All entries for January 2012

Lifestyle Diseases

January 17, 2012

Two hours snowboarding in the Rockies.

Have you noticed lately that the drug and medical supply commercials on TV and in print seem to be the most prolific? Diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and hypertension are the diseases most discussed. Oh yeah, let's not forget the voluminous number of weight loss commercials also.

So what's going on? Well, the cynical New Yorker in me would say that there is a lot of money to be made selling these products, but there is more to this story. What we are seeing today is an increase in these "Lifestyle Diseases." Our very technical, sophisticated and excellent healthcare system has been very successful in curing many types of cancer and prolonging our lives, however, we are screwing it all up!

Yep, it's our fault because these lifestyle diseases are most often self inflicted and we as a society are not doing anything about it. Actually, we are encouraging the proliferation of these diseases.

Let's look at Type 2 Diabetes. Previously, this was referred to as Adult Onset Diabetes, but now overweight children of ten are developing this type of diabetes. The truly amazing fact is that Type 2 Diabetes can be easily controlled and often cured by losing weight and eating properly.

So, if you were walking down Michigan Ave in Chicago, and saw someone banging their head against the Wrigley Building while complaining about a headache, wouldn't you suggest they stop banging their head or at least find a softer building?!

We have the ability to take control of our health and rid ourselves of these Lifestyle Diseases......isn't it time we stop banging our heads against the wall?    


Resolve to Get Excited!

Three hour snow shoe hike in the Colorado Rockies. 

There were two worrisome articles in the NY Times this week discussing New Year’s resolutions to exercise more that go unresolved and weight loss success relapsing into gains. I found both articles very negative and certainly not inspiring.

What we need is some good old fashion hoopla!! We need to get excited about what this new year offers us and get up and get moving. We need more Richard Simmons! Jumping up and down, slapping some butts (not positive if he did that part) and encouraging everyone to start being active!

Sure we can read the pessimistic, sarcastic and down right fatalistic statistics on weight loss, fitness and healthy lifestyle changes, or we can start our future today.

Start easy. Set yourself up for some easy "wins," and build up your confidence that you can do this. In January, find something active that you like, did like or think that you would like to do. Start with some goals that you know you can accomplish. As you feel good about what you are doing, then slowly at the beginning of February, add a little more time and intensity to your chosen activity.

By March, when many others have fallen exhausted off the wagon, you are now just hitting your stride and many have added a different activity or exercise to give themselves some variety. Now, as April and the Spring arrives (sorry Chicago, you will need to be more patient) you venture outside more and enjoy your active lifestyle even more.

You get it now, maybe even throw in an active vacation like skiing or a bike trip, and you're ready for the summer and some beach time!

Let's prove the pundits wrong this year and set some realistic goals and resolve to achieve them. If you need someone to talk you down from that chocolate tower supreme dessert, just holler out to me.


Make Better Resolutions

It's that time of year again. We're faced with a fresh new year and we feel obliged to make promises to improve ouselves. However, how many times have you made a New Year's resolution and completely forgotten about it by March or April? If it's happened to you, it's likely because you made unspecific or unrealistic resolutions. For example, let's say your resolution is to eat better and exercise more--both of which are wonderful goals. However, with no specific target or plan, you may be setting yourself up for failure. What does eating "better" or exercising "more" mean? If you don't make your resolutions targetted, they are much less achievable. This year try to make specific goals along with a plan to achieve them.

In January we're bombarded with countless news stories of "cleanses" and "detoxes." After a month-long eating and drinking binge, these drastic measures may sound temping to you. But, quick fixes or radical approaches to weight loss are neither safe, nor long lasting. If you deprive yourself so severely, you'll set yourself up for a binge later on. Avoid falling off the wagon after a strict diet by concentraing on realistic and achievable goals to keep the momentum going all year long.

Here are some examples of realistic resolutions with plans on how to achieve them.

1. I will eat breafkast every morning.
Plan: I'll create 3 different simple morning meals so that I don't have to worry about what to make every day. I'll prepare my breakfast the night before so I'm not rushed in the morning.

2. I will curb my late night eating.
Plan: I will try other tactics to escape my cravings like drinking hot tea, brushing my teeth, or going for a walk.

3. I will exercise 3-4 days per week.
Plan: I will carry my exercise clothes in the car with me at all times. If I can't make it to the gym, I will find other ways to add in activity like taking a walk or doing an exercise video at home.

4. I will cook 1-2 nights per week at home.
Plan: I will plan my meals and select my recipes on Monday morning for the week. I will cook one night during the week and one night on the weekend.

Once you're following a plan, find ways to reward yourself for your hard work (but not with food!). Buy a new exercise shirt or get a massage. In addition, learn to forgive yourself for any mishaps. Resolutions are just goals to help you live a healthier and happier life. Focus on the positive and the rest will fall into place. Happy New Year!



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