Tag Archives: improving health

Forever Young

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If I am the least bit honest with myself I will admit that I am very good at looking at myself through wishful thinking lenses. When I look in the mirror I don’t see what I look like, I see myself as I imagine I look. No, I’m not pretending to be younger, I just feel younger and maybe even think younger in some ways. It seems I am not the only one guilty of wishful thinking.

Baby Boomers have been rewriting the rules from the moment they appeared on the scene so it is no surprise that they want to feel younger, live longer and have more energy throughout their retirement years. A positive outlook can serve us in our lives, but when it comes to health it turns out Boomers may just need to work harder at it then they thought. According to this Vancouver Sun article baby boomers may not be as healthy as they think they are and their dreams of healthy, long lives enjoying travel and basking in their freedom may be threatened. And they’re probably not the only ones.

Let’s face it, we are all guilty of overestimating our health and fitness.  So what can we do?

Make sure you get a realistic assessment of your health and then take active steps to improve it.

1. Maintain a healthy weight. No, not the perfect figure or number on a scale, but a healthy weight for your body frame. This reduces the risk for a number of diseases that may not show up until later in life. A better way to track your weight is by waist size. Experts recommend women have a waist no larger than 35 inches, aiming for 32.5 inches or less. Men you want to be under 40 inches in waist size, aiming for 37.5 inches or less.Waist size of over 35 inches for women and over 40 inches for men is associated with higher risk for things like Type 2 Diabetes.*

2. Get nourished. Eat well balanced meals and snacks to feed your cells the nutrients they need to stay healthy and strong for a long life. Avoid fad diets and eat enough protein, carbohydrates and fats, yes FATS! Your body needs them all. You don’t need a PhD in nutrition and you don’t need to break the bank. A simple rule of thumb: shop the outside aisles of the grocery store and avoid the middle. The less processed the food the better.

3. Supplement wisely. It’s not what you eat, it’s what you absorb that counts. It would be great if we could get all our needs met through our food, but in a world where food is rarely allowed to ripen on the vine before it is picked, shipped and sold supplementing may be the only way to ensure you get everything you need. Choose the supplements wisely. Many bargain brands are not bargains when you realize the supplements do not break down in your digestive tract before they are eliminated. In other words you may as well place them directly in the bowl and flush! I recently did an experiment on my calcium supplements and placed a pill in a cold glass of water. To my surprise bubbles began to appear within seconds and within 10 minutes the pill was completely dissolved. That’s one supplement I know is being absorbed in my body! I highly recommend Arbonne’s vegan certified Essentials line for supplementing. If you’re going to spend money on supplements make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

4. Water does a body good. Unless you landed in the western hemisphere today you’ve probably heard the 8 glasses of water rule. Truth is that a hard and fast rule may not serve everyone well. Make sure you drink enough to not feel thirsty and then probably add one or two glasses. Unsweetened tea counts. Avoid sugary drinks, drinks with artificial sweeteners and anything that has more calories than your meal. A great rule of thumb is don’t drink your day’s worth of calories, eat them!

5. Move your body. Our bodies were designed for motion. They don’t like being inactive and begin to seize up and stiffen when we don’t move. Use it or lose it couldn’t be truer. You don’t need to sign up for the latest class, commit to a gym membership or buy expensive equipment. Just add brisk walking to your day and you’re on your way to improving your health. If you need a measuring stick then choose 30 minutes of brisk activity, or 10,000 steps (use a pedometer) or start simply by parking farther away from the entrance, using the stairs instead of the elevator and walking around while you are on the phone.  Activity does not have to be complicated to benefit your health.

Start with one of the above and once you’ve mastered it and made it a habit move on and add another. Experts say it takes either 21 consecutive days to create a new habit while others say it takes 40 days. Whichever it is it takes a conscious effort before it becomes a habit. So don’t give up. With a little bit of effort you really can make sure you are healthy enough to enjoy the plans and dreams you are making for your future.

Your turn: I’d love to know if you’re taking steps to live a healthy life no matter your age. What is your one big tip for staying healthy for life?

* Source: I Can Do This Diet, Don Colbert, MD, 2010 Published by Siloam, A Strang Company, Florida

 

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Waiting for the Magic Bullet

So this morning I came across a book review of Dr. Don Colbert’s “I Can Do This Diet” book. The reviewer’s basic gripe was the book talked about sensible eating, eliminating foods that were high on the glycemic index but low in nutritional value and regular activity for balance, but Dr. Colbert didn’t have anything new to say. So what was the reviewer expecting? A top secret magic bullet to solve the weight issue without having to live a healthy life?

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, a few pounds or a ton (figuratively of course) you know that it takes dedication, work and there simply are no short cuts. Even if you seem to find a quick way to lose the weight it comes back on just as quickly because there really is no way around having to change your lifestyle from being solution oriented (go on a diet to lose some weight) to one of being results oriented (eat better, exercise more, become healthier resulting in weight loss).

As a child I never struggled with weight because I was active and food just provided fuel for my activities. But in the tween years food became a means of numbing pain and the added weight a buffer between me and the source of pain. That’s another blog at another time. The effect of that period of my life was that as an adult maintaining my healthy weight has been challenging at times, especially after having two babies within 18 months in my mid 30’s.

Believe me when I say I’ve looked for the magic bullet, the quick fix, the easy to follow system that didn’t take too long and wouldn’t be too complicated. I’ve tried a lot of things. And yes some of them seemed to work quickly but as soon as I stopped following the plan the weight came back on and brought an extra friend or two for good measure.  Deep down I knew that what needed addressing was my using food to soothe myself and a commitment to eating healthy, exercising regularly and choosing health.

At the end of the day I realized no magic bullet exists and never will. There never will really be anything other than healthy eating and regular physical activity – in other words a healthy and active lifestyle. Yet our generation seems determined to find a magic bullet for weight loss and everything else. Fad diets come and go and get recycled under new names. There’s the ketone-, the liquid-, low-carb, no-carb, low-fat, high-protein-, chips & salsa- (I kid you not), detox-, soup- diet and they all work for a little while but when we go back to eating the way we did in order to gain the weight in the first place the results are predictable. As I’ve said before if we focus on solving problems rather than outcomes from the process we end up in this predictable cycle of gain and loss and gain some more.

You know people who keep looking for the magic weight loss bullet. They keep hoping they can have their cake and eat it too. There’s also people looking for the magic debt reduction bullet, the wealth creation bullet, the great relationship bullet, the parenting bullet, the fame and fortune bullet. We all want to snap our fingers and have all our dreams come true without the effort. Guess what, it just doesn’t happen that way. Ask those who have won the lottery in the past. How many of them kept the wealth? Life just doesn’t happen that way. There are no magic bullets but anything is possible if you are willing to work at it, learn, change and grow.

So are you looking for any magic bullets?