In the coming months I hope to move my little family to Florida. The sun, the beach and the phenomenal weather are all calling my name. In fact, I love to say that God intended me to live near an ocean, and here I sit . . . landlocked in OH.
I’ve been spending the past weeks doing research into the cities, outlining my criteria and deciding what area of the State would work best for my needs. One of the stats I ran across was a recent report detailing the health of the citizens of the sunny state of Florida, and every other State in the U.S. as well.
It’s interesting to see how people define these words – health, fitness, body size and weight. How do they interrelate? Or do they?
In conversation recently with Patty Gale, from My Beautiful U for Single Moms, we started talking about the differences, what they mean to each of us and how we can be the best women possible for our self and our children.
That conversation again came to mind as I looked through the information online about just those factors – body size, weight, health and fitness.
The first two are objective and more easily measured. You either weigh more or less. You are either taller or shorter than 5’4”. You either fall into the body mass index (BMI) for normal weight for your height, age and gender, or you don’t.
But even the seemingly objective BMI measurement can be manipulated and changed when you have a larger than normal amount of muscle weight.
The most important of these four factors is health. How your health is measured is a better indicator of the quality of your life, rather than the amount of weight you carry each day or whether you can do 40 push-ups in 60 seconds.
How much medication you take, how much pain you experience each day, the condition of your arteries and veins, the growth of bacteria in your gut and the strength of your immune system are all indicators of your health – but they are not always outward indicators.
Instead we judge fitness in ourselves and others by how much they weigh or their body size – not a good indicator.
For instance, I once had an acquaintance who was a perfect size 2. She was a beautiful blond with a bikini body. It didn’t take long for me to realize that she ate a 1 pound bag of M & M’s each day, and nothing else.
She believed that she was the epitome of health and beauty because of how she looked in her bathing suit – and so did her husband! – but she couldn’t climb a set of stairs at the ripe old age of 23 without getting out of breath, she couldn’t walk more than block or two without getting tired.
What she ate created the body she desired, but at the expense of her health. It wasn’t too many years and she developed type-2 diabetes, even though she wasn’t overweight by anyone’s estimation.
Type-2 diabetes places the sufferer at risk for heart disease, kidney failure, eye disease and blindness, peripheral vascular disease and a number of other health issues. All at the age of 27 because of the choices she made.
Having good health doesn’t always mean you have the body shape or size you want. In fact, research has demonstrated that only 5 percent of the population today has the body shape they define as perfect.
This means that 95 percent of us are striving to achieve something we’ll never have and throughout all your life you’ll continue to be disappointed in the way you look every time you look in the mirror.
The real goal is to achieve good health and reasonable fitness.
How can you achieve the goal of health and fitness without obsessing over size and weight?
There are several steps to take you down that path, many of which may be familiar. But, knowing the steps won’t help – you actually have to do them and take action on them.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Your idea of a healthy balanced diet may fit old standards, so it’s time to take another look at what a healthy diet consists of. The most recent research supports a diet rich in healthy fats, low in carbohydrates and eliminates trans-fatty acids found in cakes and cookies.
Take your time to do your own research at the studies and not the governmental websites. Carbohydrates are metabolized into sugar, spiking the release of insulin and increasing your resistance to insulin. Sugar, and carbohydrates, are responsible for an increased inflammatory response and increase in your cholesterol levels.
You really are exactly what you eat.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.
Your body has 360 joints and the majority were made for moving. You are a movement machine, able to twist and turn, move through three planes in space and have two joints that are able to move in all directions (hip and shoulder). You were not designed to sit behind a desk all day.
Your heart, arteries, muscles, pancreas, liver, intestines, stomach and brain all work better when you exercise. Imaging studies of your brain demonstrate an increase in neuro-synaptic energy when you exercise. It’s why you think more creatively when you get up and move.
Your goal isn’t to become Miss Universe, but it is to be able to move through your day without grunting or groaning each time you get up and down out of chair, need to climb the stairs or have to run after your children.
Don’t sit all day.
Research has now identified the risks you undertake when you sit for eight hours a day. Even if you work-out for an hour a day, sitting for eight hours will completely eliminate the benefits of your early morning workout.
Get up at least 3 times an hour. Move around, stretch, walk to the water cooler, do some jumping jacks or walk to your boss’s office instead of calling or emailing. There are simple ways to get your blood moving throughout the day. You’ll likely find you’re more creative and more productive.
Accept who you are.
As a woman, you are bombarded with media messages telling you to be a size 2 or 4, have full lips, luxurious hair, or small feet. What makes you attractive is not your perfections, but rather your imperfections and your confidence. When you accept who you are and love yourself the way you are, you are suddenly more attractive to everyone.
Whether you want the promotion at work, attract a mate, or have more friends, people are attracted to and trust others who carry them self with confidence. You have more confidence when you like yourself just the way you are.
This doesn’t mean you don’t try to be a better version of YOU, but it does mean setting your sights on a specific goal based on what others think you should be will get you in trouble.
Hang around with people you want to be like.
From the Bible to psychologists, from T. Harv Ekker to Napoleon Hill, the recommendation is to be friends with the people you most want to be like or become.
Do you want to be a millionaire? Then have millionaire friends. Do you want to be healthy and fit? Then have healthy and fit friends. YOU become like them, not the other way around.
Health, fitness, body size and weight are all indicators of something much deeper in your life. They are indicators of your sense of joy, confidence and desire to share yourself with others.