Recently, a friend of mine wrote a post about exercising as we get older. The gist of her piece was realizing that you don’t have to kill yourself to be in shape. But when does that realization hit? Is it triggered by the pain following an overzealous workout? Or simply an internal conversation reminding you that pain isn’t necessarily the conduit for a fit body. For most of us, it’s likely the former versus the latter.
At this stage of my life I’m no longer interested in working out to be a mean, lean fighting machine. I work out to feel good and to fight gravity as much as possible. I work out because it’s my medicine of choice. I can either pop pills or exercise. I exercise because I feel better mentally and physically. I work out because exercise keeps me young, agile and strong. I work out because I’m a very responsible person and working out is being responsible not only for myself, but for those I love.
So why is it that many people still don’t exercise? During my 25+ years in the industry, the following were the most popular reasons people didn’t exercise.
1. It’s too time consuming
2. I’m too old and the pain is not worth it.
3. It’s too hard
4. I don’t get results
5. I can just change my diet and I’ll be fine.
Here is my response to the above.
1. It’s too time consuming. According to research boomers spend about 27 hours a week on the internet. Yes, 2-7. My friends, that’s a part-time job! Exercise requires 30-60 minutes a day. If you can carve out time for the internet, favorite television shows, etc. you can make time for exercise. Use the internet as incentive. “After I walk for 30 minutes I can then check out the internet.” Remember, too much sitting can be deadly.
2. Too old and painful- Not buying it. I know hundreds of men and women well in to their 70′s and 80′s that exercise every single day. Some suffer from arthritis, some from old sports injuries, but they swear that if they didn’t exercise the pain would be significantly worse. They also shared that because of exercise they are medication free. You’re never too old to move.
3. It’s too hard. You should never exercise to the point of pain. Exercise should be energizing. If you’re a beginner, please don’t take an advanced class thinking it will be more effective, it won’t. Start off with baby steps. If you take it slow and easy, you’re likely to stick with exercise. If you beat yourself up, you’ll quit. Use common sense, don’t let ANYONE tell you how hard to push yourself. You know your body, honor it and challenge it appropriately.
4. No results. The greatest revelation I had a few years ago was the understanding that exercising for unrealistic expectations (perfect body, perfect abs, legs, etc.) is an exercise in futility. I have seen more people give up exercise because they weren’t getting the results they wanted. Nine times out of ten, the expectations of my clients was completely unrealistic. Here’s the best reason of all to exercise, it’s good for your health. If you feel better you’ll look better. Magazines or television shows that make promises or show incredible results are not to be believed. No two bodies are the same and the truth is, the older we get, the more realistic we have to be about exercise. Realistic expectations are key in maintaining a healthy, rewarding relationship with exercise. I exercise to be engaged in life and live more fully. I owe my energy to exercise.
5. Change your diet. Granted, 65% of weight issues with people are nutrition based. However, exercise is absolutely vital. I’ve seen many people just diet and never exercise. They have terrible muscle atrophy, brittle bones and many problems that come from too little movement. A combination of a healthy diet (not deprivation) and regular exercise is the secret to good health. Personally, I get in about 7-8 hours of exercise a week. And that’s not all in the gym, it might be mowing the lawn, intense yard work, etc. If I’m active above and beyond walking out to get the mail, it counts.
Please note, there are days when I don’t feel like working out, my life will not end, it will go on with or without my workout. I’ve learned to cut myself some slack when I skip a day here and there. However, missing more than 2 or 3 days is a warning sign, pay attention. Unless of course you’re sick.
There really is no reason to skip exercise. I always used to tell my clients that a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. Don’t compare, don’t create unrealistic expectations. Treasure your body, marvel at it’s potential and treat it with the respect it deserves. That my friends is the secret to a beautiful relationship.
Here’s to never wishing for more time, but making the most of it.
By Nicki On October 7, 2013 9 Comments
Me: We need to talk. Let’s have a seat, this conversation is long overdue.
For years you did everything I wanted. You got up every morning without pain or creaks. You ran up and down stairs with little effort. We took an exercise class and you responded with the good kind of sore which prompted me to do it again. At which point you made it very clear, too much exercise and you don’t get along. I got the message.
