Food Choices Deprivation Or Empowerment

Pass Junk food

 

“Don’t you miss eating fun foods?” I was asked that question one day…. this person obviously didn’t know my eating habits super well or they’d know my weakness for some occasional chocolate, powdered sugar donuts, or better yet, French fries.

Years ago as I embarked on my health journey, that may have been my mentality. It would’ve have been my mentality if I had banned foods or put them off limits or treated them like I’d never, ever get to have them again.

Not making foods “good” or “bad” has helped me be successful, and stay successful on this path.  I think this theory will work for the majority of people wanting to be healthy.

Oh, in the past I can remember parties or get togethers and “abstaining” from whatever foods/desserts I thought I shouldn’t have.

Let’s be honest, that kinda stuff flat out sucks.

But here’s the weird kicker. What starts out in the beginning as something that feels out of your routine, or daily habit, can slowly be transformed into a new habit and permanent change in our lifestyle.

If you eat “junk” food and it’s your thing to go to, then your taste buds have definitely been trained to eat that way. I’d like to think all of you were raised by moms who attempted to feed you good, healthy food in the beginnings of your life.

As a free willed individual, you grew up and did your own thing. That might involve not eating what mom tried to get you to eat but instead opting for other less desirable choices.

You get it… you train yourself to eat foods that support your health and give you energy or you’re comfortable eating foods that satisfy your emotions and mouth and offer no or minimal nutritional value.

It does make me sad when people make jokes about eating foods that support good health and they don’t participate in eating that way. I’m over here thinking… “that’s your body your living in, the only one you get!”

A mental shift has to occur for anyone to be successful in weight loss and eating in a manner that supports good health.

If you view not getting to eat “junk” food as deprivation, you will not move forward. If you view eating well as punishment, you will not move forward.

We all face temptations when it comes to foods. I have my own that are best for me to stay away from.

I know what it’s like to be in the store, hungry, and all those things I know I don’t need seem to taunt me to buy them.

After all, I’m hungry, right?

But then there’s the stronger part of my mind and body that knows better…. I know how empowering it is to know it’s there and leave it. I know how empowering it is to make good food choices and how I feel after the fact.

And yes, if you are hungry in the store ( a practice I do not recommend 😉 ) there is a plethora of foods that can help you that are healthy to snack on…. really. You don’t have to be drawn in at the candy when you are checking out.

It all takes practice. And determination. And failure.

Yes. I said failure.

You aren’t going to nail this each and every time. In the beginning it will be a struggle. With repeated efforts of success and failure you will eventually have more success than not ( this is where determination comes in… and a bit of stubbornness doesn’t hurt either)

As you practice this you will develop new strength, new strength is empowering when you walk away from something. It gradually turns into something you will just automatically do.

Assess what it is. Think about if you really need it. Think about if it will support your health and fitness goals.

Make a choice.

And you know what, sometimes, it’s ok to get that candy bar.

I had done a long endurance session recently and by midafternoon my body was wanting just all out pure sugar. I’ve come to know this feeling occasionally since I’ve become involved in endurance sports.

I intentionally bought a candy bar. I can’t tell you the last time I had one. It was delicious. That feeling went away after. I haven’t wanted one since.

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It was good…

 

No guilt.

I fully knew I could’ve gotten a “healthier” treat. I also made a mindful decision that I wanted to get that candy bar.

It is empowering when you are in mindful control of making choices regarding what goes in your mouth and how you eat.

As you learn to make eating healthier a priority, you not only feel better and are more energetic, your tastes for the lesser quality food really will diminish. In time, you will find those desired foods will have less pull and it becomes quite easy to ignore them and never have them, and yeah, you won’t feel “deprived” either. You will however, feel empowered.

A successful healthy lifestyle will involve balance. Good days and bad days. The key to success is to keep moving forward. Learn to enjoy how you feel when you make more aware choices of what you eat and when you choose a better option.

In time, it will come almost effortlessly to you.

