Monday, January 23, 2012

The Key is Healthy Habits, Duh!

So it's been a while since my last post.  In terms of exercise, I'm still on the wagon.  I've been getting up an hour earlier 3 times a week to lift weights before work.  I've only ridden my bike on the trainer once in the last week.  Food-wise, i haven't been as successful.  Last week, I did fast food three times.  More than I'd like.  Not that this is an excuse, but last week was fairly hectic at work with a lot of hours and two early start days.  The second one, I didn't take my lunch because I didn't get up in time to make it that morning.  I also had a dinner from Wendy's one night.  Not the healthiest option, but their burgers are so dang good.  I also had two huge helpings of the peanut butter cup ice cream in an effort to finally finish it off and get it out of the freezer.  Not all was lost on the food front though.  I didn't have a single potato chip or cookie last week.  I had a few salads with dinner.  I ate apples and bananas with lunches and as snacks.  With the ice cream out of the house, I am turning a corner to more consistent healthy eating. 

I mentioned in my last post reading some health-oriented magazines.  Mainly Andi's copies of "Weight Watchers" and "Cooking Light".  I usually don't get much useful information from WW as it tends to be more geared towards women.  The "Cooking Light" was somewhat informative, in a "duh" kind of way.  Apparently last year the magazine began a feature called Healthy Habits for a new year.  Each month they'd introduce a new habit to undertake to become healthier.  This months copy had a rehash of the first two challenges from last year.  Healthy Habit number one was to introduce more vegetables into your diet.  At least 3 daily servings is recommended as a starting point (with the goal being 7 daily servings).  I always knew from our old friend the Food Pyramid that veggies were important... but 7 servings a day!?!?!?  Wow!  I'm lucky to have 7 servings a week.  I really don't care much for vegetables.  Tomatoes and carrots, yes.  Anything else... not so much.  So with that in mind, I'm going to make a concerted effort to have more veggies.  Simple?  Yes.  How much better can I be at this?  Time will tell.  I'll keep you posted.

The second Healthy Habit in the magazine was..... (wait for it....)..... Be More Active.  This is where the "duh" factor really kicked in for me.  Do we really need to be reminded of this?  If I get off my ass and get my body moving and the heart pumping a little bit harder and its easier to lose weight and be healthy?  Really?  I had no idea.  This is Health 101 stuff, isn't it?  Yes, it is.  But also, more importantly, it is important.  And we all need reminders every now and then of why it's better to take the stairs instead of the elevator. 

One of my biggest reminders of this very simple staple of improving and maintaining healthy lifestyles was delivered when Andi and went on our cruise last January.  Our cabin was located on the 10th deck.  Four decks below the main pool deck and 4 decks above the promenade deck (with shops and indoor restaurants, etc).  When we first stepped aboard, we were pointed to the elevators to get to our deck.  I believe on the second day, we were sitting on the pool deck people-watching, as we both like to do, when after a particularly large group of people walked by, I said to her "If I ever get that big and out of shape, you can divorce me."  Then I looked around some more.  All around us were people that would probably be classified as "obese".  Age didn't matter.  There were kids, young adults, middle-agers, seniors... all with apparent weight problems.  Then it dawned on me.  Our society pushes over-indulgence.  This cruise was an over-indulgence, with it's endless buffet's and over-attentive staff.  This became even more apparent at the buffet's and on the pool deck where overweight shirtless men and bikini clad women lounged about, puffing cig's, drinking copious amounts of booze, and wolfing down plate afer plate of free food.  To that point, I had not used the elevators on board since the first time.  I resolved to go the rest of the trip without using them and would only use the stairs to go from deck to deck.  I also decided to only eat when I was hungry and not to go back for seconds on the buffet "just because I could."  Wouldn't you know, I actually lost weight on this cruise.  I didn't pig out, had healthy breakfasts, ate lots of fresh fruit, and I was active every day (either walking a ton of stairs or snorkelling excursions or both) and came home healthier than when I left.  That cruise was kind of the impetus behind this blog as I realized I didn't want to become the 60 year old pot bellied man with bad knees and hips that couldn't physically do the things I wanted to do. 

All of this reminds me of a couple of other topics that I want to discuss on this blog.  One is the idea of portion control and how that idea has gotten lost in our Super-Size world.  The other is how different eating habits among couples can learn to coexist to foster healthy habits for both participants.  The latter is a work in progress but something that needs to be discussed in order for us to both maximize our goals.

As always, thanks for reading. 

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