For quite some time we worked together liked a fine tuned machine. I did anything I wanted physically and you accommodated. But all of a sudden you stopped. I found myself questioning activities, wondering if you would come along for the ride or teach me a lesson by making the next day’s simplest of tasks painful.
Provide specifics you ask? Why sure.
I used to run like there was no tomorrow. No discomfort or pain, I just ran. Recently my hips hurt, I get twinges in my knees and well quite frankly, every morning I wake up it takes a good 10 minutes to work out the stiffness. Honestly, I’m not so sure you get how frustrating this is for me.
Another example. you know how I love to write, I’ve been writing for years. All of a sudden the joints in my hands are sore after too much tapping on my keyboard. Hey, if you want me to give up writing, you’ve got another thing coming. But come on, a little reprieve would be nice.
Most recently I was out in my garden doing some weeding and there it was, the back pain everyone talks about. I’ve always been good to my back, so why the zinger? Was it something I said?
So, it seems that if you’ve got a beef with me, now is the time to get it off your chest so we can continue this relationship and feel good about it. O.K. I’m done, now it’s your turn.
Body: Well, I’m not quite sure where to start but let’s start with basics. I think I’ve given you a pretty good ride so far. Despite the periodic abuse during your younger years, you’ve been pretty good to me. But the running, you never should have done that marathon. That pretty much did me in. I can only support you so much before I have to kick in “conserve mode” in order to preserve you for the next 50 years.
I feel like I’ve been more than fair to you. You still run, you still take stairs 2 at a time, and you’re pretty active. At the halfway point in your life, that’s impressive.
Rather than telling me everything I’m doing wrong, how about a pat on the back for what I do right? I think we have a great understanding. You take care of me, I take care of you, pretty simple. If there’s aches and pains here and there, get over it, some of my other body friends are in far worse shape. But that comes from the partnership, they don’t have a very good one with their owners. I think we have a pretty good one.
After all these years, we’ve worked well together and I foresee that relationship continuing as long as you keep on respecting what I can do and honoring what I can’t. All body’s have limits and though I certainly like to be challenged from time to time, don’t be stupid. I’m the only body you’ve got. Treat me well and I will reciprocate.
Me: I stand corrected. Thanks for all you’ve given me. I look forward to a long, healthy relationship. And most of all, I’m lucky I have you. Thank you.
(Reprinted from MoMentumNation 10/7/13)
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On September 30, 2013 14 Comments
My friend and I were out for breakfast the other day and we started talking about the importance of self-care. We discussed friends our age that due to self-care negligence are suffering from a number of maladies. We then discussed the perception by others that just because we both work out doesn’t mean we love it, it simply means we’d rather not deal with the consequences if we don’t.
After 20 plus years in the fitness industry I saw my share of clients who suffered with a number of preventable diseases most common, high blood pressure and diabetes. The truth is that for many of them (other than Type 1 clients) the diseases were 100% preventable. 100%! Yet, after years of neglect, the body begins to shut down and many feel it’s too late to intervene. It’s never too late.
I was never an athlete. I wasn’t raised being active and never did much of anything until at the young age of 16 I found myself 50 plus pounds overweight. I started reading and implementing what I learned about nutrition and exercise. One year later, I lost the extra weight and never felt better.
The hardest part of being or becoming a healthy weight is maintenance. I can say with certainty that the way I felt 50 pounds heavier, versus the way I felt after, set the stage for a lifelong dedication to exercise and eating well. To this day, I continue learning. There are also plenty of times I need to push myself to exercise, like now I should be running, I’m writing. I’ll go, I’ll go.
Along the way I’ve picked up some nuggets that help me stay on track and get my butt out of bed on those mornings where my toasty bed begs me to stay. See if some of these may help you.
1. We all want to feel good. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet feels good.
2. We all want to look good. There is no doubt that exercise and a healthy diet result in looking vibrant and well.
3. We all want to fully engage in our lives. I have seen too many people avoid certain situations because their weight kept them from participating. Life is too short and the older you get the more you realize it. Becoming engaged starts with becoming active.
