Habitude Fitness

Our Future?

If you never saw the movie Wall-E, this clip will illustrate a satire that we may be a little too familair with. As a culture, two-thirds of Americans are obese. Despite our obsession about beauty driven from the media, many of us also look at the problem of obesity through rose-colored glasses. What is the new normal? Some people often take the approach of, it’s not that bad… However, if someone is carrying extra weight there is more affected than just a bigger jeans size. My heart is for each of us to look at this through the lens of health and wellness. If a person is overweight or obese they may suffer from increased risk of disease, and that is concerning to me. Conditions such as high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, gallbladder disease, chronic pain and inflammation, arthritis, obstructive sleep apnea, and even some types of cancers are at a higher risk of developing in those who are overweight. So again, what exactly is overweight?  Let’s take the rose-colored glasses off and take an honest look.

To measure obesity, a body mass index report is taken; commonly refered to as BMI. A quick way to calculate BMI, is to take your weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared, multiplied by 703.

Underweight individuals have a BMI of less than 18.5kg/m2. Individuals with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m2 are considered normal. Individuals with a BMI greater than 25kg/m2 are classified as overweight. Individuals with a BMI greater than 30kg/m2 are considered clinically obese and are further broken down into class I, II or III. Obesity class I are individuals with a BMI from 30 to 34.9kg/m2. Class II individuals have a BMI from 35 to 39.9kg/m2. Class III individuals, those with a BMI above 40kg/m2, are classified as suffering from extreme obesity.

It is not just the obesity of the people depicted in Wall-E that is disturbing, but the lifestyle in which they are partaking in. At a quick glance of the clip, we can note that the people are consumed with screens, very immobile (even to the point of being unable to help themselves up), and are consumerist junkies as they are buying, doing, and engaged in whatever the advertiser is selling to them. Again, is this scene from an animated Hollywood movie hitting too close to home?

I know that each of us has diet, fitness, wellness, and weight struggles. Americans generally have little free time, and we may sit so much of the day in our technology driven jobs. In this country, we struggle to lose weight spending our extra dollars on diet promises, entertainment, and the latest fad; all the while small children in poor countries are in poverty hoping to gain weight and have enough nutrition to simply survive. I don’t know about you, but I desire more balance in our world.

Each of us has a story and a struggle. Each of us knows, works, or loves someone with a story and a struggle.  But the story doesn’t have to end in struggle. There is always a way; if there is a will.

What changes can be implemented in each of our lives to maintain a healthy BMI and consider ourselves active individuals? How can we avoid the pitfalls of excessive consumerism and overly following the trend? How can we discover who we are and work toward growing ourselves with each joy and each struggle? I have a few basic suggestions that I have researched, gained from others, or are my own practices. Let’s form some healthy habitudes and avoid Buy ‘n Large, our very best friend! -Wall-E

1. You are what you eat.
I believe and try to live my life by a 90/10 rule. This implies that 90 percent of the time I consume foods that are good for me and my own personal needs, while 10 percent of the time I warrant some freedom to live my life by indulging in what’s important to me. Again, the gross majority of time good, thoughtful, healthy decisions should be made and stuck to. Things that are important to me are a glass of wine, birthday cake (my sister make an amazing flourless chocolate cake!), and my cup of morning coffee. When you are making health conscious choices 80 or 90 percent of the day, week, or month, you will have some flexibility to live your life and enjoy the chosen indulgences that you find irresistible. I will note that I do not have a glass of wine every night, but rather wait to savor the taste of it on the weekend. This is how it has worked for me, but if you are struggling in the area of healthy food choices I recommend that you implement such a rule or personal mantra. No one can be perfect 100 percent of the time. If you set yourself up in such a way, what will happen when you are faced with a decision to make? My guess is you will feel as if you have failed, and that is not the goal of a healthy lifestyle. No diets…healhty choices for the long haul!

2. Move more!
Pick an activity that you enjoy. If you hate running, do not force yourself on the treadmill day after day. Pick activities that inspire you, motivate you, and leave you with a feeling of satisfaction and happiness. Many people are the outdoors type. If that is the case then walk, run, bike, hike, or partake in an outdoor boot camp. If you love to dance then get to a dance class or a fitness class inspired by dance. If you hate working out in front of others, then spend the money and invest in some workout DVDs or purchase some home equipment. You will be much more likely to stick with the activities if you enjoy them. I aspire to be moving well into my 80’s, so I better pick activities that I look forward to!

