In my opinion, the “self esteem” movement with children, which began in the late 60s, has had a lot to do with our looming obesity epidemic in America. The idea was to not be so negative! Don’t call somebody out because their lazy and underperform, that might hurt their feelings. And, everyone knows what happens when you get your feelings hurt – you think less of yourself… it lowers your self esteem.
With that mindset everyone became overly cautious about confronting the obvious.
“I know Jonny’s getting fat, but he’s at that important time in his development where we need to be careful that we don’t damage his self esteem.”
Obesity now affects approximately 60 million people in the United States. Over one-third of women between the ages of 20 and 74 are obese. More than 108 million adults are either obese or overweight. This means roughly 3 out of 5 Americans carry an unhealthy amount of excess weight.
With more and more processed food and less and less activity, the number of obese people in America has steadily increased since the 1960s. In only a few years from now, if current habits do not change, obesity is predicted to be at epidemic levels in the U.S.
Because I am physically fit, and by virtue of what I do, I am mostly around fit people, I tend to bristle at those statistics saying, “Come on now, it can’t be that bad.” When I start feeling that way I’ve learned a quick method to snap me back into reality—I go to the mall!
In my opinion, the typical shopping mall is the best vantage point from which to view the “average American”. Take my word on this. Next time you’re at the mall, sit down on one of the side benches and watch the people go by. As you’re watching, do the math. It doesn’t take a huge government grant research study to see that Americans, especially our youth.
With obesity, comes the increased risk of diseases such as high blood pressure, Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and breast, colon, and prostate cancer. In addition, obesity has been linked to many mental health conditions. Health experts say that even losing 10 to 15 percent of your body weight can dramatically decrease the risk of developing these serious conditions.
Some years ago doctors in certain parts of the country asked pharmaceutical companies, “Please make the hypodermic needles longer and sharper so that we can get the medication through [all that American fat]!”
Twenty years ago, in my lectures on health and fitness, I predicted that the “Dumpling Decade” was coming. Much to my dismay I was correct—it’s here big time! It was not, I must admit, a difficult prediction to make based on even a casual observation of how kids eat, and how little they move.
The health of our nation’s children is in jeopardy. The prevalence of overweight young people has doubled in recent decades. Even at young ages, obesity is not just a cosmetic issue. Almost two-thirds of overweight youth have at least one additional risk factor for heart disease, including high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Overweight kids also may suffer with sleep apnea or bone and joint problems, according to the CDC.
If not dealt with, these obese, or soon to be obese, children will severely tax our already struggling healthcare system. The problem is both nutritional and fitness related. On the nutritional side, a large proportion of children’s caloric intake comes from processed foods seriously lacking in nutritional value.
Research shows that teenage boys spend on average around 58 minutes a day playing video games. Girls were only slightly behind at 44 minutes a day. USA Today reports that teens spend about 16 percent of their time each day surfing the Internet or e-mailing. And then there is television, that omnipresent invader of our lives. And let’s not forget Twitter and texting.
Physically, many children are woefully inactive. With schools cutting back on physical education classes—and some eliminating them altogether—the prospects for children getting enough exercise during the day are not good. Over 55% of our children ages 5-8 are obese! Over 78% of elementary through high school students flunk the basic fitness test given by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.
This is tragic and totally unnecessary. There is no sensible reason why schools should cut-down or cut-out physical education classes or recess periods that focus on high levels of physical activity. It only makes sense to increase physical activity for children when they live in a society that is increasingly more sedentary.
When I was in elementary school, by the time I had finished two of any given day’s recesses, I had exercised more than many kids exercise today in a month.
With that said, however, I am not a proponent of our government solving this problem. One, because the government cannot solve this problem, and two, because this is a parental issue! It begins in the home.
It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure their children are exercising and eating nutritionally. Without question the most powerful influence on children is the behavior they see modeled by their parents. If Mom and Dad are lazy and overweight, there is a very good chance the children will be also.
Approaching the holidays I always like to come up with helpful strategies that can benefit myself and others to avoid putting on extra pounds. As you know from previous holiday blogs, I am not a fan of trying to come up with low fat holiday meals. This is because some of the best memories of my life are from the fantastic meals my mother prepared for Thanksgiving and Christmas each year, and trust me, they were anything but low fat! These wonderful family events were a time to put eating inhibitions aside and indulge… and did we ever!
In my opinion, changes can be made as one approaches these big eating events that can more than compensate for the extra calories one consumes on that special day. With that in mind, I would like to introduce you to our new partner at America’s Fitness Coach® and Your Best Asset; Good Measure Meals™.
Following a talk I had given for the Buckhead Rotary Club, I was introduced to Good Measure Meals by Matt Pieper who is the Senior Director of Resource Development at Open Hand. Open Hand is a fascinating nonprofit organization that prepares and delivers over 4,500 meals a day to those in need. They help people prevent or better manage chronic disease through home-delivered meals and nutrition education. Matt invited me to tour their facility in Atlanta. I did, and wow what an operation!
I then spent some time with their associated company Good Measure Meals™, whose facility exists within the same city block. Good Measure Meals is a fresh, local alternative to the frozen or dehydrated meals you get from the national “diet” plans. What’s unique is that 100% of the profits of Good Measure Meals goes to Open Hand.
The meals from Good Measure Meals are perfect for weight loss, healthy eating or management of diabetes. They really make healthy eating convenient, affordable and delicious.
All Good Measure Meals menus are designed with precise adherence to the dietary guidelines of The American Diabetes Association, The American Dietetic Association and The American Heart Association. Their chefs and staff culinary dietitian work together to create a satisfying five week menu that is updated twice a year to include seasonal foods.
With Good Measure Meals you are really eating healthy gourmet food. They offer four menus. All are on a 5 week rotation, ensuring lots of variety, and adhere to a healthy balance of 22-25% protein, 27-30% healthy fat and 45-48% consistent health promoting carbohydrates. Every meal is prepared fresh in their Midtown (Atlanta) commercial kitchen, from fresh produce purchased daily from local vendors, specifying the highest quality meats and bakery goods for use in each meal.
