3-1-07 235lbs 3-29-07 221lbs 3-30-07 221lbs 4-6-07 217lbs Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE! Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

Effects of Weight Loss on Blood Pressure

Over the last few weeks I have been very interested in finding non pharmaceutical ways to control my blood pressure.  Without to much surprise, weight loss through proper nutrition seems to be the number one thing you can do for yourself.  A 10 pound weight loss is said my some experts to reduce your BP by 8 points.  Eating the right types of food can also have a dramatic impact on your blood pressure.

Most of us resign to the using of medications to control blood pressure because it means we don't have to change our live style.  However, I would rather spend the $50 - $100 a month I would have to pay for medications, on a gym membership, a mountain bike, healthier foods, etc....

This last week I was able to lose 9 pounds following a diet plan. While this is a fast drop in weight my goal is to lose another 45 pounds over the course of this year.  In the first week alone my blood pressure dropped by 5 points systolic and 7 points diastolic.  While that still puts me in the category of Pre-hypertension (Pre-hypertension is 120-139 over 80-89), to me that is significant.  I am not sure if it is a result of the weight or the change in foods.  Next I will be adding a little more exercise, but weight loss does make a difference.  I am proof. For more info on Blood Pressure go to Workings.  They have some great thoughts on this topic.

South Beach Diet Excitement

I have just stepped off the scale after 7 days on the south beach diet.  I have stayed away from weighing myself because in the past I had trouble emotionally handling the 2 pounds lost, one pound gained cycle I typically find myself in.  So here are some quick facts about my past week.

  • I started the week at 230 pounds and my goal is to be at 178-175lbs
  • I started by going to the store and buying the food I would need to be successful
  • I kept a jar of unsalted penults at work for quick snacks and always had a glass of water close by
  • I made one mistake, I without thinking grabbed a piece of taffy out of a bowl in one of my employees offices without thinking.
  • I tried very hard to anticipate situations that might mess up my diet attempts
  • I have a very supportive family - wife and kids - and a few supportive friends.
  • I felt hungry often, but found that a slice of thin ham, or cottage cheese, did a great job of helping me get rid of it.
  • I took a few walks, but not as many as I had planned 

So what were the results???  I am at 221 pounds this morning.  I have not eaten yet or drank anything this morning, but I am at 221 pounds on 4/29/07. I am off to a very satisfying start to this diet.  As I mentioned before, my real reason for being on the diet has more to do with overall health then weight loss.  As I have been reading, those who have lost the weight and keep it off generally lose small amounts of weight each week, 1-2 pounds, over 2 years or more, not as a result of a fad diet, but as a result in a life style change that effects how they view food, how they use food, what they think about food, and ultimately what they do with their food.

So what did a typical day look like for me? I started each morning with a large glass of water.  I then would make breakfast with a variety of sauteed vegetables ( I love onions, mushrooms and bell peppers), two slices of lean thin sliced ham, two eggs, and a small amount of cheese. I also gave myself a small cup of coffee with some 1% mild.  While breakfast was cooking I would start making a salad for lunch.  I tried to always add chicken, shrimp or ham to the salad for protein and then olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the dressing.  I would grab a cheese stick out of the fridge for a later morning snack and by the time that breakfast was ready I had lunch ready to go as well. My kids laughed at me because I was outside grilling chicken at 7am.  I would try to eat the cheese stick around 10:30 and lunch at noon.  The second half of the day is tough for me.  I would find myself getting hungry around 2pm.  I would have a handful of peanuts but be hungry again at 3pm. With only peanuts around I would have another handful and hope to make it until dinner.  At home around 6pm I would grab another cheese stick or some cottage cheese so I wouldn't be so hungry at dinner I would eat uncontrollably.  Dinner would be some form of grilled beef or chicken, I will buy fish this week. I also would fix up a large amount of vegetables steamed or sauteed, and then make a crispy, crunch salad. Throughout the day I was drinking glass after glass of water.  Sometimes it would help with the hunger, but I swear most of my exercise was walking back and forth from the bathroom.