3. Vary your routine.
I hate monotony and often look for new activities to keep me challenged and engaged. This applies to my fitness activities as well. By changing up your routine, you will not only beat repetitive boredom, but you will decrease the risk of injury, and keep the body guessing. Changing things up will keep you from plateauing, and help you to see continued growth in strength and overall fitness.

4. Portion control.
I have been guilty of having eyes bigger than my stomach and later regretted the decision to overindulge. Even if you are making healthy food choices, you still need to give your body the appropriate amounts. It is less than you may think, and I have never went hungry following these rules. I am not advocating calorie counting, but rather giving your body the right amounts of proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and fats with a quick glance. I believe that we would all by surprised at how little the body needs. As a society, we continue to have a tendency to overindulged. One reason being, because everything we could ever want is right at our finger tips. The food choices out there are higher in calories and lower in nutrients. If you are not making food choices that are lower in calories, and higher in nutrients you may never feel satiated. You will always want more. I can give one brief example of this from my own life. I am a pretty active person; walking a very active dog multiple times a day, teaching fitness classes, training, and working as a respiratory therapist, (another job that has me moving around a lot). I can get hungry, or at least allow myself an excuse to eat more. A common breakfast choice for me was 1 cup of oats in the morning and/or two eggs. When I decreased this to the appropriate 1/2 cup of oats and 1 egg type of combination I saw myself lose a couple of pounds over the course of many months. I was also not hungry by decreasing the amount of food I was eating at a sitting. This new serving size was appropriate for me; despite my high level of activity.

5. Include those around you!
This could look different for each of us. I have found that when I bring others along side me I am validated by my choices, told when I need to reign it in, and am more successful in achieving my goals. This could mean cooking a healthy meal for your entire family, not just a special one for you and then making something different for the rest of the clan. My husband does not need to eat gluten-free/dairy free, and isn’t the biggest fan of a morning green juice. However, he insists on eating the same foods that I do. I appreciate this so much. I cannot seek optimal wellness alone. Having some one to hold me accountable and listen to me is key. A girlfriend of mine is in the middle of a cleanse in hope to help heal her gut. This is not just physically difficult, but mentally and emotionally difficult as well. Another friend recently confessed about a pizza/ice-cream binge. I think he just felt better getting it off of his chest! It is so good to talk about things and support one another as a community with encouragement, new recipes, and thoughtful considerations.

6. Be present and plan.
This is going to require some shifting and time, but I know that by flexing this muscle, it will get stronger! Mindless eating, or not tapping into how certain foods or lack or activity makes you feel can be detrimental to avoiding weight gain and disease. Note that you have increased energy and better mood when you carve out time to move; time for you! React by telling yourself you will do this again! Note what you like and don’t like. Ask yourself if you are really hungry. On a scale of 1-10, 5 is doing fine! Ask yourself if the choice you are about to make is worth it. If it is then enjoy and don’t look back. Planning is difficult as our most precious commodity nowadays is time. It takes time to make a grocery list, time to plan your meals, time to prep food, time to pack a cooler, and time to get active. But again, I go back to the Wall-E clip and ask, where does health, healing, and wellness fall within our value system? If you do not take responsibility now, not only could you personally be harmed, but a snow ball effect could occur by the legacy you leave behind.

7. Take time off!
Self care is a great tip for whole health and winning this battle. Step away from your phone. Try not taking it into the restaurant with you every once in a while. Go for more walks and get fresh air. Shut the cable off and facilitate more conversation, take a nap, read a book or magazine, or indulge in something you have been meaning to do for months! Schedule in quiet time, or you time. Actually put this on your calendar! By taking time off of whatever is eating up time and space in your mind, your life, or your family’s life you can create an avenue to develop new habitudes!

8. Own it.
Be who you are! Know what you like, and be willing to go rogue every once in a while. I keep learning what I value and who I am wired up to be. Even with hesitation, resistance, and opposition, I find myself pulled in a certain direction and desiring the best. I haven’t arrived yet, and never will. But learning to have the confidence to be me is freeing!

Remember, where there is a will, there is most definitely a way!
Your Trainer,

Works Cited

“BMI & Definition of Obesity.” LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.

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