Tell me was there or has there been a time you’ve felt deprived because you didn’t think you could have some type of food? How do you feel when you make a better choice or a more purposeful decision in what you eat?

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Healthy Eating Habits

Healthy Habits

So it’s afternoon coffee time and I’m ready to kick back and write for awhile. This morning was my “brick” training session… meaning I run, bike, then run again. Today I increased my miles on foot to a full 5K.  I’ve been gradually moving it up as I’ve adjusted to this activity.  I really do love it. It’s different and it’s challenging.

Oh. And I want to do a duathlon at the end of the year so I do have some extra motivation 😉 It involves a 5k run, 22 mile ride, and a 5K run… on some crazy hills as well.

The weather was on the hideous side. Foggy, misty rain, poor visibility, cool, but not cool once I warmed up. I gave up on wearing my glasses as I couldn’t keep them cleared off ( any tips or ideas on that faithful readers?) once I was on the bike I was chilled from being wet and now flying down the road, water running off my helmet into my face, my gloves wet and the roads somewhat tricky in some places.

Good times.

I believe if I’m training for something, I need to do it in all weather ’cause I never know what race day will deal up.

Anyway, it’s a rather strong way to start my day. I’m really loving multi sport days. As time moves along I will most likely increase my training to two days a week doing it.

But goodness… it can fire up my metabolism all day long!

Ok enough of that.. on with the show!

I thought since I talked about building new habits yesterday I’d focus on a couple specific to eating.

One should be obvious but often it’s one we ignore or sadly, we never experience it anymore.

Let yourself get hungry and experience those hunger signals.

To often in our world, we are programmed to eat “because it’s time”.   As if we experience those growly, hungry feelings we might not survive.  It might take some practice, but learn to experience hunger 30-60 minutes before a meal time.  It is one thing I began doing years ago, learning to eat when I had true hunger.  Not because the clock said I should eat. It’s amazing how good food really tastes when you have true, real hunger.

( and hunger after a hard workout?? eek.. food has never tasted better haha)

Seriously, though. Get back in touch with your body if you can’t remember those feelings or overlook them.

Again you will have to work at it. It might be a new habit for you to work on if you don’t currently practice it.

Once you start getting in touch with your bodies natural signals again, you might want to practice this next step, or new habit.

They kinda tie in together…. which is…

Learn to eat just enough food to satisfy your appetite, but not over eat.

This might be tricky in the beginning for you. We are often conditioned to eat what’s on our plate, or eat because it just tastes good. We can eat well beyond what we need to be comfortable and satisfied.  Allowing yourself to eat slowly and really savor your food gives your body and mind time to be in sync. You will be surprised that a lot less food will handle your hunger.  Again, it’s a practice, a discipline, you will have to work on to build this as a new habit.

And a final new habit you might consider….

Learn to eat 3-4 healthy balanced meals in your day.

Unfortunately so many of us have been conditioned to skip breakfast or lunch and then go crazy at dinner like it’s our last meal or something. We practice a weird form of starvation all day and gorge in the evening.  When you learn to eat real meals, at regular times, and satisfy your natural hunger you don’t spend all day thinking about when you can eat.

Crazy, I know.

Somehow we’ve accepted a thought that eating breakfast is a good way to lose weight or that we don’t have time for it.  Or if we skip lunch we can have a bigger dinner.

But what if you had satisfying meals, staged at regular times, and got hungry for each one? You’d be less likely to snack or be thinking about when you could get your hands on food again.

The “4th” meal would be if you workout heavily, you might need extra calories somewhere between your meals.  Some days I need more, some days I need less depending on how hard I workout.

As in any other habit, you will have to be intentional about what you do. It wont come easy or over night, but with practice you’ll master these new habits. New habits lead to a lifestyle change and steady sustainable weight loss.

 

 

 

Carbs Are Not The Enemy

Say that with me boys and girls…. “carbs are not the enemy”.