So how do you get the meal(s) you order? They have over 80 pickup locations in the metro Atlanta area, Athens and Savannah. Since all of their meals are delivered as fresh food you pick up your meals twice each week ─ on Monday and Thursday. Each of their convenient pickup locations has set times for meal pick up. You select the location most convenient for you during the order process.
Good Measure Meals is an ideal partner for America’s Fitness Coach®, and Your Best Asset, (1) because they present both the education and the practical application of good nutrition, and (2) because they also have a comprehensive list of wellness programs available for the education and support of corporate employees to help them achieve a healthier lifestyle and to help reduce employer health-related costs. This dovetails beautifully with what we do for companies and organizations with our exercise (fitness) educational and motivational presentations.
Now that I’ve brought you up to speed with our exciting new partner, Good Measure Meals, let me circle back to the main point I wanted to make concerning how you can relax and enjoy all of the great food on Thanksgiving and Christmas (typically high in calories, and fat), without ending up 5-10 pounds heavier on January 1, 2011.
Here’s the plan: Starting a full week before both each upcoming big holiday meal, order a week’s worth of meals from Good Measure Meals™. You can do anything from one meal a day to three. Since they give you the option of choosing how many calories you wish to consume for that meal, or the meals of that day. You can easily select a calorie total that is well below what you normally eat. With this plan you are guaranteed to lose weight! This way, when you settle down for your BIG holiday meal, you can relax and feast, knowing that it will all balance out to a zero net weight gain, or you might possibly even lose weight.
The other advantage of this plan is that if you are the one preparing and cooking the big holiday meals, you will not have to do any cooking or meal preparation for one full week before the big day! Now that’s what I call a great plan.
To order, call 404-815-7695 or click here. Use Promo Code “DH10” and save 10% off your first order of Good Measure Meals™.
Here’s wishing you all the best for both your Thanksgiving, Christmas and/or Hanukkah holidays. Enjoy!
Think about it, in just two days, tomorrow will be yesterday! Time is a funny thing. We all have the same amount of it to work with, but so help me, it seems like the older I get, the less time I have in a given day.
In virtually all surveys conducted asking people why they do not exercise as often as they should, the number one reason given is, time. That is, not enough of it. In most cases it is reality an issue of priority. Americans have proven they will spend more time and more money on a good maintenance program for their automobiles and their pets than they will for their most valuable asset − their body.
As you may or may not know by now, my forte with fitness, in other words, what I have brought to the various exercise and fitness solutions of our day, is all about time. My contention is that more people would be far more successful at reaching their fitness goals if they did a brief but intense workout every day, verses a longer workout a few days a week.
This approach−now proven after twenty years of working with time challenged people−works better because it allows one to take control of their exercise commitment, and get-it-done before all of the other things get the best of their time.
Dorothy and Bob
To demonstrate why this is the case, let’s compare the traditional (exercise) approach, with my 10-15 minutes every day approach. Let’s look at the examples of Dorothy and Bob.
Dorothy decides to take the conventional approach of exercising 2-3 times a week for 45-60 minutes. Dorothy started out great. Then week two got really busy and she missed a-day…next week same thing.
Month total: 11
Bob decides to try my approach of exercising for only 10-15 minutes 5-7 days a week. Bob’s first week started busy and things stayed busy all month. But at only 10-15 minutes a day he managed to stay consistent.
Month total: 26!
If I’ve learned anything as I’ve gotten older, it is that time is a very precious commodity. I want to use as little time as possible doing the things that I either don’t like doing or don’t want to do, in order to have more time for the things I really enjoy. Welcome to the art of multitasking.
The problem, however, with multitasking, is we’re not always as efficient as we think we are at doing several things at once. One of the many embarrassing moments of my life took place years ago when I took a quick break to run some errands, including getting the van cleaned. I was pushing a deadline on an article I was writing, so I continued thinking and writing while I was getting stuff done.
I filled the van with gas paying extra for the car wash. I remember punching in the code numbers to start the car wash, and then getting right back to my writing. This is the perfect multitasking opportunity because I do nothing but go along for the ride in the car wash tunnel.
Just as I was putting pencil to paper, my head jolted to the right as hot soapy water literally soaked me in about 1.3 seconds—I had forgotten to close my window! Now, I was so soaking wet and soapy that I could not get a grip on the handle to roll up the window. Leaning into the door to try and leverage my grip, my head was now perfectly positioned for the big rotating brush to sweep across my face. It felt like I was rubbing my face down a wet Christmas tree.
Right at the point that I finally got the window up, the van was rolling out the tunnel. There I experienced the final benediction of this multitasking joyride, as I stepped out of the van—soapy and soaking wet—to the cheers of all onlookers. Needless to say, it was not one of my finer moments.
Do you exercise, or workout or both?
I have many times drawn a distinction between exercising and working out. Most people are “exercising” thinking this will get them to their fitness goals. What they do not realize is that they really need to “workout”. The human body needs a workout! A workout is where the body is given the sufficient stress needed to strengthen the heart, muscles and bones.
And, oh by the way, a good workout is not supposed to be fun. Just get down to business… get in, get out, and get it over with!
I’ve often seen people multitasking while exercising. I’ve seen people on a stationary bike, and even a treadmill, reading, writing, etc.. One of the best things about a short but comprehensive 10-15 minute workout, is that while you’re putting in your ten minutes, you’re concentrating on only one thing; doing each exercise correctly and giving it all you’ve got.
The side benefit of following this plan is that you can relax and really enjoy those privileged times you get to exercise; walking by yourself or with your significant other, walking your dog, swimming, biking, canoeing, hiking, playing your favorite sport, etc.
More time for the things you enjoy!
Another amazing thing to consider about getting a good workout in only 10-15 minutes every day, is how much time you will save over your lifetime.
Let’s examine just a 7 year period. Let’s say that for 7 years you spend ten minutes a day working out. You averaged six days a week, and seldom missed two days in a row. In calculating that out, that means in seven years you spent 21,840 minutes or 364 hours or slightly over 15 days working out.