I found that yesterday I was a little bit bored of the same type of food every day, but after next week will be adding some fruit and carbs back in.

Weight is coming down and so are the blood pressure numbers.  I am excited.  I wish you success this week in your diet endeavors.  It is worth the battle.

Remember your youth

Today I found myself outside watching my 14 year olds semi-final soccer match.  It is said that in a soccer game the midfielder's can easily run 5+ miles.  What struck me was how they were running without appearing that they were affected in anyway by the effort they were exerting.  Perhaps it was the almost 70 matches they have played this year, or the fact that not one of them had an ounce of extra body fat on them.  These soon to be men, boys are the picture of healthy.  Bodies utilizing their fuel to produce the energy needed to complete the task assigned.

Not to long ago (well longer then I want to admit) I too was able to run from dawn to dusk, place super human demands on my body, and accomplish almost every physical task I undertook.  What a change when I look at the Me of today.  I carry extra weight, do not efficiently use the fuel I give my body, tire in mid-task, and have difficulty more than I would care to admit accomplishing a few of the tasks I set out to complete.  The interesting thing is each of us can move towards the IMGP0653energy, vitality and good health that the 14 year olds I watched have.  We can gain control of our situation.

 While waiting for the soccer game to start I found myself in a book store reading Men's Health.  My eye was caught by the story of a man in his mid 30's who woke up one morning at 300 pounds.  He decided he was going to change his situation.  He cut his calories in half, started eating good foods (not fast food and candy), and began to exercise an hour a day.  After 5 years he is now 175 pounds and just completed a marathon.  There is nothing that says anyone is stuck where they are in regards to health and fitness.  Each of us can gain control and change our current situation. For me, it is a battle worth fitting.  I probably will never be able to play soccer at the level I saw today, but I can reclaim good health.

What Keeps Me From Living Healthy

I have been asking myself the last few days, what keeps me from living Healthy. By Healthy I mean, physically, emotionally, and socially. A few months ago I was ignorant of what healthy living might look like and entail. However, waking up, looking in the mirror, and being dissatisfied, I decided to start educating myself. There is a wealth of knowledge out there in books and on the web. The trick I've found is sifting through it and determining what applies to you and your life style, as opposed to just adopting whatever someone else says. So...... back to what keeps me from living healthy.

  1. It takes work to live healthy - The planning of meals, the buying of good food, making time to work out and then actually doing it. I come home after working all day and am tired, now I need to work again?
  2. I have to think - What is the Healthy choice? Should I really have another drink? Do I want to think this way? Is this something I should go to the doctor for? - When I get home from work I want to go mindless, not make more decisions.
  3. It will cost me relationally - My friends are going out to eat? If I make time to exercise I won't have time for my friends/family? Why should everyone else have to make sacrifices for me to eat what I need to, exercise when I need to, etc...
  4. I don't see immediate results - I want instant success that the world can see, not a slow over time change in my life.
  5. If I go to the Doctor, he is going to tell me what I don't want to hear -

Of course my thinking is flawed, I see it in every line I write, but it is this very thinking that keeps me from living healthy. It is my thought process and way of thinking that is my biggest obstacle to living healthy. For most healthy living needs to start with changing the way we think and view life, work, relationships, happiness, success, etc.... It starts with facing the reality of "Who I am, Where I am at, and Where or Who I want to be." Seems so easy to say, but tough to do. For me I have 43 years of habits and faulty thinking to undo, if I am ever to have a chance at living healthy. Educating my self has been the starting point and a way to see what must change in my life.

There are lots of inspiring Blogs on healthy living a great way to find a few is on the search directories like Blog Top List - Heath, or, Blog Top Sites. And there is no end to the books on Healthy Living. Each of us needs to decide what place Healthy Living will play in our lives, and then we need to decide what we are willing to do to get there. Again, I say it is worth the battle if the outcome is a happier, healthier, better, me.