4. We all have moments where we just don’t want to. There are times when you need to accept you don’t want to and move on or times you need to kick yourself in the arss and just do it! You need to understand the difference between giving your body a day of rest or giving up on your body.
5. Unrealistic expectations are the undoing of many well intentioned exercisers. None of us, no matter how we exercise will ever have a perfect body, ever. So what? Exercising automatically kicks up self-confidence. When you move more you feel better about yourself. Let that be enough. It’s not a competition.
6. Have fun. For the love of God, find something you enjoy. And don’t say, “There’s nothing I like.” If you say that it’s because you haven’t found it yet. Maybe you don’t like crowds, so stop joining a gym. Maybe you don’t like exercise clothing, don’t wear it. You don’t like running? Biking? Swimming? Then don’t. There’s plenty, literally hundreds of options. Create a list, try everything, dancing,. martial arts, hiking, whatever. Find something. If you can’t, call me, we’ll talk.
7. Make the most out of your life. The truth is that if you really, really want to feel your best, you must care for yourself the best. No one can take better care of you than you! So many people give, give, give and forget themselves in the mix of things. Carve out some me time, even if it means 15 minutes of stretching before bed. You will limit the quality of your life if you don’t take care of yourself, period.
8. Find a role model. My role model is a gorgeous woman who is likely now in her 70′s and has been an active woman since I met her over 20 years ago. She’s always got a smile on her face, a kind thought to share and is regularly active. She’s impressive. I want to be her when I’m her age.
9. Be a role model. If any would have ever told me that someday I’d be a mentor for exercise I would have laughed, a lot. By changing your life, you may inspire someone else. Trust me, if you’re struggling with eating well and getting active, there are likely people around you who struggle with the same. Be the change, start the movement and watch the lives you can change, beginning with you.
10 Set a dream activity. Ever wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro? Go on a safari in South Africa? Bike Australia? Participate in a fundraising walk? Create the steps to make it happen. It will be so cool when you do. I know because I’ve done it.
I hope this helps if you’re at a crossroads with getting yourself on a healthy track. Please don’t wait until January 1st, because statistically those resolutions are short lived. Baby steps today, climbing mountains tomorrow, why not?
Here’s to never wishing for more hours in a day, rather making the most of them!
By Nicki On September 23, 2013 8 Comments
We’ve all got that friend. Or maybe, you’re that friend. The one that effortlessly puts together outfits no matter what the occasion and always looks fantastic. Whether it’s a quick run to the store, or out for a casual evening with friends, every outfit is fab and flawless. How do they do it?
There is not a single fashion gene in my genetic makeup. Nope, when it comes to fashion, a comfy pair of jeans and t-shirt is my go-to wardrobe. I’ll push the limits and wear it as often as I can.
I have been known to have friends over only to look through my closet and help put outfits together. When I’m forced to shop, I’m a mannequin shopper. I see what looks cute on a mannequin and I find the pieces and like magic, I’ve got an outfit. However, that doesn’t always work in my favor as mannequins have no boobs, hips, waist or butt.
As fall brings it cool nights and temperate days, I’m thrilled to make the shift from t-shirts to sweatshirts and jeans. Trust me, it’s a wee bit traumatic making that shift, fashion change is tough for me. However, I adore comfort. At this stage of the game, it’s function over fashion. Did I mention I adore black? ‘Sigh’
I know how to be comfortable, but fashion, not so much. Even with my workout gear I look boring. I have a friend who always looks adorable. Me, I look like I’m going to work out somewhere in my basement but hey, I’m comfortable.
You know what I would love? If someone would create Garanimals for adults. Remember Garanimals? It’s a clothing line designed to help Moms mix and match their children’s clothing. Hello? What about adults?
How cool would that be? Just match up little tags and in no time at all, you’ve got a wardrobe requiring zero fashion sense, simply the ability to match animals on the tags.
But wait a minute, why not adultify(I don’t think it’s a word, but it makes my point) Garanimals? Instead of animals it could be Garwineables. You match Merlot tags with Merlot tags, Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Sauvignon, etc. Or what about matching region tags with bottles of wine tags. Ooh, I might be on to something. Just remember, you heard it here first! Not to mention, I could handle that kind of shopping!