Now using 60 minutes 3 times a week—over the same seven year period—you would have spent 65,520 minutes or 1,092 hours or 45.5 days working out. That’s a difference of 30.5 days!
Assuming both methods got you in great physical condition as a result of your workouts, clearly the ten minute a day plan saved you a ton of time. Now imagine all the enjoyable things one can do with 30 plus extra days. I can imagine it, because I’m doing it!
More time to spend with your children or grandchildren. More time to read or explore. More time to start another business. More time for hobbies or to plant a garden. More time to play tennis, golf, go to a sporting event. More time to use your gifts and abilities to help someone less fortunate. SIMPLY MORE TIME!
Want an incredible 5 minute workout? www.thebodybuster.com
Someone said, “Food fuels the furnace of metabolism; exercise stokes the fire.” That’s true! And, better yet, muscle revs up metabolism and incinerates FAT! As T. Murray said, “Muscle tissue is the primary user of fat calories in the body, so the greater your muscle mass, the greater your fat-burning capacity.”
Years ago there was a great article by Mandy Matson called The S Factor. Here is an excerpt…
“About three years ago my backside appeared to be sliding down my thighs. How could this have happened?
At age 32, I ate sensible and walked three miles daily, confident that diet and aerobic exercise were the only keys to a slim and youthful body. Millions of Americans subscribe to the same myth.
Bob Dunn, a Dallas equipment leasing broker, counted calories, and jogged intermittently for fifteen years, yet at 54 he was forty pounds overweight, weak and flabby.
Today, Bob and I have regained our youthful trim. Bob shed his gut and dropped two suit sizes and I rediscovered my waist. How? Not by going on a grueling new diet, or exercising more, but by changing the type of exercise we got. We learned the transforming magic of the S Factor.”
Do you know what he “S” stands for? It stands for; Strength Training! She goes on to say, “Strength training is a dieters dream. Because for every pound of fat you replace with muscle, you burn dozens of extra calories per week. By contrast, people who do not maintain their strength, lose about a half pound of muscle each year. The calories that would have been burned by muscle end up stored as fat—that’s what causes middle-age-spread.”
It causes something else too: WEAKNESS! By age 72, 1/4 of American men, and 2/3 of American women cannot lift an object of more than ten pounds!
This has brought on an epidemic in America today; osteoporosis. One in four women over the age of 50 and one in eight men over 50 has osteoporosis.
Women are the major victims of osteoporosis; they have smaller frames and lower peak bone mass than men. At menopause, estrogen dwindles and its action of inhibiting bone resorption and facilitation absorption of calcium, are lost. Thus, all women lose bone density after menopause at accelerated rates. Men are also affected and the same risk factors mentioned for women (except for menopause), apply to men.
Dr. Miriam Nelson has been in the field of osteoporosis and bones for many years. She is a specialist on this issue at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. Here is what she had to say about strength training and osteoporosis: “One year of doing high intensity strength training can lower a woman’s risk of osteoporotic bone fractures in more ways than any other single thing she can do for herself.”
Notice that she said, “High intensity strength training.” The key to permanent weight and fat loss, strong muscles and strong bones, strong heart and strong lungs, etc. is building and maintaining your strength!
This is not my typical “fitness” blog, but I could not pass up the opportunity to remember and praise one of the all time greats in sports history − John Wooden. I’ve virtually given up on trying to hold up anyone as a hero these days. It seems like every time I do so, along comes a news story, or a short video clip on You Tube, etc., that shows another side of “my hero” that I never would have guessed existed. Over the years so many have been knocked off my hero-pedestal that I gave up trying to push anyone else up there. But of the few who remain on that pedestal there is none more deserving than coach Wooden.
Having had many coaches in my lifetime, with some so horrific that I almost gave up on organized sports all together, I can only imagine how terrific it must have been to play for John Wooden.
What I truly find most amazing is that he remained a man of principle and sterling character throughout his entire life. That’s tragically hardly ever the case today. Groucho Mark once said, “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.” More often than not that’s the kind of personal integrity we see today! John Wooden only had one set of principles, and he lived them and taught them every day of his life. He was a man of amazing consistency.
Few in the arena of sports and leadership have had such a lasting impact on and off the court than legendary basketball coach John Wooden. At the age of 99, just four months shy of his 100th birthday, John Wooden passed away.
John Wooden coached the basketball team at UCLA for 27 years. Under his leadership, the Bruins won 620 games and lost just 147. They won ten NCAA championships, and went undefeated through four different complete seasons; 1963-64, 1966-67, 1971-72, and 1972-73. Wooden’s Bruins established a still-standing record 88-game winning streak, before losing on 19 January 1974 at Notre Dame, 71-70.
Coach Wooden did everything with grace and dignity, worked harder than all his contemporaries, and though tough on his players and opponents, they all loved and respected him.
Bill Walton, one of coach Wooden’s standout players, wrote in the introduction to Wooden’s book − Wooden-A Lifetime of Observations On and Off the Court − “John Wooden taught us to focus on one primary objective: be the best you can be in whatever endeavor you undertake… The skills he taught us on the court, teamwork, personal excellence, discipline, dedication, focus, organization, and leadership- are just some of the tools you need in the real world. Coach showed us how these skills are transferable. He wasn’t just teaching us about basketball, he was teaching us about life.”
Coach Wooden’s parents were farmers. Wooden, born just 28 years after James Naismith invented the game, always loved basketball, and his first ball was constructed by his mother. He remembered it as “a wobbly thing sewed together using rolled-up rags she had stuffed into some black cotton hose. Dad nailed an old tomato basket with the bottom knocked out to one end of the hayloft in the barn. That’s how I got started playing the game of basketball.”
In high school he played guard, and made the All-State Team all three years. His team won the state championship in 1927, and lost in the final playoff game the year before and the year after. He played college ball for Purdue University, winning numerous honors there, including three-time All-American and captain of his team. His Boilermakers won two Big Ten championships, and the national championship in 1932. For his hustle and crazy dives for the ball, Wooden was nicknamed “the Indiana Rubber Man”.
