noon. They didn't have a lot of automation. My mother helped by grandmother prepare the noon meal which consisted of fried chicken, masted potatoes, vegetables, and biscuits. (My mother killed the chickens and plucked them which is why you started so early!) The men then went back into the fields until dark continuing intensely manual labor. My point, we eat the same way, but we don't do the intense labor that was associated with those high calorie meals. If you look at pictures of my mother's family from that time period, they all look so thin.
Last night Frontline did a piece of the obesity of America. Well, OK, it's really a problem if Frontline is on it. The program was called the Diet Wars, and was pretty good. The thing I took away from the program was that we can change little things, if you're not committed to a full-on assault on your weight right now, and still have good health improvement. Lower your caloric intake by 100 calories a day. Start trying to walk more. You can do this by just adding steps to your daily routine, if you truly hate exercising, such as parking further away from the building you work in. Take the stairs. Buy a pedometer to figure out your steps per day. They are cheap.
Well, all this talk of obesity has me willing to do at least this much. The problem with being overweight isn't that you are less of a person, it's that the health risks associated with the weight are more intense as we age. I can't think of anything sadder than to finally do the things you love, only to be knocked out by a health issue brought on by weight. We will probably live longer than any generation before us. But what would be the point if we don't have our health?
Here's some real easy, get started without too much pain way to change:This is from Health@RealAge.com. If you email them, they will send a daily healthy tip.
It Takes Three
Research shows that it may take as few as 3 weeks of healthy habits to lower your risk for heart disease. In a recent study, men who added exercise to their daily routine and adopted a low-fat, high-fiber diet experienced lower blood pressure readings and improved cholesterol levels after only 3 weeks.
You don't have to lose weight rapidly to reap rewards from exercise. Any exercise is better than none at all; even moderate-intensity exercise can improve your cholesterol levels and reduce your heart disease risk. Although you may not notice an immediate difference on the scale, your heart may benefit.
Walking: As Good as Jogging
In a recent study, overweight people who walked briskly for 12 miles per week experienced the same significant benefits to their cholesterol profiles as people who jogged 12 miles each week.
Take the Stairs
Climbing stairs could lower your triglycerides by 16%. According to one study, the benefits can come from as little as 6 minutes of climbing per day -- whether you use a stair-stepper at the gym or take the stairs in your office or home.
If you're charged up to do more, great. I encourage you to do so. Here's a web-site that I found because he commented on one of my posts. His name is Craig Harper and he is a motivational speaker, radio host, exercise scientist, and it would seem pretty nice guy. He was asked to give some motivational advise to several people who won exercise equipment. He, and they, are in Melbourne, Australia. It's the post of 12-22-06, Craig meets Kylie. Kylie is trying to lose weight and will post from time to time. I know I am going to be checking on Kylie's progress.
As for me, I'm starting by lowering my caloric intake and walking more. I'm getting my pedometer today! I've got too much to do to let my weight and/or the associated illnesses stop me. Hope you take the plunge if you've got a weight issue. Let's all be healthier in 2007!