In this fast paced society we don’t like to be detained. We don’t like to be accountable to anyone or anything. As a result we have stopped noticing what we are doing with our lives and our health. The reality is that we desperately need to pay attention to the two important aspects of health and fitness: movement and fuel. Our body needs good healthy food to survive, and it needs to move to remain healthy. Goes around in a circle, doesn’t it?
Movement I saw my mother-in-law this past weekend and was reminded of how important it is to exercise. When we met 24 years ago she and her husband liked to fish and spend time at lakes and rivers in Minnesota. Sometimes in a boat, and sometimes on the shoreline. She gardened, cooked, canned, baked and was as active as Grandma Walton. Throughout the years she had her hips replaced due to congenital abnormalities. After surgery she didn’t go to physical therapy, they assumed it was the same thing to just go home and do the exercises. Her choice to ignore the doctor’s recommendation for therapy limited her range of motion, and started a problem that has increased through the years. Her weakness has gotten worse and now she walks on very unstable and weak legs. Movement is difficult and the only momentum she has is a downward spiral in her fitness level. This is an extreme example of ignoring exercise, but we all have levels of “ignore”.
Fuel This part of fitness isn’t as easy as that one syllable word suggests. Yeah, sure we know food, we love food, we eat food. And we get fatter. What I notice most in my clients is their failure to track food and understand how much or how little they’re consuming. You realize that eating too little can be just as fattening as eating too much. The body needs a good balance of all the healthy stuff, but if we don’t watch what goes in we won’t know the truth of it.
Recently I was testing a fitness device which interfaces with your computer to track your activity, sleep and food. I was surprised to realize that on a couple of days I didn’t eat enough food. Fitness professionals are taught to never allow our clients to eat less than 1200 calories a day without medical supervision. I had two days this week where I consumed a little over 1100. It reminded me of the days when I was body building and ate 400 calories a day. So, what happens when you diet and don’t eat enough?
Plain and simple — you store fat. Bummer! Yeah, the body will imagine a great famine and the only way to survive is to pack on the fat. Without realizing it you are climbing up in weight. So, as you gain you look for another way to lose weight and you decide you should increase the cardio you are doing . That seems to work because you start to lose weight. Well, partially right — you don’t lost fat when you do that — you lose muscle. Sometimes that muscle can be the smooth muscle like the heart.
Here we are back to having weakened muscles from doing nothing or doing lots and not eating enough. Will there ever be a happy medium? I would hope you can find it by following the recommendations given by the best authority in the world. YOU! You really do know what to do. Don’t google it, don’t read up on it and for goodness sake, don’t ask your friends.
- Start today with deciding to make the changes. Discuss with yourself why you want to make the changes, write it down in a journal.
- Start today with choosing food that is fresh and lean. Skip processed foods completely.
- Start today with walking for 30 minutes.
Then keep doing this over and over and over. After a good three weeks you will have established a routine and might be willing to up the ante on things and start to lift weights. Above all, be honest with yourself. Watch how your body responds to healthy food and make choices to eat only healthy foods. Journaling helps to ensure you won’t forget in this crazy world we live in. You owe it to yourself to be on top of the world. Start your climb today.