South Beach Diet - Obstacles to Success

I am officially on the South Beach Diet, Day 4 is just beginning. I notice I woke up less hungry than the first few days, and after eating I am full. This is great, because during the first few days I almost had to tie myself down to keep from heading to the fridge, convenience store, or fast food restaurant.

There were a few things I didn't anticipate or have a plan for going in, that you might want to be aware of as you start out on your diet, South Beach or other type):

  • Co-Workers Candy Jars - Many offices where I work have candy jars. Some full of taffy, others M&M's. Prior to my diet I would take a few whenever I was in one of those offices. On day one I, without thinking, picked up a piece of taffy and popped it in my mouth. You need a plan to deal with your environment.
  • The Mother In Law - Day two I got a call at work that we were going over to the In Laws for dinner. Not a problem because we do this almost once a week. However, when at someone else's house you lose control of what is being prepared. Noticing it, I quickly mentioned I was on a diet. We were having Hamburgers, Potatoes, lots of wine, and cake. With her ok I went for the Hamburger without the bun and Ketchup and instead put on some mustard, took some extra tomatoes and onions, poured up a big glass of water, found the makings for a salad, and skipped out on dessert. Since it was only one hamburger patty and I was on day two, I went home a bit hungry. I quickly made up a SB dessert and made it through the day ok. You need to be able to improvise when needed.
  • Today I have an all day meeting away from my facility. Of course I am in the medical field so all the healthy snacks will be there like; Costco Muffins - 100% Carb, small little candy bars, hard candy, pop, etc... I am known for eating a good amount of these items as I am a stress eater and these meeting produce a lot of it. Also, I lose control of lunch again. So, I will bring a few of my cheese sticks, and try to grab a bag of nuts on my way in to the meeting. I'll grab some water as well. Think ahead when you know what your walking into.
  • After the meeting a group of us usually go out for drinks, and we can drink a lot. Since alcohol is off the diet at the moment, and this is an area of weakness - not the drinking, but the hanging out with friends and having a few, I will probably need to avoid the temptation all together and head home early tonight. Avoid your areas of weakness when possible.

There are many obstacles to success in dieting. My list is growing and I am only starting day four. I anticipate things like boredom with the food choices, the desire to go out to eat, etc... will soon make my list. It would be great to hear from you what obstacles you have faced and what you are doing to keep them from hindering your resolve to live healthy. I will make sure your thoughts get posted.

Picking the South Beach Diet

I have been researching diets for sometime now, looking for one that isn't just hype, but makes sense. There were a number that stated I could lose 20 pounds in 30 days. Others promised I could eat whatever I wanted and lose weight at the same time. I figured that the diet I chose needed to address the health issues that are beginning to creep up on me. Those issues are:

  • Obesity - In my research a few weeks back I discovered that my height and weight but my Body Mass Index just into the range of Obesity.
  • Diabetes - My last visit to the doctor I was informed that I am pre-diabetic and need to make some changes before I become diabetic.
  • Family History of Coronary Heart Disease - May Grandfather died of a Heart Attach, my Dad had open heart surgery.
  • High Blood Pressure - My BP has crawled up there and I would love to avoid medication if at all possible. My Dad and Grandfather also had High Blood Pressure.

The South Beach Diet was developed by Cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston. As a result of problems he was seeing with the Heart Healthy Diets, he went to work on something that was simple and addressed the issues he had identified with the growing Obesity issue he was seeing. Through his research he determined that the efficiency in which our bodies break down food into useful energy, makes the difference in wether or not we gain weight and place ourselves at risk for Cardiac Issues, Issues Related to Diabetes, and other problems that affect those who are overweight. At the center of how our bodies breakdown and store food is insulin - the production of, and our bodies acceptance of or resistance to the insulin we produce.