So what about you? Are you the one who can throw anything on and look fabulous? Or like me, are you clinging tight to function over fashion?
If you’re like me, I have found a couple of fun sites that make shopping, or getting ideas about fashion manageable, Polyvore, Stich Fix. If you’ve found others, please share I need all the help I can get.
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.
By Nicki On September 1, 2013 12 Comments
When I owned my training studio, I would often tell my clients that exercise is not a punishment, it’s a privilege. My clients would give me an odd look as ask, “How’s it a privilege? It’s not fun.”
Well, I suppose it’s all in how you look at it. I am one of those people that takes stair steps two at a time. Every time I reach the top of the stairs I am thankful for the strength, agility and balance to be able to do that. Being active is not only good for your health, it’s also a way of honoring a body that allows us to do so much.
The fact that I am healthy and able to be active is something I never take for granted. Every time I go out for a run, walk or bike ride I am grateful. I was reminded of this just a couple of days ago when I fractured my toe.
My daughter had just agreed to train with me to do her very first 1/2 marathon. Thrilled at the opportunity to train with my daughter, we set out our training schedule and ran our first 3 mile training session last week. The next day was an off day, so I did a bit of strength training, looking forward to our next training run on Saturday.
However, the running Gods had different plans for me. While out with friends on Friday, the rain slicked up the grass and I banged the crapoli out of my toe on a makeshift walkway. Yes, I saw stars.
I limped back to my crew and was reminded I had to walk about a mile or so back home. I complained the whole way wondering if it was a sprain or actual break. Either way, treatment is simply ice and patience. Ugh.
I woke up to a black and blue foot, discomfort and pain that was not even suited for walking much less running. My daughter had to go out on her own while I stayed at home “resting”. I don’t like to rest, it makes me crabby.
So here I am, 3 days post injury and wondering how quickly I can get back to running or even walking pain free. Every day I think about how much I miss my running and realize that exercise of any kind really is a privilege. And like other things in life, sometimes you don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Exercise- punishment or privilege, what do you think?
Here’s to never wishing for more time rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On August 25, 2013 No Comments
This past week I had a very dear friend come and spend a few days. The few days she was here were precious to me. There is truly no greater laughter than between two good friends that know each other so well.
I find that over the years, it is laughter that tends to direct me. Although life certainly has it’s share of tears to hand out, I take on what’s necessary and rid myself of what is not. Laughter is welcome anytime, anywhere and never gets old. I believe without question that the secret to staying young and healthy comes from laughter.
According to Helpguide.org, laughter has many benefits:
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Just think, when you’re with family and friends enjoying one another’s company and having some great laughs, you’re also improving your health as well as the ones you’re with. You get what you give!
I have heard people say, “No one is that happy all the time!” I have to disagree. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Each and everyday I choose to be happy.
I also choose to surround myself with people that share happiness and generously pass it on. There are certainly times where happiness in my life takes a break, but it’s usually a serious life challenge or tragedy that removes my daily dose. However, even with tragedy come insight. With insight comes a sense of purpose and with that comes a better understanding and ultimately happiness.
When my friend and I spent two days together we reminded one another that the best part of hanging out is the great ab workout we get from laughing! I’m grateful for friends and family that bring laughter so easily into my life. I’m grateful for the ability to choose happiness over sadness. With each new day brings an opportunity to choose and I choose happiness. You?
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On August 19, 2013 No Comments
I’m in love, again. Romance between me and the world of fitness has been reignited. After recently attending IDEA World Fitness Conference, the largest health and fitness conference in the world, I’m giddy with excitement knowing that after years of wondering, where the fitness love is for a boomer, I’ve found it!
For 10 years I was a speaker at this conference, but this year I attended as press. So cool. I was able to learn, mingle and sample new fitness gadgets with no worry of a pending lecture.
In the last few years the fitness industry has been heavily influenced by research touting high intensity exercise as your best defense against extra pounds and aging. I don’t know about you, but this gal has taken a few of those crazy high intensity classes and I left feeling every bit my age.
For those that love the Cross Fit, Insanity, P90X knock yourself out. The beauty of age is wisdom and I know that jumping around as if my knees had brand new shock absorbers is a bad choice. Further, if my wisdom is slow to engage my bladder jumps in and says, “No!” (TMI?)
