Practical Options for Better Health in 2015

For the person who is not so keen on working out or dieting, and even those who tend to toe the line in the gym and on the roads, body image and health can be an issue.  Most people have attempted a diet or two and most have failed miserably.  This is often not due to lack of desire or a want to change oneself, but due to such drastic and unrealistic life changes that they feel they need to make to achieve what they see as success.  

As we near the time of year where we all write down our goals for a better life in the year to come, it is inevitable that it somewhere contains ‘Getting In Shape’. I wanted to share a few thoughts that may help you find more success and happiness in 2015, spurred by a great, a very to the point, article from John Hillis and Dan John in a preview to their upcoming book, Fat Loss Happens on Monday.  

Talking with family, friends and patients regarding weight and health issues, I have always adhered to the eat less, eat better and move more (preferably under load) philosophy.  I enjoyed this article, mainly because it fell in line with my own thoughts, as it puts most health goals into 3 very simple ideas.  

First, lets talk about EXERCISE.  Not because it is the most important factor in weight loss and fitness goals but because out of the 3 topics we will discuss, it is probably the least important.  Do not get me wrong, exercise is vital to health but I liken this view to an analogy I use with the athletes I work with in that you are not going to go out a purchase a brand new Audi iS7 (Dream Ride) and fly down the highway using low grade oil and bottom line unleaded fuel; why would you do that with your body?  Exercise should compliment your nutrition and eating habits, just as nutrition should guide you to your overall health goals.  There is a huge difference between a bodybuilder, someone trying to lose a stubborn 10 or 15 pounds and say a marathoner like me.  We could spend all day exercising, putting in our time in the gym or out on the road working towards our goals, but if we get home and stuff ourselves with Doritos (I know…they are delicious) and fried, empty calorie, low protein foods, our results will be severely hindered.  Below are a few tips regarding working out but please remember, what you put into your body and how much is much more important.  

  • STRENGTH should be your goal, we could all benefit from being stronger.  Strength does not equal bulk so ladies, distance runners, and others afraid of this myth, you can not use this as an excuse, it is not a valid argument!

  • Don’t do the same easy workout over and over and expect to see results.  Variety is the spice of life and hard workouts mixed in provide the biggest benefits.

  • Multiple muscle group movements!  Sitting down and doing concentration curls are not going to burn off that belly fat!  Learn to squat, clean and dead lift.  Master push-ups, pull-ups, overhead presses, rows, etc.  Form is imperative but these movement will prepare you for the uncertainty of life that each day brings.  

  • Don’t let time restrict you, there is always time.  Even a quick workout can be effective, try it.

    • 5 rounds of 10-15 reps each in a circuit:  All you need is some floor space and a band.

      • Squat, Push Up, Lunge, Band Row, Knee Tuck Jump, Curl into Press, 1 min plank.

      • Rest 1 minute and repeat.  Effective on those days when you have a tight schedule

 This picture helps explain what happens when you alter body composition.  You do not have to lose a ton of weight to look ‘slimmer’.  

Next we are going to talk about nutrition, the key to health success, in two ways:  Quantity AND Quality.

Lets start with QUANTITY.  Do you often binge eat?  Are you like me and find comfort in snacks, for some reason after the magical hour of 9 or 10pm?  This is a real challenge for many people, and one not to be taken lightly (pun was not intended there, it just happened).  Where I feel most people is when they try to make changes so drastically that they have no hope for success.  Quantity must match your goals; I am going to eat more as my training mileage increases but after my goal marathon race and I take a week or two off, I have to adjust for that.  Also, a bodybuilder will eat much more than a person looking to shed a few pounds over the next few months….YES I SAID MONTHS, trying to drop 10 pounds in the 2 weeks before your vacation is just plain STUPID and unsafe, we will save that for a later post! Below are some basic points on QUANTITY:

  • Keep your quantity of food relative to your goals.  More frequent and smaller portions as well as less total intake for ‘loss goals’ and more frequent and greater amounts for gain goals.  

  • While people relate weight loss to caloric deficiency, if you are working out, you have to provide your body with fuel to recover and change.

  • This is the hardest one, for me personally and for most people out there…try not to eat within 2-3 hours of bedtime.  You will sleep better, have less GI discomfort, very important for GERD patients and there is a reason your next meal is called Break-Fast.  Fasting will also be discussed at a later date.  

Now we come to QUALITY.  Lets be real for a minute…we all KNOW what we should and should NOT eat!  However, there are factors that do play into this such as access, affordability, laziness, peer pressure, etc.  Setting those things aside, Quality is the most important factor to your health.  You could eat 2000 calories per day of fast food and get a very different outcome and have a much different overall health picture than someone who eats 2000 calories each day of lean meat, raw nuts, fresh vegetable and fruits.  This is also another area where drastic changes more than likely end up in failure.  Here are some more basic points to help.

  • Start small!  Begin switching out a snack or two with something more healthy.   Try getting one vegetable with each meal, eat a salad once during the week and once on the weekend.  Make the goals attainable and you will decrease your risk of falling off the wagon.

  • While organic is best, for many cost is an issue.  Visit your local Trader Joe’s, their prices are great, even on organic items.  If you have to go with non-organic, wash them in a sink full of water with a cup or so of apple cider vinegar. Avoid GMO foods like the plague.  

  • Try to eat more meals at home and start packing a lunch.  The goal here is to avoid fast food altogether while giving you portion control which places you on the fast track to a much healthier life.  

  • When you do get in the habit of eating vegetable daily, try to incorporate different colors.  Each vegetable provides a special and specific blend of vitamins and nutrients.  

We hope this helps.  Do NOT try to focus on all of these things at once.  Pick the one that you feel will help you the most and work on that area for a few months before picking up another area.  Remember that changes are not made overnight, they take multiple SMALL steps in the right direction with an end goal in mind that may be months or even a year or two off.  If you are unhappy about your health, weight or body composition, understand that you have the ability to make the right choices for a better, healthier and happier you.  Do not get discourage and just try to be better today than the yesterday.  If you are one of those who needs a structured, written plan with some added accountability, we are here to help. 801-467-7141 

Happy holidays!  Enjoy this wonderful time of year with friends and family making new memories and beginning new traditions.  We look forward to helping with your health and fitness goals in 2015.  

Stay safe, Be healthy, Move Often.  

Dr. Andrew J. Reheisse