Ah, you don’t have to look to far now days to find some diet hype, “health” company or  other nonsense touting the evilness of carbs and some diet dogma that says they should be avoided like the plaque.

“Cut carbs!”  “Low carbs!”  “No carbs!”

Listen up. Carbs don’t make you fat. Eating to much makes you fat. You can gain weight with to much protein and healthy fats.

Bottom line, take in to many calories from anything and at the end of the day if you’ve taken in more than you use, you won’t lose and will eventually gain if it’s a consistent thing.

Carbohydrates provide our body with energy.  Glucose is the form of sugar our brain uses. We need a certain amount of it to fuel all of our metabolic processes so we have energy to do everything from breathe to run.

Pretty much anything we do in our day.

Cut out enough of carbs in your day and you’ll be the lucky recipient of brain fog and feeling off and lethargic.

I’ve pushed myself that hard before ( not on purpose) but yikes, it’s amazing how awesome I feel when I get some good carbs on board!

But first…before we go any further… a brief science explanation on carbs. You see not all carbs are created equal, by any means.

There are two types actually.  Are you ready to learn ?

cake pastries in bakery typical from Spain

Simple Carbs. These really are the ones you should strive to “cut out” or at least really minimize them in your daily nutrition plan.  Simple carbs are found in things like cookies, pastries, candies, breads, muffins, sweet drinks, white bread, sugary cereals, chips, sodas, donuts, etc

Simple carbohydrates are made up of a short chain of molecules that require little breakdown and go directly into the blood stream ( this will cause a blood sugar spike)

This is why you can feel that slump or let down after having that afternoon snack from a vending machine.

Any simple carb/ sugar has no redeeming quality or nutritional value. If you’re going to “cut carbs” these are the ones you should be chopping away at.

 

complex pic

Complex Carbs.

Complex carbs have a longer chains of carbon molecules so it takes longer for your body to break them down.  This means sugar isn’t dumped into our blood steam keeping us from having those “crashing” moments we get from simple carbs. This means we get a steady state of sugar into our blood stream for more longer lasting ( steady) energy.

Complex carbs are found in tons of foods we need and that are GOOD for us.

complex carbs
This isn’t a complete list but it gives you some good ideas!

 

Remember simple carbs wont fill you up and are easy to over eat on.

Complex carbs fill you up and hang out in your body longer.  With your good carbs you should also make sure you have protein and healthy fats alongside it for a solid meal so your body can function at a high level.

“Cutting carbs” can be a good thing if it means you’re not drinking soda or snacking on cookies and donuts.

Many forget that food items like milk, dairy, fruits, veggies, whole grains,  all have carbs and are loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients we need for good health.

For a reference point, over half your daily calories should come from good quality complex carbs. This will ensure your brain and body have the good energy they need to get you through the day 🙂

Clean Eating 101

clean eating

There’s a lot of catch phrases and hot topics right now floating around in the health and fitness world. Sometimes they are confusing to the average person just glancing at it on a magazine cover or hearing about it in a news story.

There’s one that always confused me until I dug into exactly what it meant.  I guess I should say sometimes these terms are confusing because it can vary person to person in EXACTLY what it means.. meaning it can be subjective to that person.

The Paleo movement for example is one of those things. It can vary in interpretation and ideas depending on the person following it… from basic to extreme.

The thing I want to focus on today is the “clean eating” idea. I want to also give you some tips and ideas if that is something you may want to pursue or experiment with.

Perhaps I want to simplify the idea for you to take confusion from it and perhaps paint a simpler idea of it.

First, let’s give it a definition.  Clean eating simply means to work on removing processed or junk type foods from your daily diet and simply learning to eat more whole, real single ingredient foods. It’s about making better and more nutritious choices for your body the majority of the time.

I will also suggest when you begin eating more whole, real foods you’ll feel better. You’ll be more energetic and will be less bloated. ( for the rest of my little story whole foods simply mean as close to how nature made them as possible… or 5 ingredients or less)

Clean eating is not meant to be restrictive or keep you hungry. It’s not about depriving yourself.  It’s about learning to eat good food.  To have an appreciation for it that leads to health and wellness.