The South Beach Diet appears to be more about changing habits in how we eat and what we eat, then it is about losing weight. It is more about overall health then a fad that everyone is following for a season. The South Beach Diet seems right for me because it addresses some of the specific issues I am facing. I encourage each one who is thinking of dieting to research the diets out there and to chose the one that addresses the medical and genetic issues that you are facing. I don't believe that one diet fits all. I also know that for me to stick with something over a long period of time, it has to make sense to me. I'll keep you posted on how it works for me. Weight will be something that I am expecting to see drop, but I also expect to see my cholesterol and triglycerides come into line, as well as my blood sugars. With those areas being controlled I trust Blood Pressure will be affected in a positive way. My goal is improvement in my overall health and wellness. If that doesn't happen I won't be on the South Beach Diet very long.

Pre Diabetes

At my most recent visit to the Doctors office, he ordered the normal labs to ensure that everything is working properly in my body. Going over the results he stated, "looks like you have Pre-Diabetes." Thoughts raced through my head. Will I have to give myself shots? will I lose a toe or foot? does that explain my vision getting worse? All of course are things that can occur with Diabetes.

Going home I did a little research, and found that 54 million people in the USA with Pre-Diabetes. That didn't make me feel a whole lot better, but it was enough to show it is an issue that many people deal with. Even less comforting was the fact that most type 2 diabetics started with pre-diabetes. The definition of pre-diabetes in its simplest form is - your blood sugar (glucose) is higher than normal, but not high enough to be defined as diabetes.

There are things you can do to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes from developing. Recent studies show that a change in lifestyle has a profound impact. In a few of the studies intense diet and exercise counseling were given, while the test subjects were given little or no instruction. The studies found that the degree to which the progression of diabetes was slowed or stopped was closely related to lost weight, reduced fat intake, reduced saturated fat intake, increased fiber intake, and exercise.

Thinking about lifestyle changes it seems that the changing my lifestyle now to slow or stop diabetes, is better than the alternative of developing diabetes and having to change my lifestyle to accommodate the disease. Its a battle worth fighting

A good source of information on the studies can be found at Diabetes Care.

Stress and Job

Its been a tough day at work, you come home to more things you need to do. You can feel the stress level going up. What do you do? For many the decision is to get lost in a favorite TV show, or to take the edge off with a glass of wine. But experts tell us the best choice is to do something healthy, something physical. Many say there are benefits to be had from simply stretching your muscles and letting your body relax naturally. Others say a 30 minute walk or run can make all the difference. Even going out and doing some physical yard work can pay off in the area of tension release.

Why does physical activity make a difference. For some it is just the change of focus, the getting your mind off of the issues at work or home. Having to focus on balance as you run, or feeling your body stretch, means you are allowing your mind to let go of the days stressors, and focus on something different. But again, the experts tell us it has more to do with the release of endorphins in the body, the relax us and make us feel better. The release of endorphins also aides the body in its ability to sleep better at night. So before you open another bag of chips, plop down on the couch with the remote, or pour a drink, think about making a better choice. A choice to live healthy is part of the battle that I must fight everyday, because I find unhealthy is easier and comes with less hassle. But unhealthy also means more problems over the long haul. Chose to live healthy.

Natural Blood Pressure Reduction

In researching ways to reduce blood pressure, stress, and the potential issues that can arise, I have found many articles on mediatation as a way to lower blood pressure, and to cope with the feelings of being overwhelmed. Meditation is simply a way to calm our minds and bodies, to become more intouch with ourselves, to get a handle on the world around us. It is slowing down in a fast paced world. One site that I recently came across was Anxiety 2 Calm, which looks at this idea of meditation. Another program that is being talked about is Breathing Easy. Both take the approach that learning to relax and calm ourselves can be learned, and that rather than having our external enviornment affect us, we can gain control of that enviornment in a positive way. Some of the other writers would state that learning to relax will allow our blood pressure and stress to reduce naturally, and this makes good sense. While all blood pressure is not the result of our external enviornment, reducing your blood pressure and stress in even a small way would be worth learning how to apply these techniques. For other ideas I ran a search on Natural Remedies to Reduce Blood Pressure on Google. There are many ideas regarding natural ways to reduce your blood pressure, but make sure you are trying these techniques while communicating with your doctor what you are attempting to do.