After college, he played professionally for seven years, for three teams in three different leagues — the NBA had not yet been imagined. He spent five of his pro years with a team called the Indianapolis Kautskys, but the pay was minimal and unreliable, and it went without saying that pro players also had real-world jobs to make the rent. For Wooden, in all the years he played pro ball, he also taught high school − and, of course, coached the schools’ basketball teams.
He always treated players and officials with respect, never with the Bobby Knight-style fury and bombast. In his entire career as player and coach, he received just two technical fouls − and he always maintained that one of them was called by mistake, when someone behind him yelled a profanity, and the referee thought it was Wooden.
After retiring from coaching, Wooden spoke often at corporate, military, and sports meetings, expounding on his theories to maximize personal and team accomplishments, which he called the “Pyramid of Success“. He was in great demand as a motivational speaker, but he rarely addressed audiences of big-money donors, or where the admission price was too high. “I’m not comfortable with that,” he said. “Not everyone can give that kind of money and those who give smaller amounts are just as important.”
Among his many noted “Woodenisms”, he often said, “A good coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment,” and “A man may make mistakes, but he isn’t a failure until he starts blaming someone else.”
After being admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Wednesday, May 26 for dehydration, the 99-year old “Wizard of Westwood” passed away of natural causes.
Jim Wooden and Nancy Muehlhausen issued a statement after their father died, saying, “He has been, and always will be, the guiding light of our family. The love, guidance and support he has given us will never be forgotten. Our peace of mind at this time is knowing that he has gone to be with our mother, whom he has continued to love and cherish.”
Coach Wooden’s success on the basketball court was secondary to his faith, family, and guiding principles that shaped the lives of so many people. As Wooden said, “True happiness comes from the things that cannot be taken away from you. Making the full effort to do the right thing can never be taken away from you.”
Coach Wooden also said, “We who coach have great influence on the lives of all the young men who come under our supervision, and the lives we lead will play an important role in their future. It is essential that we regard this as a sacred trust and set the example that we know is right.”
And that he did!
Here is some good news and some bad news. First the good news: Due to modern medical advances, your body is going to last longer than you ever dreamed possible. Now the bad news: Due to modern medical advances, your body is going to last longer than you ever dreamed possible.
This is really the huge elephant in the middle of the health-care-reform room that nobody wants to talk about. Here’s the bottom line: Typically, the highest healthcare costs come at the end of one’s life. Therefore, the longer one lives the higher the probability that they will pay more (and all of us respectively will pay) more for healthcare over their (our) lifetime.
According to The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, in an article written by Carol Raphael, PPA, Joann Ahrens, MPA, and Nicole Fowler, MHSA, titled Financing end-of-life care in the USA: “Today, 34.8 million Americans are 65 years old or older. This number will more than double by 2050 to about 72.2 million, with a 240% increase in the population age 85-plus(1).”
They go on to report that ”Until recently most Americans died soon after the onset of a terminal disease, but today medical developments allow us to die more slowly, from diseases that are often chronic and disabling before death. The prognosis becomes less definite: ‘on the day before death, the median prognosis for patients with heart failure is still a 50% chance to live 6 or more months’(2).”
Our entire health care system is built on caring for those who are hurt and/or sick, not preventing people from getting hurt or sick. If you talk to any physician, you will quickly learn that 95% of all their training is about diagnosing and treating medical problems, not figuring out how to prevent them.
In many cases the doctors themselves, knowing all that they know about disease and illness from those they treat, do not personally practice preventative health. This truth was made clear to me recently while sitting in the hospital room of a friend who had experienced warning signs of a heart attack. When his cardiologist walked in, I almost fell off my chair. He was at least 70 pounds overweight! Which begs the question, how could someone who’s livelihood consists of operating on people with cardiovascular disease, neglect doing the simple things necessary to personally prevent that disease?
If a cardiologist, who deals daily with the horrific consequences of heart disease (the number one killer in America), does not have the personal discipline or desire to change his personal eating and exercise habits in order to prevent heart disease, then it just goes to show how impossible it is to MAKE people change!
I certainly do not have all the answers to fixing health care in America, but I do know this much; there is no way someone like myself − who takes excellent care of his body with maintenance and prevention − should have to pay the same for health insurance, as my friend’s cardiologist! In my opinion, therein lies the ONLY solution that will ever work on the prevention side of health care; simply incentivize people financially, based on their willingness to actually DO SOMETHING about their personal health and fitness. Anything else is ultimately a waste of time and money.
The last time I checked we live in a free country, which brings me to the title of this article, and to one of my all time pet peeves; government forced intervention into health prevention, with anything other than financial incentives on the insurance side of the issue.
Case in point? The ridiculous overreaching Gestapo like ordinance from government supervisors in California to ban toys with fast food meals. Enough already! Stop the madness!
Santa Clara County supervisors approved the nation’s first ordinance that would prevent restaurants from using toys to lure kids to meals high in fat, sugar and calories.
The law prohibits restaurants in unincorporated parts of the county from giving away prizes unless the meals meet certain nutritional guidelines. If the law is ultimately adopted the county public health department will enforce the law with a $250 fine for the first violation, $500 for the second and up to $1,000 after that. Brings a whole new meaning to “the dollar menu”.
“This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes,” said Supervisor Ken Yeager, who sponsored the initiative. Yeager said it is unfair to parents and children to use toys to capture the tastes of children when they’re young and “to get them hooked on eating high-sugar, high-fat foods early in life.”
Give me a break! Enough already! If this was a government run school cafeteria it is one thing, but this edict was slammed on private enterprises. Are you kidding me? What right does the government have to say what prizes can or cannot be given away with a kids meal?
