Thursday, June 29, 2006

Choose Life

Why don’t we do what we should? Why do we do what we shouldn’t do? Of course these questions go way deeper than just eating wrong. They’re as biblical as the time God told us Life and Death was set before us—and to choose life!

If we could figure this out, we could make some real changes. Most people know what they’re doing. I hear it all the time… “I know I need to eat better, but… .” Or, “I know, I need to get moving, but I’m just so busy right now.”

Smokers keep on smoking even though they know what the risks are. We know we need to get rid of that spare tire, but we just don’t seem to do it. It’s like we’re still teenagers—nothing’s ever going to happen to me—until it does. But we’re adults. We should know better! Maybe we just don’t want to think about it. So, I’m going to stick my neck out and give you the skinny on a couple of things.

1. Keep eating all that junk food and you’re going to get fat and clog up your arteries. You’re risking heart disease, diabetes, and you’re going to have to keep buying bigger pants!

2. Keep drinking all that pop and you might as well be injecting sugar into your veins. You’re going to have low energy, and you’ll never know how good you could really feel!

3. Keep eating foods with trans fats in them, and we just might read your obituary. Have you noticed how many people seem to be having heart attacks and triple bypasses in their 40’s now?

4. Keep eating like birds (ladies, this means you), and your metabolism is going to slow down to next to nothing, and instead of losing weight, you’re going to keep it on! Of the hundreds of women I’ve worked with, 9 out of 10 weren’t eating enough.

5. Keep going back for more (guys, it’s your turn), and your belly’s going to stick out till you can’t see your toes. This makes lots of things hard to do. But it might not matter, if you have a heart attack—you won’t be able to do them anyway.

6. Don’t eat your fruits and greens, and you’re going to get sick more often, feel run down, and even have a hard time going to the bathroom (if you know what I mean). This is huge!

I could give you more, but I’m already feeling kind of guilty. I’m supposed to be positive—you know, like “Come on! I know you can do it.” But, some of you aren’t doing it! What’s it going to take to get your attention?

Here’s the truth. You can make some changes now and feel much better. Or, you can wait until you have to change and it will be really hard. Or, you can wait until it’s too late. As always, it’s up to you. As for me, I’m going to choose life. I hope you do too!

Friday, June 16, 2006

It's What We Eat!

Last week I shared a couple of great success stories that highlighted their commitment and vision. This week I’d like to give you another success story, but from the food side of things.

I’ve a client who’s a Black Belt student from years ago, who also used to be an aerobics instructor. This is someone with a lifestyle of working hard to keep fit. But exercise is only part of the equation.

In recent years, she’d developed an iron deficiency. Apparently, she was borderline anemic and her hemoglobin count got as low as nine (it should be 18). The irony (no pun intended) was that the medicine was worse than the disease. She felt run down all the time, to the point where even breathing was difficult. If things didn’t improve, she was going to have to go back on the medicine—with all the side effects that go with it.

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that certain foods help certain conditions. In fact, if you have an amazingly healthy diet, many problems often start taking care of themselves. It’s one of God’s ways of helping take care of us. The problem is that most of us don’t take advantage of it.

For example, did you know that cherries have an amazing ability to help with inflammation? As a result, cherry extract can sometimes make a difference in patients with arthritis or gout.

So, we did an internet search and googled foods & iron. My thinking was that if she focused on eating foods that were rich in iron at every meal, maybe she’d be able to build up enough iron naturally. Then she might not have to take the pills.

She also started taking a liquid multivitamin each day. Liquids are absorbed by the body up to 98% while pills only get absorbed at around 10-20% (Physician’s Desk Reference). Again, the goal was to get more iron in her body naturally—in the way God intended.

It took 2 weeks before she really felt a difference, but she started feeling better. She got her energy back, and was able to start exercising again. She also was able to avoid taking the medicine because her hemoglobin went back up to sixteen, and her doctor said she was doing so well she didn’t have to come back for a year! A couple months later, she’s still improving.

Now, I’m not against doctors. I’m a life-long asthmatic and take several medicines daily—if I don’t, I’m in the hospital. But sometimes, medicine isn’t the only answer. Sometimes, the foods we eat hurt us. And sometimes, the foods we eat can help us. In her case, it’s helping. Lots.