Benefits of Exercise on Health

Thirty years ago I didn't think about needing exercise, or the benefits of being active. As a kid I just was. From the moment the sun came up until it went down I would be out running, swimming, playing basketball, you name it I was doing it. It was apart of my life and routine.

Fast forward 30 years and now it takes a little work to get myself motivated to start moving. I come home from work, a little worn out from the day, looking for dinner and something relaxing to do (usually the TV). The word exercise is equal to the word work. It is something I have to schedule, prepare for, dress for, and sometimes even travel to do. That just doesn't sound like something I want to focus on until I start thinking of how it helps me.

In earlier articles I have written about obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stress. In each of those articles a common theme has emerged, that of exercise. The Mayo Clinic has an excellent list of the benefits of exercise on their web site. A few of these benefits are worth mentioning here.

  1. Helps manage stress - as I have exercised I have noticed a marked difference in my ability to handle and deal with stress. Exercise promotes the production of endorphins. Endorphins in your body help create a feeling of relaxation or well being. A short run after a tough day can help relieve some of the pressure you feel and free you from the tension you may be experiencing.
  2. Helps you control weight - We all know that the right type of exercise, three or more times a week can help you control your weight. And being at a healthy weight comes with all kinds of benefits, not to mention feeling good about yourself. Simply burning more calories, by exercising, then you take in by eating, will result in weight loss.
  3. Helps you prevent or manage diabetes - Exercise is said to help with the body's sensitivity to insulin. Simply put it allows the body to better use the sugar it is producing by making the cells more receptive to receiving it.
  4. Helps manage blood pressure - Exercise has the benefit of lowering your overall blood pressure when consistent. This is the result of your entire cardiovascular system, heart, lungs, circulatory system, being strengthened.

There are many more benefits to exercising, and if you want to live a healthy life, it requires that we give our bodies the benefits that come with exercise on a consistent basis.

Foolish Things to Do, Think or Say, if You Have High Blood Pressure

10. Pretend it is controlled and not check it regularly.

9. Don't worry about your weight, its only a few pounds.

8. Enjoy the Salt, after all everything tastes better with Salt.

7. Heart Healthy Diet? Only if it allows all the greasy food my heart desires.

6. Have a drink on me, or three or four.

5. Stretch your pills - take them every other day and save a few $$$.

4. The doctor can wait, I have a beer and some greasy fries waiting.

3. Exercise is for the professional athletes

2. Oh, I'm sure it skips every few generations, right.

1. Blood Pressure is a disease. I better just lay on the couch and watch TV

High Blood Pressure must be taken seriously. Because it usually affects you without symptoms the most important thing you can do is to check your blood pressure on a regular basis. This is the only way you can know if you are suffering from high blood pressure or not. In addition, losing weight, eating smart, exercising, and cutting back on drinking and smoking, might not only prevent you from getting high blood pressure, but could actually reverse it. It is worth taking the extra steps to keep your blood pressure in check.


Diabetes affects over 150 million people. Most simply it is a problem of how the body breaks down food, and uses it for energy . In a normal body you produce the right amount of insulin to move the sugar you have created into the cells. With Diabetes you fail to make enough insulin and you blood sugar becomes to high. Left untreated you run the risk for many problems.

There are many terms out there you may have heard, Pre- diabetes, type 1, type 2. These are labels to describe those suffering with diabetes. In Pre-Diabetes your cells are beginning to resist your bodies insulin. It can resemble a lock and key. your cell is a locked door. The sugar wants to get in the door, and the cell would like the sugar to come in. The cell picks up a key (the insulin) and is able to get in. Pre Diabetes is the beginning of a sticky lock that won't always open with the key. This is usually the precursor to Type 2. However, a change in diet, or weight loss, can often correct the situation. The South Beach Diet really addresses this whole issue in its book and was very helpful in my understanding.