What I discovered at this conference is although crazy exercise programs are alive and well for those naive enough to think they’re indestructible, there are programs out there for people like me. In the words of Cindy Lauper, “Girls just want to have fun!” And this girl is no exception!
I need to like what I’m doing, and if I’m going to be consistent with exercise it has to have a likeability factor. If you’re not enjoying what you do, seek out something else. I loathe when someone says, “Walking is for weenies.” When I hear that my impulse is to challenge them to a walk-off, but I stifle myself.
It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something every single day, even if its only 15 minutes. Do what you enjoy and embrace the opportunity to connect with your body. As I get older, I find myself participating in activities that make me stronger and more flexible without feeling like I have to compete with kids 20 years my junior.
So keep your eyes peeled for new programs coming your way including indoor SUP training created by Laird Hamilton. I had the unfortunate position of getting a photo with him. Some body has to do it! Cardio Bounce (old school mini tramps amped up) and of course the plethora of dance classes, no coordination required. Well maybe a bit, but you can fake it.
Although I’m a runner, I am we’ll aware of my limitations and at this years fitness conference it seems fitness pros are getting it and offering classes that are not only fun, they’re inspiring and appropriate. What a concept.
(Original post 8/13/13 – http://www.momentumnation.com/fitness-love-for-boomers/ )
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On June 5, 2013 3 Comments
I had the good fortune of attending an event in Chicago, Farms to Forks which is three days full of lectures and food demonstrations geared to educate attendees about the power of health-promoting foods and the reality of health-harming foods.
Eating well has become more and more difficult. Our society makes it easier to eat poorly vs. healthy.
Even after 30 years of studying food, at times I still find myself overwhelmed with information. However what I heard over and over with every speaker, (obviously I’m simplifying), is that you can’t dispute that fresh fruits and veggies are better than processed, fried or fast-food. It’s hard to disagree with the fact that whole grains and legumes are better for you than a McDonalds breakfast sandwich or other boxed foods.
With every diet that comes along there’s always a catch, always a list that must be adhered to for proper weight loss. Most often diets are temporary as there’s no autonomy. Although the speakers at the event have their opinions along with science to back it up, they are all vegans, a strict way to live. However, I walked away with a different perspective. I got the impression that education comes first, realization comes second and implementation comes third. A sound approach to healthy eating.
When I owned my fitness business, I would tell my clients, “Start with one change, maybe adding breakfast to your diet or stop eating ice cream before you go to bed. As you master that change, add on another.” I felt the same way after walking away from this conference. I didn’t feel I had to be perfect, I simply had to be aware and then change what made sense for me .
I’m not sure I’ll ever adopt a vegan diet, but I know that I have already made some changes that I know will be permanent. The manufacturing and marketing of bad-for-you food is out of control. I thought it was bad when my kids were young, it seems to be worse now. Young mothers are confused but I simply remind them, “There are no labels to read on fresh, whole foods. Stick with them as much as you can.
One of my favorite parts of the conference was listening to Ann Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn, mother and daughter duo full of enthusiasm and passion for a plant-based diet. Ann(in her latter 70′s) shared her tips on plant-based eating while Jayne shared some fantastic recipes that even a carnivore might consider. I’ll share those recipes in my next blog. But for now, here are some take-aways from the event. I hope you find them interesting.
1. Chronic disease is a result of a poor diet, period. – Dr. John McDougall
2. There are no adverse effects of clean water and clean food. – Dr. John McDougall
3. Alcohol doesn’t turn in to fat, it simply lowers inhibitions and increases caloric intake. – Dr. John McDougall
4. The U.S. does 1.2 million stents per year and mortality is 2%. – Dr. C. Esselstyn
5. Red meat increases the risk of heart disease. – Dr. C. Esselstyn
6. Carbs- It’s not about glycemic index, it’s about fiber, density and calories. - Jeffrey Novick, R.D.
7. CRAP= Cut, refined and processed foods. - Jeffrey Novick, R.D.
8. If people eliminated liquid calories from their diet, they could lose 40 pounds in a year. (The avg person gets 400 cals from liquids). - Jeffrey Novick, R.D.