Clean eating is  a way to stay lean, healthy, and energetic.  I’ve slowly evolved into it, although I’m not what I’d call “ridged” in the process.  ( hey I still like birthday cake and chocolate sometimes! Thing is… I just can’t eat much of it anymore… which isn’t a bad thing either. ) As I said, not restrictive.

For me, I still enjoy some treats in life but this is where clean eating comes in varying interpretations depending on the person. Some are extreme and wont touch sugar.  I’m not totally ready for that 😉

Over time, I’ve simply learned what makes me feel better and I have learned to eat that way more. Not just that, I’m more conscious of how good nutrition affects my strength and athletic abilities. Feeding my body healthy foods goes a long way to keeping me strong out on the road.

Clean eating also needs to be viewed simply as a “lifestyle” and not a diet or some trend fad thing to pursue for a few weeks.  Actually, if you do practice eating clean (er) for a few weeks I’m pretty sure you won’t want to revert back to your old ways 😉

Next, let’s establish that you can’t fail at it. Each time you make better food choices, you’re winning.  If you begin to make efforts to eat this way, and stay consistent, you will slowly but surely work your way to doing it more and more.

With those simple thoughts in mind let’s look at some steps towards doing it:

Learn to cook your own food at home. You can control what goes in it, and control the added sugar, salts, ingredients etc

Learn to read labels. It’s not complicated. Know what you’re eating. Look at the ingredient list. There shouldn’t be a mile long list of ingredients.

Again, learn to avoid processed foods. This is anything typically in a bag, box or otherwise.  It’s also any foods you buy at a drive thru or that are precooked. Foods typically that are high in saturated fats, salt, sugars, refined foods and in general foods that don’t offer much in the way of nutrition.  These foods are often referred to as “simple carbs”.

Limit unnecessary additives like fats, salt and sugars when looking at foods. It might seem hard in the beginning but I’ll tell you, your tastes will change! There are things now that taste so “off” to me because I don’t eat them anymore and it really clips my desire for those not so nutritional food offerings. Once you get on track eating whole food, you’ll find your tastes changing for the better 🙂

Learn to shop for healthy foods which are usually found on the perimeter of the grocery store.  Meats, fruits, veggies, dairy products, etc are all usually found in the outer portion of the store. Of course, you can also find good sources of fruits, veggies, beans etc in the canned aisle. Just be aware of what’s been added to it. Opt for low sodium options if available. Make sure fruits doesn’t have added sugar.

Don’t think you’re going to make changes all at once. Aim for small gradual improvements and make those a habit.  For instance if you drink 3-4 sodas a day, don’t think you’ll just cut those all at once… well… you could but you’d probably go crazy. Try reducing it by one and drinking water in place of it.  If you don’t eat a lot of veggies or fruit, try adding one or two new ones in at your meals. Just go slow and take small steps towards doing it.  Make those changes every day,

Your goal should be having at least 50% of your plate filled with fresh veggies and fruits.  These are nutrient dense, the fiber is filling, and they are low on calories. It’s a win for you in all directions. Not only that these foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that make your skin and hair look healthy.

Other things would include plenty of protein in the forms of lean meats, dairy, and veggie sources.

Whole grain products, beans, legumes etc are also filling and a good source of vitamins and minerals.

If you are new to this idea… start small, start slow, but start. Ideally you’ll want to work on reducing sugar, or junk food, or anything that doesn’t contribute to good health. Remember this isn’t a fad or a quick fix. It’s a move to a lifestyle of healthier eating.

You’ll learn to make new choices and intentionally think about what you put in your mouth.  And yes, it will have to be intentional.

