February 2010

Now that January has come and gone and everyone is settling in to 2010, we should take a minute to think about our health and nutrition.  Are you where you want to be?  Can you take the stairs at work instead of the elevator without gasping for air?  Are those summer clothes that we packed away months ago going to fit us when we dust off the boxes?

There is no law that says we all need to be in stellar shape or have swim suit model bodies, but we should aspire to be healthy.  Let’s start with the basics, if you’re a smoker, you know what to do.  No one can make you quit except you.  If you are ever unsure of the effects that smoking has had on one’s body I invite you to visit a science museum with an exhibit on this.  As an 18 year old I visited the Boston Science Museum and there they had a preserved lung from a healthy individual as well as a preserved smoker’s lung.  The differences were scary…..the smoker’s lung was visibly black.  We all know what this does and if smoking did on the outside what it does on the inside there would be a lot less smokers.

Now that I got that out…..we all know the 2 main things to do to stay healthy:  exercise regularly and eat healthy.  For some this is easier said than done.  It doesn’t take much to get moving.  30-60 minutes a day 4-5 days/week.  This can be walking, biking, swimming, running, weight lifting, gardening (when it’s a little warmer), shoveling (if it snows this year), cross country skiing, snow shoeing, even playing the wii.  Really anything to get your body off the couch and moving.  This doesn’t require joining your local gym.  You could even go to the mall and walk around for a while, maybe a little more briskly than window shopping, but you get the idea.  If you have a treadmill or bike at home, set it up in front of the tv.  Watch your favorite show while you ride/walk/run.  This will help you take your mind off what your doing and you may even go farther or longer than normal.  For purposes of boosting your metabolism, it’s best to do this in the morning, but I realize that we are not all early birds.  If your schedule doesn’t permit a morning workout then walk on your lunch break or meet some friends after work and go for a walk.  Anything is better than nothing.

Now on to the diet side of things.  First I would like to say, if you decide to make changes to what you eat, refrain from calling it a “diet.”  These changes should be things that you can live with and you should not completely deprive yourself from anything.  This only leads to cravings and a vicious cycle of deprivation and binging.  One of our biggest problems in this country is portion control.  The proper serving of meat is about 4oz.  Have you been out to eat lately?  The smallest steak on the menu might be 7oz, but more likely 9oz.  This one part of the meal is already almost or more than double the proper proportion.  Read labels and figure out what the proper serving size is.  Just doing this alone can really help.  You may start to think, maybe I don’t need to eat 5 oreos at a time……I could get by with just 2.  Keep a food journal.  This may seem a little tedious, but it works.  Writing down everything you eat and looking at that list later on is a great way to get a realistic view of what you are taking in.  Eat 3 solid meals a day and make sure you snack in between meals.  This helps to eliminate that hungry feeling and that’s when many breakdown.  You feel hungry and want to eat anything and everything.  Avoid that by snacking.  Bring a piece of fruit with you or maybe a protein/snack bar.

In conclusion, I would like to include a great website that I have used many times myself.  Fitday.com allows you to keep an online food journal as well as track your exercise and compare calories in vs calories out.  This website has a great list of common foods with thier calorie content as well as breakdown of fat, carbs, protein, etc.  You can even track vitamins and minerals if you have a deficiency in these areas.  It is completely free to use this website, you just have to create an account.  If you are unsure and need a little direction, I would highly recommend trying this out, even if it’s just for a couple weeks.  You will get a good idea of whether you are burning more calories than you are consuming and let’s face it…..that’s what it all boils down to.

FitDay.com

Let’s all strive for a healthy 2010!! Good luck!