9. Never believe anything on the front of any pacakge, EVER! Always read the nutrition facts label AND ingredient list. - Jeffrey Novick, R.D.
Here’s to healthier eating for you and your family!
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.
By Nicki On April 8, 2013 8 Comments
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” This quote is from a very famous 1976 movie called, Network. I was a teen when this came out and I recall seeing Peter Finch brilliantly deliver that famous line as Howard Beale. Now it’s my turn to use it.
It’s April, spring is a comin’ and with that comes the excess of weight loss ads. Even on my Facebook page there’s a push for a green tea bean and how to burn 30 lbs of belly fat per month effortlessly. It’s killing me. Quite honestly, I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!
Right around the time Peter Finch was given his Academy award for his role as Howard Beale, I entered the health and fitness industry. I was four.
Although awareness about obesity has certainly increased, obesity back in 1976 was 8.7%., and today it is 34.7% . Obesity and its related diseases costs our country 190 billion dollars in healthcare and lost productivity. Yet, health clubs and diet programs grow in popularity right along with the American waistline.
The thing that leaves me scratching my head is why those that desperately need health clubs don’t go. Given my experience from a personal and professional perspective, I can answer that question, intimidation, unrealistic expectations, fear, feeling out of place, indifference from staff and lack of the truth. Now before my health and fitness friends shout at me, there are a number of very honest, ethical health and fitness professionals and clubs I admire. I just wish there were more. However, with every great, honest health and fitness pro, there are 5 behind him or her waiting to push the latest fad diet, supplements and God knows what else.
I was in business for 20 years doing everything I could to educate, motivate and inspire my clients to get healthy the old fashioned way. I hope I made a difference to some. But, thanks to The Biggest Loser and uneducated fitness pro’s that promise 20 pounds in 20 days, my honesty and real life approach was trumped all the time.
- Consumers have got to know at this point that anything that sounds too good to be true- is.
- Consumers have to know that it starts with taking a long, hard look at lifestyle and realizing that things have to change, not overnight, but change must occur.
- Consumers have to know that beating yourself up mentally and physically is NOT the way to achieve good health, it’s quite the opposite.
- Consumers need to know that there are health and fitness professionals out there actually interested in helping clients go through the process, safely and effectively so that weight loss isn’t temporary but sustainable.
- Consumers have to understand, work is involved and at times it’s hard. Then it simply becomes a question of whether or not you’re ready. If anyone tells you weight loss is easy, they’re lying.
- Health and Fitness clubs have got to know that for someone walking in to a health club overweight and out of shape, it is terribly intimidating. Please have someone working the front end that gets it, not someone who is bored with their job and intolerant of incoming guests.
- Health and fitness clubs need to welcome and respect those that can’t withstand an initial hour-long class that includes squats and lunges as their first class. (I see this all the time).
- Health and fitness professionals have got to denounce the fast-n-easy weight loss scams out there, stick together and create an alliance for ethical health and fitness practices.
- Health and fitness professionals can play an amazing role in the health and wellness of our country as long as they understand what the deconditioned client needs to be motivated and ultimately successful. It’s got to be a solid partnership.
- Health and fitness professionals have an obligation to put clients first and “do no harm.” Check out IDEA’s Code of Ethics.
I have to say, I dread this time of year as much as I do December, resolution season. Weight loss adverts ad nauseam.
If you’re currently frustrated because you didn’t stick to your goals, don’t be, 98% of people don’t. Instead be more realistic. Don’t buy in to the promises of fast and easy weight loss, thinner thighs in thirty days because aside from all those promises it’s really about you and your health. The only reason you should change your lifestyle if you’re currently inactive or dealing with excess weight is y our health, period. I’ve kept 50 pounds off for over 30 years, not because I’m a rock star but because I remember what it felt like to carry that extra weight and I know what my body feels like now, it’s a marked improvement. At almost 52, I’m medication free.
Save yourself money and frustration. If you need help getting on track and staying there, hire a qualified professional that doesn’t make ridiculous promises. Find someone who puts your health first.