What’s interesting is that Yeager said, it’s “unfair to parents and children to use toys… to get them hooked.” So, here’s my question; who’s buying the meal? It’s the parents not the kids. Is he suggesting that parents are unfairly intimidated into buying their children the “unhealthy-with-toy-meal”? If that’s the case then any advertising, discounts, give-a ways, etc., aimed at parents buying something for their children is suspect, and maybe should be prohibited all together. I mean, what if a parent unable to control their impulses, after seeing a commercial, to buy their child a Play Station, does so, only to see the child develop hemorrhoids because of too much sitting?
This all reeks of what we see more and more of everyday, that is, the idea that the government is the only one who REALLY knows what’s best for our children, and therefore should have the unrestricted ability to mandate by law what parents can and cannot do.
Daniel Conway, with the Restaurant Association, said it best, “The message they (supervisors) are sending is that parents are making the wrong choices and therefore they should no longer have the choice.” He also said his 22,000-member group was against the ordinance — and so were many county residents who think government is going too far. I’m with them.
During the town meeting a crowd of about 300 packed the board chamber and listened to county health officials cite statistics they say support the ordinance. Speaking of the current trends toward childhood obesity, they said, “If these trends persist the next generation will have a lower life expectancy.” But wait a minute, based on the statistics I shared earlier, won’t that ultimately reduce the overall cost of health care?
So, what’s the real intent? I’m guessing it’s the same thing it always is with a government bent on expanding its tentacles into every corner of our lives − more power, more control, more laws and more intervention from big-daddy saying, we’ll decide what you can and cannot do. So much for freedom.
WARNING! As John Adams said, “A Constitution of Government once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”
The whole thing is just really, really stupid, and it makes no sense. If this law is enacted here’s what results, as it relates to “fixing” health care: A child can no longer get a free prize with his kids meal, but my friends fat Cardiologist, can still plop himself down in front of the TV and eat a large pizza and a half a gallon of ice cream. God help us!
Please understand, I’m not saying that it’s not possible or important to educate and motivate people (at any age, and the younger the better) to eat smart and exercise. It absolutely is, and I know better than most because that’s what I do, and trust me it works. There’s an old saying that says, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t MAKE him drink. That’s true, but you can salt his oats! Education is oat salting. Financial insurance incentives for healthy living is oat salting. Trying to FORCE people to do “the right thing” just doesn’t work. Plain and simple.(1) United States Census Bureau 2000. [www.census.gov]
(2) Lynn J. Learning to care for people with chronic illness facing the end of life. JAMA 2000;284: 2508-11 [PubMed]
The best way to manage stress
A good friend of mine is a highly paid consultant to business owners internationally. His presentation consists of Ten Absolute Essentials for Making Your Business Succeed! The most important of the ten? “Don’t die!”
Most people live at a ridiculous pace today. The following poem says it all, and especially for the busy business owner…
This is the age of the half-read page
The quick hash with the mad dash,
The plane hop with a brief stop,
The lamp tan in a short span.
And the brain strain, and the heart pain,
And the cat naps until the spring snaps,
And the fun’s done!
For far too people today − lost in the hectic shuffle of spread sheets, and stressful heartbeats − the following simple truth is overlooked: The best way to manage stress, stay out of the hospital, and perform to your optimum potential; is to consistently eat smart and give your body the vigorous exercise it needs.
After I stepped out of the NFL I went through the agonizing process of losing my muscle and motivation to stay fit − believing that I had already exercised enough for several lifetimes − I found it virtually impossible to find the time to fit fitness into my busy life.
Since 1989 I have been helping busy business professionals learn how to better manage their most valuable asset − their body! Far too many people today completely overlook the importance of properly maintaining the most important thing in their busy lives − themselves. Here is the bottom line; if you are not functioning at full capacity; if you are not consistently performing at peak levels of efficiency; your productivity will suffer. And, if you die, your productivity will really suffer!
“The Body”, wrote Theodore Herzl “is a marvelous machine…a chemical laboratory, a powerhouse. Every movement, voluntary or involuntary, is full of secrets and marvels.” Your body is made up of over 100 trillion cells. It has over 650 muscles, over 200 bones, and is covered with 4 million nerve endings with impulses traveling at 300 feet per second. Your body has over 60,000 miles of tubing just to carry the blood.
On average, we are seated for 12 to 16 hours a day! Living in the 21st century, one of the greatest obstacles to staying fit is that automation and technological conveniences have rendered most people sedentary. Most people are not moving on a daily basis in the way our bodies were designed to move. Elevators, escalators, automobiles, golf carts, remote controls, gas fireplaces, etc.. All these things make life easier but they are leaving our bodies behind.
I remember when I had to physically pull the garage door open, get in the car and back it out, and then get back out of the car and pull the garage door closed. Then when I got back in the car, to cool off, I had to crank a handle to roll down the window. Today I can do everything I just described by pushing two buttons! Though they may seem like little things, they all add up to sedentary living. As Evan Esar put it, “Walking isn’t a lost art; one must, by some means, get to the garage.”
This lack of movement is now forcing us to regiment exercise back into our lifestyle, or face the consequences of inactivity. Regular physical activity, that we used to get throughout the day by how hard our body had to work, quite naturally reduces the risk of developing or dying from some of the leading causes of illness and death.
Regular physical activity improves health by reducing the risk of; heart disease; diabetes; high blood pressure; colon cancer; depression and anxiety; weight gain; and premature death. Exercise will help us to maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, and promotes psychological well-being.
Dr. Daniel Anen, author of the bestselling book, “Change Your Brain Change Your Life”, says, that as it pertains to your brain, exercise is literally the fountain of youth. Exercise consistently and you will change your brain. When you exercise, you think better, concentrate better, and your memory will be better. Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain. Exercise boosts growth factors in the brain that help you grow neurons! You say, “Wait a minute, I thought we were born with all the brain cells we would ever have.” Well, here’s some great news; ten years ago, scientists discovered that the brain can produce new neurons, and exercise makes it happen!
But wait, there’s more! It is now known that exercise is the single best non-drug thing you can do to help depression. A head-to-head study compared Zoloft (considered one of the best antidepressants) with exercise. At the end of 12 weeks they were equally effective. At the end of 10 months, exercise blew past Zoloft!
