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Fitness Every Day, Starting Right Now

April 26, 2013 by  
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Last week I told you about my goal to work out every single day and do that at least until my 70th birthday which is now 347 days. (I’m pretty sure when I hit 70 I won’t stop then either!) So far so good–I haven’t missed a day in the last 45 days! I sure could have used the fact that I hurt my back one day as an excuse to skip a day but I didn’t. I was in a lot of pain then but I sure felt terrific when I finished. I mean, physically I was totally beat and in a world of hurt but mentally, I felt like a champion. And, wow … that felt great!

One big discovery I made with my “every single day” workout goal was that we are more likely to succeed at it because unlike a goal to work out 4 or 5 days a week, an “every single day” goal doesn’t tempt you to skip today’s workout. You can’t say “Oh, I’ll feel better tomorrow and I can still get in my 4 or 5 days this week.” The thing is, if you do procrastinate you may well find yourself skipping and pushing your work out until you run out of days in the week and miss your target. With an “every single day” goal you know procrastination or skipping days is simply not an option.

If this simple goal hasn’t motivated you to start your own health and work out program by now, then I think I need to tempt you by giving you a list of huge benefits or as I call these lists in my book “How To Ignite Your Passion For Living”, B-RAM. B-RAM stands for Benefits, Reasons, and Motivations. These are the things that will keep you chasing your goal if your keep them in the forefront of your mind. (See Chapter 7 entitled “The Sure Fire Way to Stick with Every Goal” on page 71 for more on how to benefit from B-RAM.)

Here are 7 huge benefits of setting unshakable fitness goals as given by Dr. Daniel G. Amen in his book “Use Your Brain to Change Your Age”. Print out this B-RAM (adding more reasons to it if you like) and post it somewhere to keep reminding yourself how wonderful this goal will be for you:

1. Those with pep in their step stay younger.

2. Aerobics will help you keep more brain tissue.

3. Balance exercises help you age gracefully.

4. Active seniors look years younger than their couch potato friends.

5. Resistance exercises keep you stronger to live longer.

6. The greater your muscle strength, the less risk of Alzheimer’s.

7. Those who exercise slow down their biological clock.

By the way Dr. Amen documents the evidence behind each of these 7 benefits starting on page 123 under the heading of “Exercise and Longevity”. He introduces this section by saying “New research seems to be popping up every day proving that exercise will not only increase how long you live but also the quality of life in those years.”

What else do you need to get you up and working on fitness? If you haven’t started, why not start RIGHT NOW! Take five minutes and briskly walk, dance, stretch, lift a few weights … and think about how you’ll do this every day so you can get all these great benefits, starting right now!

 

A Daily Commitment to Better Health

April 19, 2013 by  
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In early March I was on my way back to Kauai to spend the rest of the winter when we had a long layover in Los Angeles. Unfortunately I had left Dr. Lustig’s book “Fat Chance” at my Salt Lake City office, so I wandered down to the airport bookstore for a copy and stumbled across Daniel Amen’s book “Use Your Brain to Change Your Age”. There is a lot of good stuff in his book including many before and after brain scans of people that turned around bad habits and behaviors both in eating and exercising. The huge difference in those brain scans really got my attention but what stuck with me the most was the story Amen tells about 52 year old Andrew McGill and what he did to end up with a “younger brain, a sharper mind, and a happier life.”

Andrew McGill is a doctor who had totally let himself go and was in poor health (which just goes to show that even being a medical professional does not insure great health.) His brain scan reflected his poor physical state, looking like the scan of a much older man. Daniel Amen says “it could be attributed to a number of causes: alcohol; drugs; environmental toxins, such as mold or organic solvents; infections; a lack of oxygen; or a significant medical problem like severe anemia or low thyroid.” On top of these other possible contributors to his poor health, Dr. McGill weighed 289.5 pounds, which I’m sure was also a major contributing factor.

To cut to the chase and the real heart of the story, McGill had one day “found himself lecturing a diabetic patient about the importance of nutrition, losing weight, and exercise. On the way home he thought to himself, ‘Andy, what a hypocrite you are! When are you going to stop playing around with your own health?’” It wasn’t until later, in November 2006, that McGill finally made a deep, committed vow to never to miss a day of exercising. That was five years ago. Surprisingly, he has kept that promise, not missing a single day. Ever.

Wow! Just … wow! That kind of commitment really made an impression on me. And he was paid well for his commitment. He lost 100 pounds and a new scan showed the brain of a much younger and healthier man. Now, as I mentioned last week, exercise is not the only thing you need to lose weight and be healthy. Dr. McGill also stopped drinking alcohol, which contributes a huge amount of sugar to our diets, among other healthy changes to achieve these results.