If you remember nothing else when those crazy weight loss commercials come on, remember these three things:
1. If diets worked, obesity would be non-existent. 2. The only way to get yourself healthy for the long-term is find a way to move everyday, even if it starts with a walk around the block, and focus on eating less food with more nutritional value.
3. It’s weight loss season and the hype is here, don’t get sucked in.
Here’s to a healthy spring and a healthy you.
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On March 27, 2013 6 Comments
When I lost 50 pounds over 35 years ago, it was the first time in my life that I paid attention to the food I was putting in my body. It was also the first time I fell in love with cooking. Thirty-five years later I continue to learn about food, the good, the bad and the ugly. If you continue to lose your way in the maze of unhealthy diets, perhaps this post may help in your journey toward healthy eating.
Healthy eating starts at home
I have learned over the years that to eat healthy you must have a healthy relationship with food. It really starts with an appreciation of food which is realized when you do your own cooking. I’m not saying you have to become Martha Stewart, I’m simply suggesting that healthy eating begins when you’re up close and personal with food.
When I decided to lose weight all those years ago, shopping, preparing and enjoying my own creations educated me on what foods go together and how to keep all of the flavor while reducing calories, fat and sodium. Had I not learned to cook, I may not have kept my weight off all these years.
There may be some of you who cringe at the idea of having to cook. Even starting with just a few meals a week at home is a start. Keep it simple. But trust me here, the more you learn about the power and flavor of real food, the greater chance of wanting to cook more at home. Cooking at home results in healthier meals and greater nutritional punch.
Since losing my weight, food trends are out of control. Lets walk through them and see which ones may sound familiar. When my kids were little, it was low-fat or no-fat. Then Susan Powter hit the world touting high carb and low protein. Then there was the oat bran craze, cabbage soup, food combining, low carb, Atkins, Paleo and gluten-free. I’m sure I’ve left a few out, but these are the most memorable. Now, what do all of these food trends have in common? They have all been used not for health, but for weight loss. Every time a new food trend hits the media, weight loss is typically the motive behind its success.
I have always believed that there are elements in each one of those diets that are redeeming. However, most of them are nothing more than a fad that helps drop pounds quickly yet rarely if ever is health focused, simply weight focused. Hence why obesity is alive and well.
Get Back to Basics
When I was pregnant I was dedicated to feeding myself and my unborn child well. I gave up alcohol, stayed away from foods that might be toxic (fish) and exercised daily. The idea of dieting was not even a thought. My focus was my unborn child. I believe this is true for most women. So, the question becomes why are we willing to risk our health by doing less than healthy things for our body when we’re not pregnant?
What I have discovered is that you’ve got one shot to make your health a priority. Figuring out the facts and myths surrounding food is next to impossible because there is so much conflicting information out there.
After thirty-five years I have learned the real truth behind healthy eating and healthy weight:
- Trust yourself. Deep down inside you know a good choice from a bad one. Green beans good, French fries not so much.
- Don’t jump on the latest food trends, they will be temporary and if they have staying power, read more about it. Look at the research and educate yourself.
- The healthier the food, the fewer ingredients. Have you ever seen fresh fruits or veggies with an ingredient list? No, because its straight up good for you, solid nutrition.
- Get back to basics. Eating too much is not good for you. Fried foods, processed foods, high sugar and salty foods are not good for you. Less is more when it comes to meat, saturated fat, sodium and portions.
- Eat for yourself, not for weight loss. You’ll likely choose more wisely. Further, a byproduct of healthier eating is weight loss.
Don’t choose food for weight, choose it for health.
If there’s one tried and true “secret” that I’ve learned over the years it is, eating for health vs. weight. This approach is actually the best way to lose or manage weight. Think about it, if you’re able to focus on the foods that are naturally good for you, you will weed out the less healthy foods that caused the excess weight to begin with. Sticking with whole, fresh foods is the surest way to a healthier you.
Trust yourself to make the right choices. Focus on your health and understand its a process. I learn something new everyday. I also seek to learn as much as I can so I can make the best decisions for my health. Isn’t your health worth it?
Two of my favorite new reads include: Julieanna Hever’s- The Complete Idiots Guide to Plant Based Nutrition and David Grotto’s Book, The Best Things You Can Eat.
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!