Type 1 diabetics are those who do not produce any insulin. It most often occurs in those under 30. Because the body is not producing the needed insulin type 1 diabetic require frequent insulin injections. It is usually described as a genetic disorder.

Type 2 diabetes, sometimes called adult onset, is the result of the cells becoming resistant to the insulin. It usually happens in those who are over 30, but has been know to occur earlier in life for some. This is the most common form of diabetes with 95% of all cases being reported as type 2. If type 1 is a genetic disease, type 2 is a disease of choice. It is usually triggered lack of exercise, a poor choice in diet, and obesity. These are all items that can be controlled by the individual.

Living Healthy in an unhealthy world requires that we each make wise choices in how we treat our bodies. What we eat, how we use our free time, controlling our weight, all play into our health and wellness, and obviously have an impact on your chances of becoming a Diabetic, or controlling your pre-diabetic state. It is worth the battle.

High Blood Pressure

blood pressure x2High Blood Pressure is known as the silent killer. Many people have this disease, but because there are no apparent signs or symptoms many don't know that left uncontrolled it is leading them towards a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, or even heart failure. The only way to really determine if you have it is to have your blood pressure checked.

In most cases the cause of high blood pressure is unknown, but if you have a family history, are obese or overweight, have a stressful job, like to smoke, or are getting older, your risk gets higher and higher. Many of us can identify with two or more of the items above, increasing your risk. If your blood pressure is 140/90 or less you are ok. Any thing more than that and you have high blood pressure.

So if you have high blood pressure, or want to avoid high blood pressure, what can you do? Some suggestions would be:

  • Exercise Regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and veggies
  • Limit Salt intake
  • If overweight lose it
  • Don't smoke
  • Find ways to relax

The list above makes great sense with or without high blood pressure. I for one want to try and incorporate it into my everyday life. It is worth it, to add a few more years of Healthy Living to my life.

Living Healthy Requires a Plan

Today at work I spent a large amount of time focused on strategic planning. I looked at my vision for my company, the values that need to be embraced, the goals and objectives, and finally the path steps to get us to were we want to be. It is easy for me to think clearly and strategically in regards to my business and for me is enjoyable. However, on my way home I was struck by the fact that in the area of Healthy Living I have not done the work of creating a vision of what Healthy Living would look like for me. I have not thought through what it is I value in live and want to pursue. There are no goals listed regarding what I hope to obtain health wise. And sadly, there is not a single path step. No wonder I an so easily knocked off course, in fact, how can I be knocked off course if I have no destination.

Developing a strategic plan regarding healthy living should not take much time, and good plans are constantly being fine tuned and revised, so you don't have to worry about having it perfect. Part of my vision is to outlive my Dad who died at 56. I am forty three and have 13 years to pull it off. My vision also needs to include my desire to stay active in things such as surfing and hiking, hobbies like photography and ceramics, and developing relationships that challenge me and stimulate my thinking. I know I value friends and immediate family, I value looking attractive (which I don't right now), I value being productive and creative. The list goes on. Once the vision and values are down somewhere in writing, the short term goals should start to fall in place. I may not climb to the top of a mountain this year, but a starting point might be to go on a 20 mile backpack trip this year. You get the just of it.

I spend a great deal of time and energy thinking about how to make my business successful for the owners. It only makes sense that I would take the skills I have developed in the area of planning and create the most important plan of all, one that allows me to move closer to living healthy in an unhealthy world.

Dangers of Obesity

Since determining that I am that magic Body Mass Index number that equals obesity, I have been thinking a lot about what it means or could mean. I work in the health care industry and see people who are morbidly obese, and the effects it has on their health, their live style, their self esteem, their relationships, and just about every other aspect of life. You would think that seeing someone struggle to walk or even breathe would motivate me to get on track and lose the 50 pounds that I need to lose. But since finding out that I am more than overweight, I have become a little depressed and unmotivated. Realizing this is not good, I decided to do a little research on obesity and its potential dangers. Here is what I found:
  • Heart disease is greatly increased in those who are in the overweight category - a body mass index of 25+.
  • Those who are overweight run a higher risk of type II diabetes
  • Those who are obese have a 50% greater chance of dying prematurely than those who are of a healthy weight.
  • High Blood Pressure and all the health issues that come with it are twice as likely in those that are obese.
  • Increased likelihood of Depression
  • Increased likelihood of Gallbladder disease
  • increased likelihood of Incontinence

and the lists go on and on and on and ..........