For instance, instead of chips and a coke for an afternoon snack, you might grab some fruit and raw nuts. You learn to change out sour cream for Greek yogurt ( trust me, you wont tell the difference) Choose whole grains over white bread products. Cut back on sugar and creamers in coffee, reduce sugary drinks for water etc.

clean snacks

Avocado makes a great substitute for mayo, and you’ll be getting healthy fats in your daily diet.

In summary, clean eating is trying to eat in a healthy manner the majority of the time foods that are as close to natural as possible.  It is minimal to no sugar, saturated fats or refined processed foods.

Remember, there are all thoughts out there on what “clean eating”  is from extreme to modest.. none are “the best”.  It’s based on a personal preference and beliefs.  If you make choices to eat better foods, you are on the right track.

If you try this for a couple weeks, I know you will feel more energetic, less bloated and sluggish and on your way to a more permanent healthy lifestyle 🙂

Do you practice clean eating? Have you tried it before? Is it new to you ?

 

 

 

Your Happy Healthy Heart

heart

 

Your heart. How often do you think about it?  Probably not often although it’s been working for you since your mom was 6 weeks pregnant with you ( let that breathe over you for a minute) and it has continued its work tirelessly for you and will do so until you breathe your last breath.

It’s heart health month here in the U.S. but I’m pretty sure heart health is a world wide important thing, right?  The focus of course is to make people aware of their heart and how to take better care of it for a long life.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. Seriously. Over all cancers and diseases it’s at the top of the charts.

The good news is… it’s one of the most preventable types of diseases.

The sad news is aside from genetic issues some have, most of it is brought on by our lifestyle and what we do or don’t do to ourselves.

Consider some of these sobering stats:

Heart disease (which includes Heart Disease, Stroke and other Cardiovascular Diseases) is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States

Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing nearly 380,000 people annually

In regards to women consider these facts: Pay attention ladies.

  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.
  • While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.
  • Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.
  • Only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
  • An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease.
  • Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease.
  • The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men, and are often misunderstood.

(source Sources: CDC.gov – Heart Disease Facts
American Heart Association – 2015 Heart Disease and Stroke Update)

Heart disease is a huge issue and you (mostly) have control over it. What are steps you can take to keeping and having a healthy heart?

Don’t smoke. Smoking damages the heart and blood vessels. Smokers have a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Maintain a healthy weight. Don’t be in denial. If you’re overweight you know it and it’s not good for your heart .

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. It also increases your chances of having high blood pressure/ and or cholesterol.

Know your numbers. Your cholesterol ( good and bad) and triglycerides are important numbers to let you know what’s going on inside you. Talk with your doctor about what yours should look like.

At my last visit he informed me that my good cholesterol was really high ( because of my exercise) my triglycerides were only double digit numbers.. something he said he almost never sees… again.. thank you good nutrition and exercise 🙂

Your blood pressure. Again, know what’s your normal range and stay in that zone. Losing as little as 10lbs can dramatically drop it.

What other ways can you be proactive to having a healthy heart?

Watch what you eat! Strive to eat whole, healthy foods and skip processed, refined or fast foods.

Be aware of your weight. Less body mass is less strain on your heart.

Exercise. I can’t stress this enough. Your heart is a muscle that needs worked out too. Vigorous cardio exercise, minimum of 30 minutes, most days of the week is essential to keeping your heart strong and fit. Not only that. it benefits the rest of you too 😉

How does cardiovascular exercise affect your heart?

Clipart Illustration of a Healthy Red Heart Running Past

 

When performing cardio, blood flow is directed toward working muscles and away from areas that aren’t doing much (such as your arms during running, or the digestive tract). There is increased blood flow, and blood volume returning to the heart.

As the heart registers a larger blood volume, over time the left ventricle adapts and enlarges. This larger cavity can hold more blood, and ejects more blood per beat, even at rest.

Over time, with chronic cardio training, our resting heart rate drops because each beat delivers a bigger burst of blood, and fewer beats are needed. This takes work off your heart and is why cardio exercise is recommended for heart health.