The thing is his story was enough for me to make that same commitment to exercise every single day. Truthfully, it’s not that big a deal. There are so many things you can do to get in your exercise each day, things that don’t even require equipment or a trip to the gym—a lunch time walk, a morning run, 10 minutes jogging up and down the stairwell at work, calisthenics on your living room floor while watching your favorite show, etc. The important thing is to do it and if you make a habit of exercising in some manner every single day you will become healthier, especially when combined with healthier eating.

Since reading that story I have only missed one day of exercise and only because my wife had surgery. I have decided that I am going to keep it up for at least one full year … that’s when I hit age 70! And I know I can and will do it. So why don’t you? Is there any reason not to? No. But there are so many, many reasons to take on this simple challenge, aren’t there?

Not By Exercise Alone

April 12, 2013 by  
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By now I hope you have watched Dr. Robert Lustig’s video that I’ve talked about in my last 2 blogs. If you heed his advice it really is life enhancing. I have and it’s made such a huge difference. But now, as I promised last week, I want to talk about exercise and what it can and cannot do for you.

To summarize what Dr.Lustig says on the subject of weight loss and exercise, exercise is not the key to weight loss, but it is one of two keys to great health. The first key is changing your diet by drastically reducing your intake of sugar in combination with a huge increase in your intake of fiber. Do that and your half way to excellent health.

The second key is, yes, exercise and by that he means consistent exercise. As Dr. Lustig points out, exercise will build muscle and in the very long run will help you lose a little of the weight because muscles burn calories faster than fat but this would only be a little additional weight loss. In other words, exercise should be part of a weight loss plan but is not the key to it. Without the change in diet, weight loss will be slow and the increase in overall health will be minimal.

Not a believer quite yet? Well, I’d recommend going out and getting Dr, Lustig’s book “Fat Chance” so you can read about all the factors that go into healthy weight loss and healthy eating. It’s not that exercise cannot have a tremendous impact on your health but exercise alone won’t do it. Next week I’ll tell you about another book and the story it includes of an amazing man, his commitment to better health and how you can follow in his footsteps. In the meantime, start evaluating your sugar intake. You may find it startling just how much you take in and, hopefully, it’ll stir you to do something about it.

Villainous Sugar

April 5, 2013 by  
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If you watch the link I posted last week of Dr. Lustig’s lecture you learned about the major damage sugar does to your body.  His words and proof of what he was saying certainly made a huge impression on me and has changed my eating habits significantly.  I’ve watched his video presentation twice and after that quickly got a copy of his book “Fat Chance” and devoured it. I’m so glad that I did.  Not only did I realize all the damage sugar was doing to my body but I began to see that what I believed to be true about how we process calories was, in fact, not true!

Most of us have been lead to believe that a calorie is a calorie regardless of the food we get it from.  So if we thin k that if we eat a 1,000 calories of food that is loaded with sugar versus a 1,000 calories of food that is relatively  sugar free the results to our bodies is exactly the same. But if you believe that (like I did) you’d be wrong.

The reason that one type of calorie can cause your body to gain weight and another one will not, is all in the way the body metabolizes the food.  So let’s say that in the next 6 months you ate 2000 sugar loaded calories a day. You might gain 5 lbs. But if you ate 2000 calories of non-sugar foods you might lose 5 pounds or stay the same weight.  But that’s just the beginning.

As Dr. Robert Lustig says in the beginning of his book, “Every good story needs a villain.  While I am loath to reveal it this early in the book, I won’t keep you in suspense.  It’s sugar…..a substance that now permeates nearly all food and drink worldwide.  It’s killing us … slowly, and I’ll prove it.  Every statement throughout this book is based on scientific study, historical fact, or recent statistics.”

Plain and simple, Lustig makes a totally convincing case that sugar is TOXIC.

If you read his book you will see all the ways sugar is doing damage to your body.  Lustig’s book certainly motivated me to cut out almost all the sugar and processed foods from my diet. By the way–did you know that there are dozens of different names that the food industry uses to hide sugar content, especially in processed foods? If you aren’t sure you can identify them, go to the USDA’s page here for a list.

And if you are thinking, like so many people, “I will just exercise more to counteract the sugar.” Sorry, that’s not going to work either.  Don’t get me wrong … exercise is not bad. In fact it’s very, very good for the body but that is not how you will counteract sugar or to lose weight. Why not, you ask? Well, I’ll talk about that next week. In the meantime, read your labels. See just how much sugar you are really taking in and try to cut it out of your diet. I bet you’ll be surprised just how many things you’ll have to eliminate but that just tells you how bad the situation is.