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Health and Fitness Blog 101

Let's Get Healthy Together

Exercise Helps You Stay Young

Posted by larends on May 27, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

frankTwo years ago we adopted a dog named Frank from a family that had too many dogs.  Frank is a bulldog/boxer mix and is about 4 years old.  When Frank first came to us, he walked really slow and could barely make it up and down steps.  His favorite thing to do was sleep.  I’m not sure what kind of life he had with his previous family, but he was scared of everything and everyone.  As he got used to our family he started to learn how to play.  We started to take him to the park for walks and get him used to being around other people.

We also have a big fenced in yard with plenty of room to play.  One day when my eleven year old was playing in the yard with Frank, Frank starting running around.  We didn’t even know he could run.  We also have steps outside that lead to a sun porch and have a landing that overlooks the yard.  Frank loves to sit at the top of the steps on the landing.  Since he goes up and down those steps every day he can now run up and down them.

By gradually getting used to moving and walking, Frank was able to get around easier and have more energy.  I’ve experienced this myself.  I didn’t used to exercise and I had no energy.  When I did do any type of physical activity, I had sore muscles for days.  I used to be short of breath when I walked up a flight of stairs.  My back hurt when I would sit for long periods of time.

I’m not sure when or why I started exercising on a regular basis.  It may have been because I started gaining some weight.  It may have been when my Mom was diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disease and started experiencing pain.  I started researching her disease and read that exercise can help alleviate the pain and slow the progression of the disease.

When I did start exercising it took a lot to find the motivation to exercise.  It was easier to sit and watch T.V. I had no energy to get up and exercise.  I wasn’t overweight, but I was out of shape.  I know it takes effort to start exercising, but once you start exercising on a regular basis, you will gain more energy and it will be easier to get up and exercise.  In fact, you may even enjoy it.

Plus, once you start exercising you will feel better, you will be able to do more physical activities without getting tired or sore, and you will feel younger than ever.  Sometimes it’s better to focus on how exercise makes you feel instead of focusing on how much weight you lose.

I recently read an article about a fitness organization that doesn’t focus on weight loss, but they focus on having fun through exercising.  The people that attend the classes have reduced their cholesterol, improved their blood pressure, and reversed their diabetes.  Many have also lost weight, but it’s not the primary focus, so they just enjoy themselves.

Waste or Waist?

Posted by larends on May 14, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

waistAs I was thinking about the cheesecake in my refrigerator that’s leftover from Mother’s Day, I realized that one of my weaknesses is my need not to waste food.  When we are children we are taught to clean our plates.  After all, there are starving children in other countries.  We don’t want to waste food because there are children that don’t get enough food and we don’t want to just throw it away.  The problem is that we now have children in the United States that are overweight.  Children are not taught to eat just until they are full.  They eat whatever is on their plates.  We also have adults that feel guilty if they don’t eat all of their food.

We compromise our waistline because we are reluctant to waste food.  How many parents have finished off their children’s meal because they didn’t want it to go to waste?  A better solution would be to only make enough food to satisfy everyone.  Obviously, that’s sometimes difficult to estimate.  When we go out to eat, many restaurants serve way more food than you want or need, so we end up trying to eat as much of it as we can?

It’s time we take control and let the guilt go.  We need to eat smaller portions and save the rest for later.  Most restaurants will let you take the rest home.  If you don’t have a way to save it for later, don’t feel guilty about it.  You and your health are worth more than any food you leave on the table.  We need to teach that to our children.

As for the cheesecake, I allow myself to have a small piece each day.  Three bites are enough to satisfy the craving without completely ruining your diet.  Of course, you don’t want to do this every day for long periods.  I know it’s difficult to resist eating more.  Especially when it’s a dessert you love and you don’t want it to go bad.  Eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t ever enjoy your favorite desserts again.  You just have to limit them to small portions on an occasional basis.

It’s also best to avoid restaurants that offer all-you-can-eat buffets.  People have a tendency to fill their plates to get their money’s worth.  There is also so much food to choose from that you are tempted to try a little of everything.  Then you feel obligated to eat all of the food.  If you eat at home, you have more control over how much food you eat.  So, stop feeling guilty and start feeling great!

Watch What You Drink

Posted by larends on May 3, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

diet-sodaWe often don’t realize how the things we drink can affect our diets.  We may watch what we eat, but forget to watch what we drink.  When we go out to eat, most restaurants offer free refills on pop or soda.  The calories from these drinks can really add up.  If you drink diet pop or soda, you may think you can drink as much as you want.  However, there is research that suggests diet pop or soda can actually be just as bad.  The link below is an article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta that discusses the effects of artificial sweeteners.  They can increase a person’s appetite and cause more sugar cravings.

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/10/diet-soda-may-do-more-harm-than-good/comment-page-4/

The best beverage that you can drink without any bad side effects is water.  Water has zero calories and you can drink as much as you want.  It will also fill you up, so you don’t eat as much and it quenches your thirst.  Here is a list of several beverages and how many calories they have:

  • Water – 0 calories
  • Diet Soda – 0 calories (read article about harmful effects above)
  • Gatorade – 50 calories (8 oz.)
  • Coke – 95 calories (8 oz.)
  • Root Beer – 152 calories (12 oz.)
  • Sunkist Orange soda – 160 calories (12 oz.)
  • Mt. Dew soda – 170 calories (12 oz.)
  • Cream soda – 189 calories (12 oz.)
  • 1% Milk – 102 calories (1 cup)
  • 2% Milk – 122 calories (1 cup)
  • Orange Juice – 130 calories (10 oz.)
  • Bud Light Beer – 110 calories (12 oz.)
  • Budweiser Beer – 145 calories (12 oz.)
  • Red Wine – 150 calories (6 oz.)
  • White Wine – 168 calories (7 oz.)
  • Bacardi Breezer – 220 calories (1 bottle)
  • Margarita – 150 calories (3 oz.)
  • Gin, Rum, Vodka, Whiskey – 97 calories (1.5 oz.)
  • Pina Colada – 526 calories (6.8 oz.)

Be sure to pay attention to what you are drinking and how much.  If you haven’t read the article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta about diet pop or soda, be sure to read it.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that diet soda is better for you.  The best thing you can do for your body is drink water.  If you find it hard to totally give up other beverages, drink water at least half the time.  Many people feel hungry when they are actually thirsty.  Drinking more water will quench your thirst and reduce hunger.