I’ve been tracking my heart rate for awhile and it’s been interesting to see my resting heart rate bouncing between the high 40’s -low 50’s.  All that cardio has had payoffs… a much lower resting heart rate.

Other cool stuff about your heart on exercise….

When done regularly, moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity strengthens your heart muscle. This improves your heart’s ability to pump blood to your lungs and throughout your body. As a result, more blood flows to your muscles, and oxygen levels in your blood rise.

Like all muscles, the heart becomes stronger as a result of exercise, so it can pump more blood through the body with every beat and continue working at maximum level, if needed, with less strain. It becomes a powerful, more efficient working machine for you.

Seriously, I cannot stress enough the importance of strong, vigorous exercise for your hearts health.

Whether you are aware of it or not,  your heart works constantly for you. An amazing piece of equipment planted in your chest bringing life giving blood and oxygen to every part of your body with no effort on your part.

Your effort.. should come in taking care of it… doing everything you can to keep it strong, healthy and fit.

healthy-heart-bar-bells

Do You Need Supplements From Door To Door Salesmen?

vitaminsandminerals101

 

So before I dive into todays topic, I will preface it with this side note.  I started my morning off with a HITT workout ( high intensity interval training) I had been pondering a rest day… which is never easy for me to do… instead I pick a quick 22 minute HITT sesh as my other option 😛

Anyway, I’m now at the local coffee shop writing as it seemed like a fair thing to do, give the legs a rest.  But then I decided to wear these cute little heeled booties with my new sweater dress and my legs are asking… “why?”… but hey… fashion before function, right ? 😉

Have I ever mentioned, next to fitness stuff, I love fun fashion? yeah.. well maybe that’s a future post waiting to happen…

But for now… on with the show!

Todays topic.

It was generated by some articles I was reading the other day that got me once again to thinking and pondering what was being said and then, well here I go again, climbing on my  “snake oil pedaling” band wagon.

I’ve talked before about all the hype of “health and wellness” companies, the products that are offered, the claims that are made, and the money it costs for these items.

Some of the propaganda is quite enticing to people who are desperate and wanting something, anything, to fix the health and weight issues.  Something other than exercise and eating better…

I’ll tell you… so much of it hurts my heart that they are going to throw their money away on stuff and still be in the same boat they are 6 months or less from the time they started shoveling it out.

Now listen, if you’ve got something that works for you, great. If you’ve found something that works alongside what I refer to as the basics ( eating good wholesome food, in the right portions, minimal crap food, and plenty of exercise) good for you.

nutrition-vitamins

My issue is sales people that tell you that you “need” stuff in the products to be healthy or to lose weight.

For instance, here’s what tripped me up….this article was saying how you needed to take chromium because it’s not produced in your body.

Ok first of all… most people are not really going to care or know what it is much less feel like they need to run out and buy if cause their body is in desperate need of it.

Well… here’s a little lesson on this mineral our body needs that wasn’t included in company info…

Chromium is actually a trace mineral that our body uses in very small amounts for healthy functioning.  Chromium plays a role in the insulin-signaling pathways that allow our bodies to control the amount of sugar we take in, it balances blood glucose levels and gives us stable energy.

Here’s the kicker though… it’s easily found in the majority of foods that we consume… whole grains, cereals, meats, potatoes, vegetables, etc ( please don’t buy into the “our ground has been stripped and our foods have no good nutrient value anymore” nonsense) … you can also get more from cooking in stainless steel and drinking tap water. Since we use so little of it for natural functioning most people take in more than adequate amounts to sustain what they need. Meaning, a supplement is not necessary and the body only “washes” what’s not needed.

The only people found to (possibly) need a supplement might be those with diabetes or the elderly.

Like any supplement it is possible to take more than you need for a healthy body and although overdoses are rare to much can cause toxicity and some serious side effects. It is always best to consult your doctor when considering certain supplements , vitamins, and minerals or other products  you are thinking to add to your daily diet.

Todays thinking has become “if a little is good, more is better” and that’s not true. