Fitness and Health

2011 July 2011 Karen Trom

By  Karen Trom from the July 2011 Edition

Change your CHOICES, Change your LIFE!

My company recently offered free health assessments for all of our associates and their spouses. This is the second year we have done it and it is always eye opening and a bit scary. The assessment includes measuring height, weight, waist and wrist measurements for figuring body fat and body mass index. They also checked blood pressure and drew blood for a battery of tests. We each had a personal meeting with a nurse to go through the results.

Here are a few of their stories:

Bill, 44, hasn’t been to the doctor in years because he feels healthy. At last year’s assessment he was shocked to find that his blood pressure and cholesterol were too high and his body fat was well above what it should be. He and his wife decided to make some major changes to their lifestyle. They added more fruits, veggies, and whole grains to their diet and cut back on red meat. She also changed the way she prepares food- no more deep fat frying! They also limited their alcohol consumption to 1 night per week and only a couple of drinks each. Bill also goes to the gym 3-4 times per week.

At this year’s appointment, Bill was thrilled that his waist size went from 38 to 32, his blood pressure is normal and his cholesterol, while still high, is better. Cholesterol is a tough one to control as genetics play a big part so you might still need medication, but eating right can really help. Just because you feel healthy it doesn’t mean you are. Many “healthy “people drop dead of a heart attack not knowing they had a problem that could have been corrected.

Margie, 45, still thinks of herself as a skinny California chick, but her results said otherwise. Too much alcohol, too much fried food, and no exercise packed on the pounds over the years and seeing those numbers in black and white was frightening.

Margie did what a lot of people do- she changed everything all at once. She stopped eating and exercised like crazy. Margie quickly tired of this and went back to her old habits. I told her to pick one or two things at a time; too much change at once is very frustrating.

She started to walk every evening before dinner. At first, she couldn’t get around the block without stopping to catch her breath, but she added a little more time and distance each day and is now up to 30 minutes at a brisk pace. Soda was cut out completely and she switched to lite beer and just one glass of red wine per day.

Margie found that she enjoyed walking so much that she wanted to work out even more. She signed up for a gym membership and some sessions with a personal trainer. Being new to a gym is rather intimidating so use a trainer to show you the equipment and set up a routine. She called me the other day to say her muscles were really sore but she loves it! This is very exciting from a person who has not done anything to improve herself for 20+ years; I’m looking forward to her progress reports.

Kelly, 26, has had a rough couple of years. She was laid off from her job, her husband was demoted at his and they lost an unborn child. She and her husband comforted themselves with food and she soon found herself in the obese category with pre-diabetes.

With an active toddler at home and both of them looking for new jobs, she felt awful about how she looked and felt. Rather than giving up, Kelly decided to pull herself together and get healthy. Kelly knew she couldn’t do it on her own so she joined Weight Watchers and found a very supportive leader who is

helping her reach her goals. She discovered “Zumba” at the local YMCA, to help her with her cardio needs. She and her husband both found jobs so things are looking up for this couple. The combination of better eating and exercise has led to a 25 pound weight loss so far and her doctor says her pre-diabetes is gone!

So- what does this tell us?

1- Know your numbers. Do you know your blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and body fat percentage? How long has it been since you stepped on a scale? Is your liver functioning correctly? Have you been to the doctor in the past year? In the past 5 years? When you go, do they run a full blood screen? Ladies over 40- have you had a bone density scan? Mammogram? Men- prostate cancer is 100% curable if caught in time, have you had a physical lately? Is it time for a colonoscopy?

2- Do you make an effort to get 30 minutes of cardio exercise almost every day? Do something you like and want to do, for some it is walking, others like running, biking or dancing.

3- Do you know how to “eat healthy?” It is such a broad statement, but it can be as easy as switching from white bread to whole grain (not whole wheat) or buying low or non-fat dairy products.

Next month I’ll take a look at what we eat and how to make simple changes to help you live a healthy and longer life. (Did you know that corn tortillas are a much better choice that flour?) And…stay tuned for my famous Green Smoothie recipe!

Can’t wait until next month or you need daily motivation?

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