Monday, August 5, 2013

Healthy You--Healthy Me

I recently read a featured article in our local paper about people who had joined a program called Healthy U. Candidates are selected for the program and they learn life-changing strategies to help them lose weight and then maintain that weight loss. One woman said her only hesitation was that her “before” weight would be published in the paper.
Now, we all know women when it comes to weight. You can’t shave a few pounds off the total when you have a public weigh-in. And you don’t have that advantage of weighing in the privacy of your home when you first wake up—before coffee, breakfast, and anything else that seems to make you weigh an extra five pounds. Who ever thought clothing could be so darned heavy!
The Healthy U candidate I admired the most was the lady that hadn’t lost any weight at all. In fact, she had gained a few pounds. She had the courage to see the positives in the program. She was healthier and had much more stamina. She looked beyond the tattle-tale scale and saw that she had “gained” health, not weight.
When we think about the things in life that are really important, good health will top that list almost every time. What would it matter if you had accumulated wealth, power, fortune, or fame but did not have good health? We all know people who deal with chronic illness on a daily basis. Then, we have all seen courage and faith improve quality of life for our loved ones who have terminal illnesses.
Anyone that struggles with a health problem that can be controlled through health and exercise knows that true lifestyle changes require more than good intensions. It requires persistence, diligence, and a serious commitment. I should know. After all I’m the queen of failed diets and abandoned exercise plans.
I’ve always been blessed with good health. At least that’s how I think of my health since I’m seldom sick. As I’ve gotten older, I started to find out about all those hidden health markers that undermine my complacency about health. It’s not just the number on the scales that keeps creeping upward—it’s those pesky lipid panel numbers. Just about the time I think I have one of them licked, a different one sets off the “High” alarm.
Now, I’m working with my new best friend, the dietician. I have a time limit to get the numbers under control or I have to add a new medication to my pill organizer.
I have to admit that it feels good to lose a few pounds, and I don’t consider this new approach a diet. It’s more of a challenge to make smarter choices. I looked through the list of foods I have to choose from and a funny thing happened. I never saw a single cake, cookie, pie, or donut on there. So, at the dinner meeting last week, dinner was healthy—tilapia—but dessert was cobbler and ice cream. At my request, they served me fresh strawberries and cantaloupe. Since I love both, I enjoyed my dessert.
One of the things I really like about this approach is the dietician asked me what foods I really liked, and she made suggestions for snacks that fell into my favorite foods. When I told her about my weakness for miniature chocolate bars, she said I could have two of them for a snack occasionally.
I’m sure I’ll fall off the wagon and have a dessert once in a while, but this is really important to me. As I gear up for retirement, good health is at the top of the list. If it takes a little behavior modification on my part, the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices.
Copyright © August 2013 by L.S. Fisher
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