Feeling depressed? Here is your choice: You can take Zoloft for 12 weeks and not be depressed − but keep in mind that 60-80% of those who use antidepressants suffer sexual side effects − or you can exercise for 12 weeks and not be depressed. It’s no contest! But with all that said, why are so many people not giving their body the exercise it needs? Why do so many people tolerate functioning at less than 60% of their potential?
In search of a fitness formula that works
I have found that most people eventually recognize they are under performing and commit to some kind of exercise routine. However, they eventually give up because they either cannot maintain consistency, or they get frustrated by not realizing the results they expected.
Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. For many, exercise represents a similar kind of insanity. Exercise insanity is where you do the same thing over and over again expecting the same result but never get that result. This is where many people get stuck.
After repeatedly failing to be consistent with exercise by attempting to follow the standard recommendation of working out 2-3 times a week for 30-45 minutes; I realized the problem wasn’t me, it was the recommended formula. Today, the recommendation is 30 minutes a day but it is not working! We know that it’s not working because only 10% are fit! Something’s clearly wrong with the recommendation.
As America’s Fitness Coach, I feel my greatest contribution to fitness has been that I changed the paradigm. Rather than try to pound a square peg in a round hole, which is analogous to trying to force people into an exercise paradigm where most will fail, I decided to change the rules. If everyone’s greatest enemy with exercise is time, and it is, why not increase the frequency, increase the intensity, and decrease the exercise time requirement to only ten minutes?
Here’s my tagline: It’s far better to brush your teeth for 2-3 minutes a day, than for 45 minutes 2-3 times a month!
To be successful at forming a lifelong habit, it is imperative that it becomes almost an unconscious part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth. Trust me, if you are struggling to fit fitness into your busy life, try the following and watch what happens.
1. Exercise at very high intensity: 80-100% maximum effort.
2. Exercise on an empty stomach: This allows your body to dig deep into its stored glycogen (stored carbohydrate) within the liver and muscle.
3. Do primarily anaerobic exercise: That is focus on exercises that maximize building strength.
4. Exercise for a short duration: 5-15 minutes (Long duration exercise actually enhances the production of Cortisol − the stress hormone. Many people are “over-exercising” which can dampen weight loss, energy levels, and immune function) This will play a key role in helping you to stay motivated with exercise as a habit in your life. Why? Because you’ll see better results, while spending less time working out.
Finally, I draw an important distinction between exercise and a workout. Exercise is anything you do to get your body moving; take the stairs instead of the elevator; go for a walk whenever you get a chance; take every opportunity to play your favorite sport, golf, tennis, etc.. In other words KEEP MOVING! A workout, on the other hand, is something all together different. Exercise can and should be fun, but a workout, if done with intensity, is not fun. That’s because it’s hard work! Your body was designed to be stressed, muscles, bones, heart, lungs, brain, etc.
Stress your body for less stress
Give your body the proper stress it needs on a daily basis and you will feel better, feel less stressed, perform much better and have a much greater chance of keeping the first Absolute Essential for Making Your Business Succeed − don’t die!
The best definition of a workout I have ever heard was from George Allen, the great Washington Redskins coach. He said, “A workout is 25% perspiration and 75% inspiration. Stated another way, it is one part exertion and three parts self-discipline. Doing it is easy once you get started. A workout makes you better today than you were yesterday. It strengthens the body, relaxes the mind and toughens the spirit. When you work out regularly, your problems diminish and your confidence grows. A workout is a personal triumph over laziness and procrastination. It is the badge of a winner; the mark of an organized, goal-oriented person who has taken charge of his or her destiny. A workout is a wise use of time and an investment in excellence. It is a way of preparing for life’s challenges and proving to yourself that you have what it takes to do what is necessary.”
My 10 minute a day workout is one you might want to try!
The evidence is overwhelming. Increasing your physical activity will make a huge change in your ability to perform better at virtually everything you do.
What the Mediterranean diet is and why you should consider it
The Greek word for diet means lifestyle. The real definition of diet means how one develops a lifestyle, or pattern of eating. I teach that diets don’t work, however, when I say “diets don’t work”, I’m referring to the American definition of diet or fad-diets. These diets pull us out of normal eating patterns and will not work for that reason alone. The Mediterranean Diet is more than a diet. It is a lifelong living style. You have to adopt it and stick with it.
I am a strong proponent of the Mediterranean Diet, or should I say, the eating patterns of the 16 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. There’s no one Mediterranean Diet. Diets vary between these countries and also between regions within a country. Many differences in culture, ethnic background, religion, economy and agricultural production result in different diets.
Accompanying this style of eating in the old Mediterranean culture was high activity, anti stress attitudes and not much money. Nowadays, these circumstances have changed in these countries, but many responsible people are still keeping or returning to what is considered to be the healthiest diet in the world.
The common Mediterranean dietary pattern has these characteristics:
Getting plenty of exercise and eating your meals with family and friends
High consumption of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds
Using olive oil as an important monounsaturated fat source
Eating small portions of nuts throughout the day for snacks
Dairy products, fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts, and little red meat is eaten
Eggs are consumed up to four times a week
Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
One or two small glasses of wine a day, preferably red and at the main meals
Following the Mediterranean Diet means choosing your food, and also knowing what you should avoid. The big no-no’s are the artificial products that did not exist fifty or sixty years ago: artificially hydrogenated products and derivates, and anything containing or being suspect of containing trans-fat.
People who follow the average Mediterranean Diet generally eat less saturated fat than those who eat the average American diet. More than half the fat calories in a Mediterranean Diet come from monounsaturated fats (mainly from olive oil). Monounsaturated fat doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels the way saturated fat does.
The Mediterranean diet features a high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and cereals; a high intake of unsaturated fatty acids, mostly in the form of olive oil; a low intake of saturated fatty acids; a moderately high intake of fish; a low to moderate intake of dairy products, mostly as cheese or yogurt; a low intake of meat or poultry; and finally, a regular but moderate amount of alcohol, usually wine, generally taken with meals.
