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Comanche Trace

Take Control

Posted by Jane on June 1, 2012 at 4:02 AM


Losing weight, attaining fi tness and maintaining it can be a frustrating endeavor.

We have such good initial intentions. We buy the latest diet book and actually follow its rules – for a while. We begin a fi tness program – start going to aerobic classes, walk regularly, maybe even hire a trainer – but then it becomes less of a priority. Pretty soon we’re back to our comfortable routine of poor eating and sedentary living. And the pounds come back! Something has to change … That change needs to come from within you. It needs to be internal. You have to buy into the concept of healthy living. Not for a month or two, but for the rest of your life. It is indeed a lifestyle change, and if it’s going to be successful, it needs to be because you want to do it, not because someone else has suggested it. It has to be that light bulb effect – you suddenly just get it! WE ALL HAVE TWO OPTIONS FOR LIVING:
– dealing with the health conditions that result from
poor choices
– making healthy choices that prevent disease and

Which choice are you going to make? Face it – the first will make for a much moresatisfying life. If you agree, let me show you what it takes!

Most of us know what we should be eating. In order to be successful, an eating plan needs to be something that can be maintained forever. Restricting basic food groups is unrealistic and probably unhealthy. Even whole grain carbs and healthy fats have a place in our diet. Try to plan meals that emphasize vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat dairy products and lean proteins (particularly fish and poultry). Limit your consumption of red meats, higher fat items such as cheese, and sugar packed desserts. Stay away from processed foods. Be aware of your portions. Dining out needs to be saved for special occasions, since portions can be excessive and you have little control over how the food is prepared.

Even if you make an effort to do all of the above, how can you still get into trouble? Look around your kitchen. Open your pantry door. Do you have an ample supply of “goodies” such as cookies and chips? Is there a full candy jar on the counter? GET RID OF THE TEMPTATIONS! If bad food is not around, you can’t eat it!

You may ask, “Can I ever have treats?” Of course you can – and should! But be aware of calorie counts. Be reasonable with your splurges. Become familiar with how much exercise it will take to burn off that mindless handful of junk food.

Cardio refers to any activity that elevates your heart rate for an extended period of time. (Note that I didn’t say exercise!) The most effective cardio activities are the ones that you enjoy doing. It isn’t as much what you do, but rather how hard you work at it. Intensity is the key here. Your typical 30 minute walk could be much more effective if you become aware of your heart rate level. A good investment is a heart rate monitor. Find your maximum heart rate – MHR - (a typical formula is 220 minus your age). Then, try consistently to do a moderate intensity workout where your heart rate is maintained at 70-80% of your MHR. This level feels like you’re breathing hard, but can still carry on a limited conversation. Higher intensity workouts (80 – 90% of MHR) can be added for variety for more conditioned individuals by using interval training. For example, run for one minute, followed by two minutes of brisk walking, and repeat for 15 – 20 minutes. If you find yourself at an exercise plateau – your current routine isn’t giving you the weight loss results that it did in the past, for example – increasing your intensity may help.

Another suggestion is to add variety to your cardio routine. If you always walk on a treadmill, supplement it with an elliptical machine. Do you like walking or running outside? Pick up the pace or add routes with hills! Get on a bicycle occasionally. Varying your routine not only uses different muscles, but it’s mentally refreshing.

STEP 3: STRENGTH TRAIN 2 DAYS A WEEK Adding resistance training to your routine – yes, lifting weights – is beneficial for so many reasons. Let me give you just a few: 1. Increase metabolism. Lean muscle is more efficient at burning fat, and you will increase your calorie consumption throughout the day. 2. Increase strength. Face it – we get weaker as we age. Don’t lose your ability to complete simple tasks like carrying groceries (or grandchildren), household activities, or yard work. Strength is essential for maintaining independence. 3. Increase balance and flexibility. Lifting weights puts your joints through their full range of motion, which keeps them strong and flexible. Strong muscles lead to better balance. While cardio exercise keeps our hearts strong, strength training keeps our entire bodies strong. Don’t let age limit your ability to do all the activities you want to do. STEP 4: BE CONSISTENT Our bodies will become well-oiled machines if we feed them properly and exercise as described above. It takes both. If you eat right but fail to engage in any regular physical activity, you become susceptible to all of the health conditions that consistent exercise can prevent. And the opposite is also true. You can be a workout machine, but if you fill your body with unhealthy foods or even too much healthy food, all your efforts could be in vain.

So, choose prevention. Make it a lifestyle. Live a healthier, longer life and enjoy all it has to offer. Take Control!


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