So what does it take for someone to get out of the feeling of being stuck, and to begin embracing and moving towards health. For some there is a strong emotional tie to food, and a councilor is probably needed. For others it is making a choice to change directions and habit patterns.

It is something that I believe is worth battling for, but is very tough to do alone. If you have had success in this area, please share some of the steps you took to be successful. We can all do this.

So What Keeps You From Living Healthy?

Yesterday was a day full of problems for living Healthy. It was Easter, I had to work and deal with a few tough situations, it was raining, friends and family were over, we had Mexican food. All of these things piled up on each other and I found myself not running, I ate more then I wanted, and basically I fell into the victim role.

You are a victim when you feel that others, or your circumstances are controlling you, or that you are powerless to change the way things are going. Click here for a good link on Victim Mentality. Victim mentality is very dangerous to living healthy because it is a way of hiding from the truth, that you are in control of your body, and your choices. I chose to not run in the rain, I chose to eat as much of the dip, and enchilada, and taco's as I did. No one made these decisions for me. I have to be honest with myself, that I chose family, friends, food and drink, over eating healthy and exercising. To make it worse, when I went to bed I wanted to blame my family and friends for my choices

The way out of the victim cycle is to acknowledge that you are in control. Then to prioritize healthy living above everything else. Exercise needs to be scheduled into my life if it is to happen. I need to think through parties ahead of time and the choices I want to make, before I have to make them. In the Battle of Living Healthy, I need to be in control, not choosing to allow others to control me. If I had run and come 30 minutes late, no one would have cared. No one was watching how much I ate. If I had been stronger, I would be feeling better about myself today, and feeling good about yourself is part of living healthy. It is worth battling for.

Stress and the Healthy Life Style

This morning I woke up and was struck by the thought that in all of the business of the last few weeks, I had forgotten to pay the bills. Immediately I felt my blood pressure start to rise. Thoughts of late fees, and all the fun "we will be turning off your electricity if we don't hear from you," letters, not to mention having to admit my mistake to my wife, just added to the knot in my stomach. A little bit later I was in a conversation about on of our children and the cost of something he wants to do over the summer. Again, a few more points on the stress meter. This started me thinking about the impact of stress on a persons life, and what can be done about it.

Stress is a mental or physiological reactions to a real or perceived experience that creates exciitment or alarm. Researchers tell us that constant stress can lead to illness. Some people experience stress as a feeling of being overwhelmed or dread. Others look at it as a call to action or a challenge to rise to. We all responde to stress and feel stress in different ways. Most of us will respond with either a Fright Fight, or Flight, response. That is to say that we either get frozen by stress, like a deer caught in headlights (fright), we rise up to the situation and take it head on, (Fight), or we withdraw and find some type of coping mechanizm like eating, sleeping or finding some form of distraction from the reality that is producing the stress.

There are many ways a person can cope with rising stress levels, and much is written on this topic. There are breathing exercises, and meditation techniques. Some people exercise to reduce the anxiety that stress produces. But ultimatly removing the stress comes with working through the situation that caused the stress to begin with.

The reality is that if we are going to live Healthy Lives, we must find a way to deal with the stress as we experience it (and part of life is experiencing stress), and we most be willing to face the issues that create stress in our lives and find ways to resolve, solve, or deal with the situations that are affecting us. Once again, this is a battle worth fighting, if it means living healthy in an unhealthy world.