Bread is an important part of the Mediterranean Diet, HOWEVER, the grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grains, and bread is eaten without butter or margarines, which contain saturated or trans fats.
Why you should consider it
The incidence of heart disease in Mediterranean countries is lower than in the United States. Death rates are lower, too. But this may not be entirely due to the diet. Lifestyle factors (such as more physical activity) may also play a part.
The Mediterranean Diet is also the best way to prevent many diseases. The most important are the “brain ictus” or stroke (first cause of death in women and second in men) and the “myocardial infarction” or heart attack (the main cause in men), but are many more. It has been proved the important role of the Mediterranean Diet in the prevention of the metabolic syndrome (some health disorders of which the most important are: too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure and/or insulin levels and unbalanced levels of cholesterol. So it has been in the prevention of lung diseases, asthma, many allergies, Parkinson, Alzheimer, and also for keeping the bone mass in elderly people. Recently, it has been related the Mediterranean Diet with low incidences of many types of cancer.
Research has shown that following a Mediterranean Diet is protective against a variety of conditions, including hypertension, coronary heart disease, dyslipidemia, diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers, and is related to a reduction in all-cause mortality in the general population.
A report from the Washington Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Project (WHICAP), published in the February issue of the Archives of Neurology, suggested that elderly subjects who followed a Mediterranean Diet were less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment. (Arch Neurol. 2009;66:216–225).
Try it, you might like it
If you haven’t experienced the Mediterranean Diet it’s worth a try. However, keep in mind my two hard and fast rules as it pertains to changing eating habits: (1) no counting calories, and (2) no special foods (meaning prepackaged “diet” meals)!
And finally, again, remember that for any change you make to be permanent, that change must become a permanent part of your lifestyle going forward.
The food you eat is critically important because food fuels the furnace of your metabolism. Exercise then stokes the fire. If you eat properly, and exercise consistently, with intensity, your body will sufficiently burn that fuel (food), giving you extra energy and keeping you at a healthy weight and body fat percentage.
The value of taking fewer timeouts during your workout
Over 30 years ago when I stepped out of the NFL, I went from one bizarre extreme to the other. That is, I went from being a professional athlete who exercised (and was paid to do so) for several hours a day, to sitting behind a desk for many hours a day. The struggle I had then, and it continues today, was trying to fit fitness into my busy, unpredictable life. I’ll admit that it’s easier now then it was when our children were still at home, but it’s still not easy to be consistent with exercise.
Because I have always struggled with consistency, I have strive to be very efficient with the time I do spend working out. That said, I believe most people today are terribly inefficient with their exercise, and waste a lot of time “standing around”, so to speak.
I was reminded of this recently, from an article I read in The Wall Street Journal, January 15th, 2010. The title of the article was “11 Minutes of Action”. The article was about something that I’m very familiar with having played football, but most fans are not aware of; minus the 67 minutes of standing around between plays, the 17 minutes of replays, the crowd shots and the commercials, a three-hour football game boils down to just 10 minutes, 43 seconds of play. Wow!
In other words, as David Biderman puts it in the WSJ article, “If you tally up everything that happens between the time the ball is snapped and the play is whistled dead by the officials, there’s barely enough time to prepare a hard-boiled egg.” “In fact,” he goes on to say, “the average telecast devotes 56% more time to showing replays.”
When people hear this It’s one of those, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”, moments. Think about it. That 10+ minutes of actual action includes both the offensive and defensive players. Single platoon football ended many years ago, meaning that an individual player is actually only playing the game for about 6 minutes. It seems impossible. In fact, as a player, if you told me after the game that I had only been working for 6 minutes, I would have said, “You’re nuts!” Why? Because it certainly didn’t feel like I had only been working for 6 minutes. I was exhausted, beat up, and worn-out!
I actually experienced some of the changes that were taking place in the NFL that affected the extended length of the game, and contributed to more “standing around” for the players, when I played in the mid 70′s. The biggest culprit was TV commercials. Cable TV was coming on the scene and offered a lot of money to the league. In fact, it was cable TV that ultimately led to the huge payrolls of today’s NFL teams. More TV outlets meant a bigger audience and more opportunity for advertisers. The downside was that more commercials needed to be shown during the game. There was nothing worse as a player than to be driving down the field with success and momentum, only to have to stop and twiddle your toes for a 3 minute TV-timeout. Please, just let us play the game!
Related to this odd reality of a 3 plus hour football game where the players are only actually playing for around ten minutes, I want to make two relevant observations about exercise:
1. You don’t have to exercise for long periods of time to get and stay in great shape physically.
Keep in mind that football players do just as much standing around during practice, yet they are in great shape physically. When it comes to exercise, it’s important to keep in mind that the length of time you need to spend working out depends entirely on what you’re preparing for. It’s critically important to exercise according to what you’re trying to accomplish. If your goal is to run a marathon, then obviously you’re going to need to put in long hours running. However, if your goal with exercise is to simply look good, feel great, keep your weight down, and maintain your strength − you do not have to spend a lot of time working out. In fact, in the long run, you’ll be much better off if you do your exercise in short bursts, with very high intensity, and for a shorter period of time overall.
2. If you exercise at a gym or health club, you can get much more out of your workout if you shorten the time spent “standing around” between sets.
Though I do not go to a gym or fitness facility to workout, I will on occasion go into a club and just observe people exercising. For the most part, what I witness is too many people spending way too much time doing things other than exercise.
Next time you workout, take a stop watch and time your exercise. That is, the actual time you’re lifting, stretching, running, peddling, etc.. Let’s say your actual workout time is 23 minutes, however, the average time spent there is 45 minutes. That means you’re doing a lot of standing around.
This is not to take anything away from the value of socializing, talking to friends, etc.. In fact, for many, that’s precisely why they enjoy the health club experience. However, you’ll get much better results reaching the goals of your workout, if you work quickly through your exercise routine in short bursts, allowing just enough rest between sets to catch your breath, keeping your intensity level as high as possible until you’re finished. Head down; concentrate; get to work; work hard; and keep pushing until you’re done! In other words, no TV timeouts!