How could you feel, if you just got off the junk and started eating better? If you drank a bunch more water and ate all your fruits and greens? I’m always looking for more success stories! How about you?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Do You Have The Vision?

It’s been awhile since I’ve given you a success story, so I thought it was about time. Actually, it really is about time! Time and keeping commitments. Do you take the time to work on your body? Are you really committed to it? Do you have the vision?

The following people do. In fact, when I look at why some reach their goals and others don’t, it’s that these people just don’t quit. It seems to be the difference between them and other people who struggle.

They’re committed. I can count on seeing them if not daily, then at least 4-5 times a week. They’ve made it a pattern that they just don’t break. It’s a habit now. It’s part of a lifestyle that’s giving them better health.

Today I talked with a client who told me he just hit a milestone. He’s done to 250 now! He was over 300 pounds. He looks great and feels better than ever.

He said he can’t believe it. That first day, after just one minute on the elliptical, he thought he was going to die! Now, just six months later, he’s doing 30 minutes. And not just on the beginning level, but up a bunch of levels!

He’s like clockwork. And it’s not easy for him, either. He works 3rd shift, and usually comes in after work. Sure he’s tired, but he gets it done. And you know what? He’s got more energy now than ever before. God truly made us fearfully and wonderfully. Our bodies can turn around, if we’ll just give them a chance!

I also recently spoke with another client who’s pretty happy with her progress. She’s down a couple of dress sizes, and even bought the last one a little tight so she’d have some incentive!

She says she just feels better. She can do so much more than she did when she started. And get this. She says “This is for life.” Her words, not mine. But I wish I’d said them. She’s committed. She sees it. She’s caught the vision. And I see her every morning—before she goes in to work!

In Proverbs, it says “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Another translation says, “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.” Proverbs 29:18.

There are certain laws our bodies are subject to. Eat more than you burn, and don’t exercise, and your body will run wild (get fat). Start watching what you eat, and start exercising, and your body gets better (and you get happy).

Now I’m not claiming to have a special revelation or anything but it sure seems like divine guidance to me: “TAKE BETTER CARE OF YOURSELF!” Make a commitment. Can you catch the vision?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Eat Smart, Part 4

So how much is too much? Protein? Carbs? Fat? There are so many diets, you might as well have one more to chew on. Actually, the best diet is no diet—it’s eating right. Balanced meals in the right amount.

First of all, it’s a good idea for you to count calories for awhile. You need to know what the real energy value, and energy cost of food is.

After you eat something, and then get on the treadmill to try to burn it off, you’ll be amazed at how long and how hard you have to work to get rid of just 300-400 calories. That’ll make you think twice before putting those _________________ (fill in the blank) in your mouth next time.

It’s also a real help if you know the approximate values of foods, so you can keep your meal portions about the right size. This will go a long way toward helping you lose weight, if that’s your goal.

Medium size women need around 400 calorie meals for breakfast, lunch and supper, and 2-3 snacks around 150 calories. Men need around 500-600 calorie meals, and 300 calorie snacks to lose weight.

So for meals, if your protein serving (fish, chicken, lean beef) is about the size of your palm, it will be about 3-4 oz for women, and 5-6 oz for men. That’s around 200 calories for women and 300 calories for men. Sorry guys, you’re just not going to lose weight eating that 16 oz Big Daddy Porterhouse special!

Your starch should be about 100 calories for women. Examples would be half a baked sweet potato, or half a cup of baked beans or whole grain pasta. Men can have a little more.

That leaves about 100 calories for fruits & greens. A great example is a medium mixed salad with all kinds of different greens: Iceberg lettuce, spinach lettuce, carrots, cucumber, onions, red pepper, green pepper, tomatoes, and 2 tbsp low fat dressing.

Once you have a few weeks under your belt, you’ll have a pretty good feel for everything, and it’s much easier to know how much to serve. That’s right—serve it in those amounts! Chow down and then walk away. It’s enough, and if you’re eating all your meals and snacks, you’ll be satisfied.

If you’re eating balanced meals (Protein, Starch, Fruits & Greens), and taking an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement, you don’t really need to count anything, other than hitting your daily target.

For me (active, 44 years old, 185 lbs & around 10% body fat), if I stay at 2400 calories a day, I’ll cut some fat. If I stay around 3000 calories, I’ll maintain. That’s good to know. So, how much do you need? Have you thought about it?