It is Alive and Well
Several years ago I tore my Achilles tendon. I was on crutches for nearly 6 months and unable to exercise. I was bored and depressed over my inability to do the activities I enjoyed. As a result I not only consumed more calories, but I ate the wrong kinds of foods…fried, fatty, sugary foods. Before I knew it, I had gained nearly 40 lbs! My story is not unique. Millions of Americans eat too much and exercise too little. It is easy to do in our super-sized society. So what’s an individual to do?
The answer is to use common sense…eat less and exercise more. “Easier said than done” you may say. Countless diet books and organizations exist. All of them have merits and detractions. All of them will work if you follow them. None of them will work in the long run if you don’t combine diet with an increase in exercise and a change in your lifestyle. Some discipline is required. However, if you are serious about improving your overall health, the changes you need to do are not that difficult. Start with baby steps. Walk before you run. Remember, that anything worth achieving is worth the effort it takes to achieve.
So how do you begin?
- Start by incorporating some of the foods (MUFAs and Anti-Oxidants) I spoke about in my last installment.
- Cut down on your portions.
- Instead of going back for seconds or ordering the “large” portion, order the regular portion
- Don’t go back for seconds, stop eating when you are satisfied (you do not have to eat until you’re ready to burst)
- Split the entree with your spouse
- Consider following a specific diet; The Flat Belly Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, The Atkins Diet, or any of the dozens of diets supported by science over the years
- Consider joining a formal dietary support group; Weight Watchers, Lindora, Jenny Craig, etc.
- Incorporate more exercise into your daily routine. You don’t have to join a gym or hire a personal trainer (although I highly recommend it) but you do have to move more. If you do join a gym or hire a personal trainer, make sure you speak with your primary care physician to be guided regarding how much exercise and what type of exercise is safe for you to perform. Short of participating in a formal exercise program, remember, any movement of your body will burn calories and anything more than you’re doing now will burn more calories than you’re burning with your current level of activity. Consider the following to incorporate into your daily activities:
- Walk more. Start with a 10-20 minute walk daily and gradually increase until you’re walking 40-60 minutes daily
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work
- Do the dishes by hand instead of simply rinsing and placing in a dishwasher
- Get off the couch / turn off the TV and do anything!