Then after you’re finished, you can spend the remaining 22 minutes just hanging out.
If you do this, not only will you get better results in a shorter period of time, but psychologically, the next time you start talking yourself out of that day’s workout because you don’t have time, you’ll be more inclined to go for it − knowing that it really doesn’t take much time to get in a great workout.
I mean really… can you not find 6 minutes?!
How to make this New Year about a New You
Well, it’s that time of the year. Time to think about making a New Year’s resolution. Or, maybe not! If you’re one of those who has been burned in the past, by making and even getting excited about a renewed commitment to change some aspect of your life in the New Year, only to once again not make it stick, then you’ve probably made a resolution to never again make resolutions. As a cynic once said, “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”
Is there really anything to the idea of goal setting at the turn of a new year? Many people believe there is. For what it’s worth, here are the top ten New Year’s resolutions made in 2008:
Manage debt/save money
Get a better job
Spend more time with family
Eat right/Get fit
Get a better education
Volunteer to help others
Does making resolutions make sense?
Let’s examine statistically how successful people are, as it relates to maintaining their resolution as time goes on.
Past the first week: 75%
Past 2 weeks: 71%
After one month: 64%
After 6 months: 46%
While a lot of people who make New Year’s resolutions do break them, research shows that making resolutions is useful. People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. Abraham Lincoln said, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” That said, clearly being explicit and specific with your resolutions goes a long way toward realizing those goals.
I highly encourage people to make New Year’s resolutions. I have always found the turning of a new year to be a great time to take a few steps back and evaluate things that need to be changed in my life. Then I set specific goals to do things differently, with the kick-off-date being the first day of the new year.
There is something about beginning January one that works especially well with fitness goals. Partially, I think, because we have just experienced two major “eating” holidays back-to-back. With the exception of a few lingering Bowl games, January one is a great time to dial back the high calorie eating.
This year, if any of your resolutions are about health and fitness, be encouraged by the fact that it won’t take an entire year for you to make significant strides in changing your body. The human body changes must faster than most people think. But the changes begin on the inside, then given more time, begin to show on the outside.
Do you realize that whether you’re 6, 16 or 65, your body replaces 300 BILLION cells every day. Your body is made up of trillions of cells that live mostly for a few weeks or months, die, and are constantly replaced by new cells in an endless cycle. For example, your taste buds live only a few hours, white blood cells live 10 days, and your muscle cells live about three months. Even your bones dissolve and are replaced, over and over again. A few key stem cells in each organ and your brain cells are the only ones that stick around for the duration. All of your other cells are in a constant state of renewal.
People think of their body as a fairly permanent structure but most of it is in a state of constant flux as old cells are discarded and new ones generated in their place. Each kind of tissue has its own turnover time, depending in part on the workload endured by its cells. The cells lining the stomach last only five days. The red blood cells bruised and battered after traveling nearly 1,000 miles through the maze of the body’s circulatory system, last only 120 days or so on average before being dispatched to their graveyard in the spleen.
Here’s where it gets really exciting!
You replace about 1% of your cells every day. That means 1% of your body is brand-new today, and you will get another 1% tomorrow. Think of it as getting a whole new body every three months. Though not entirely accurate, it’s pretty close. With that in mind, you are walking around in a body that is brand-new since three months ago – new lungs, new muscles, new skin, etc. Take a look at your legs and realize that you will have new ones in another few months.
The key to staying younger longer is to keep producing healthy cells. Whether your “new body” is functionally younger or older is a choice you make by how you live! You choose whether those new cells come in stronger or weaker. Your cells don’t care which choice you make, they just work with what you give them.
Exercise, and your cells get stronger; don’t exercise, and they decay. When you exercise, your muscles release specific substances that travel throughout your bloodstream, telling your cells to grow. Sedentary muscles, on the other hand, let out a steady trickle of chemicals that whisper to every cell to decay, day after day after day. An active lifestyle can tip the balance in your body toward growth and renewal.
Here’s the bottom line: You can restructure how you look, how you feel, how you perform, how you think, and how you age. It’s not a miracle or a mystery. It’s the biology that God has given you, and put you in charge of! But if you’re like most, you have slacked off in a number of areas that are critically important to the production of new and better cells. You can change that! And there’s no better time than the turning of a new year.
Make S.M.A.R.T resolutions
Begin thinking about what you can do, or stop doing, that can fundamentally change your body in only a few months. Then write down your goals (resolutions). Be very specific with each change you plan on making. When setting goals use the word “Smart” as an acrostic for structuring resolutions. This is not something I came up with. It has been around for a long time. “S.M.A.R.T.” stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. This will help you better write goals you will stick to.
Specific – your goal should answer the What, Where, Why and How questions, written as simply and clearly as possible. Use action words to explain WHAT are you going to do? WHY is this goal important? HOW are you going to do it, etc?
Measurable – If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Choose a goal with measurable progress so you can actually see the changes you are making, otherwise how will you know when you have reached your goal?
Attainable – an attainable, agreed upon, achievable goal involves realistic goals that consider your current situation, financial and personal resources, as well as time available to achieve success. Set your goal to challenge and “stretch” you slightly, but don’t go too far out of your reach setting unattainable goals, otherwise you’ll become discouraged and give up, again.
Realistic – a realistic goal is a goal you can control and achieve, requiring effort on your part, a positive mindset, positive action, determination and consistency that will enable you to achieve and accomplish goals you set. Each time you achieve a goal, enjoy the satisfaction that goes with goal achievement, rewarding yourself appropriately.
Time-bound – a time-bound goal includes realistic time-frames, using dates and times as measurement towards successful completion of each goal. Setting a time frame for goals set gives you a clear and precise target to work towards. Without a set time limit, your commitment is too vague, open-ended, lacking a sense of urgency to take action now to accomplish goals.
Resolve to make 2010 the year of the NEW YOU!