Obesity and Me

As I have been working on this Blog, I have had to come to grips with reality. The reality has to do with how I look, how I feel, confidence, etc.... In researching how to become healthy I have been reading a variety of articles. The toughest to read so far was on Obesity. I ran across a page with a little calculator to determine Body Mass, a tool used for a variety of purposes, but one that can also warn you if you are becoming overweight, or moving on to Obesity. A score between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. a score of 30 or higher is Obese. My score came in at 30. My reality is I am by definition Obese. That is a hard word to swallow. If your interested in determining your BMI check out American Obesity Association Web Site and punch in your numbers.

Even tougher to deal with is the impact that obesity can have on you. Those who are obese greatly decrease their life span, are at an increased risk for Type II Diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, and Osteoarthritis. As a Nursing Home Administrator I see the results of these diseases everyday, and I don't want to be impacted by them. Beyond the Health Issues related to Obesity there are the Social and Emotional Issues that hit. Low endurance, feelings of shame and guilt, embarrassment, can cause us to feel like pulling away from relationships that we need. Depression is high for those who are obese for many obvious reasons.

I have just tipped the scale into Obesity and am now faced with a choice: Do I keep living the way I am living, or do I start fighting the battle to live healthy? At 180lbs and 5'11" I am no longer considered overweight. Losing 50 pounds is all it takes. If I can sidestep the above diseases and an early death it seems an easy decision to make. I am going to Battle On to become Healthy in an unhealthy world

Your Not 18 Any More

There I was, the sun was shining, my new running shoes were laced up, I had my wife's watch, and I was ready to blast through my 20 minute work out. I figured for a first time out I would cover a little more then 2 miles, after all, I could easily knock of 6 minute miles in college. So off I went, and after about 40 seconds I could tell I wasn't 18 any more, or 20 or even 30 for that matter. The lungs started to cry out, stop, stop. Then the legs started to protest. What was wrong, I had barley run the length of a football field and I was ready to shut down. Not the way I wanted my first workout to go. Slowing way down, my goal was to pick up my feet in something that resembled a jog for 20 minutes. It didn't matter to me that people walking were keeping pace with me, the goal was nothing short of 20 minutes. I am not sure if the batteries in my wife's watch were bad or if time just stood soon, but that was the longest 20 minutes of my life, and somehow I made it.

It was obvious to me that my training plan might need to be adjusted. I quickly started to check out some of the experts ideas on beginning to run again. I was surprised to see that many suggested a walk/run program with more on the walking initially then the running. There were a few that said to go for it, but most said to play it safe. The benefits are slowly building up to it, reduced injury potential, less pain initially means I might stick with it. One of my favorites comes from Runners World, and is worth a look. It comes with a weekly schedule so you don't even have to think that much. Living Healthy is something that needs to be sustained over time. So rather than thinking I am 18 and getting hurt right away, I might as well act like the 43 year old I am and start out slow. Maybe slow and steady really will win the race. In this battle to be Healthy, I hope so.

Health and Wellness Defined

This morning as I was thinking about how I desire Health and Wellness in my life I was struck by the thought, "Do I really know what Health and Wellness are?" I have an idea, but I might be way off. My assumption is that Health has to do with the physical aspect of our lives, being able to function, free from sickness, able to make our bodies perform in the way we want. Unhealthy would be the inability to get our bodies to function or perform as we desire, or as they were meant to. Wellness would have more to do with the emotional and spiritual aspect of life. That I am OK in my relationships, outlook on life, with nature, etc....

With this being my thoughts on Health and Wellness, I at least know what I am pursuing, and based on my simple definitions I believe Health and Wellness is worth going after in my life.

Dictionary definitions seem to be slightly different than my own ideas. Dictionary.com states that Health is:
1. the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor: good health; poor health.
2. soundness of body or mind; freedom from disease or ailment: to have one's health; to lose one's health.

They define Wellness as being:
1. the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, esp. as the result of deliberate effort.
2. an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.

So both words speak to a wholeness, of body and mind together, which makes sense because if one is not functioning well you really don't have the other. Health speaks more of the condition while wellness speaks of the quality.

That being said, in my life I want both, quality and condition of my body and mind. That is a battle worth fighting.