If you can make regular exercise part of the way you live your life, and make changes to your relationship with food, then you can get healthy, stay trim and live a longer life.
Men and women out there, if you don’t want to tuck your shirt into your trousers, because of the “muffin top” or “ beer belly”…and I am not going to be gender specific here, then you have a problem. And not just a fashion issue. The belly represents large amounts of fat deposited around your vital organs and inside your arteries. The jury is out on whether it is a cause or effect, but it is a great big, flabby warning sign that your health is going down the toilet.
So, let’s fix it.
Simple Steps to Exercise
- Get physical every day. Make physical exercise routine, not exceptional. So, walk to work, cycle to work, walk to the shops, carry your stuff, don’t drive if you don’t have to….and by have to, I mean if it is more than 10km away, then maybe drive. This is just using your body, this is background.
- Do something specific for exercise 5 days out of 7. You need to be in shorts/t-shirt, women…no make up…this is about exertion and sweating, not looking good. Aim for 30-60 minutes, but if you aren’t in the mood, then make it short and intense. Remember it is easy to exercise when you feel like it, the time to really celebrate is when you do something and it is hard. If you struggle in the morning, put your running shoes and shorts by the bed and just put them on and get out the door. By the time you have woken up, you’ll be half done.
- For those of you who already do quite a bit of regular exercise…ramp it up, set yourself a goal you had previously thought unattainable; run that half or full marathon, try a triathlon, ride your biike over 60km in one go. A work collegue of mine ran 4 times a week, 3 or 4 kms each time, and was nervous about trying any longer distances. I said..” Have a go at a 10km fun run”…she did it easily, and felt great about herself. One of my patients decided to do the Paris marathon, she did the training, and she is now on her way, how thrilled she is going to be.If you look around at people who do these things, they are no different from you. You can do it.
- If you can’t run or ride, set up your own simple circuit at home. Go up and down some steps for 10 minutes. Skip for 1 minute bursts, lie on a towel inside and do some push ups, put some music on and dance around for 10 minutes.
- Find a way to exercise and use your own personality traits. If you love technology, buy a GPS tracker, or use“Mapmyrun”, or a fitbit. If you love new gear, buy a fancy bike or some new shoes. If you like to be social, join a running group. If you don’t…don’t. If you love the gym, then join, if you hate the gym, don’t bother. Don’t set yourself up to fail by choosing an exercise that you are not going to stick with. If you are bored, then mix it up.
None of us have a “ natural” relationship with food anymore. The problem is we are hard-wired to store energy as fat, for the famine that will never come.
We don’t ever have to feel hungry, high energy dense food surrounds us and we don’t have to catch it and kill it.
We don’t have any connection with the animals that are killed, or the veggies that are grown for our consumption. Anything you can do to regain that connection is great, but I think being self sufficient is probably utopia for most of us. So, work with what you have.
- Cook your own dinner and only eat out once a week. Even if you are lucky enough to be able to eat in the great restaurants we have in Melbourne, the food you eat there I guarantee you will be higher in calories than anything you could cook at home.
- Don’t hang around the kitchen or food areas…you will snack if you do this.
- Don’t buy food that you don’t think you should eat. The temptation to have the sugary snack or the chips is prevented at the buying stage. Have only healthy things available at home. Kids don’t need them either so don’t give in to the teenagers, they’ll find ways to get that stuff anyway, but you don’t need to buy it.
- Eat vegies, beans, nuts, eggs, fish, rice, butter, cheese and muesli.
- Don’t buy processed food. It destroys your palate and makes you crave junk.
- Don’t drink soft drinks. Ever. They are pointless. And disgusting. Drink water. It is free.
- Read about the food “ industry” so you are aware of the background behind the food you eat; See Below…
- Alcohol. Have 3 alcohol free days a week, and only drink because you like the taste.
“Eating Animals” by
Jonathon Safran Foer may turn you vegetarian, and is a US perspective, but it
has some great insights and is very well written. My favourite part is where he
suggests that we are all farmers at the point we buy our food. The buying
decision point is where we decide which farming practice we
“Forks over Knives” by
Gene Stone is also an interesting read and movie. Apparently. (I haven’t
actually read it)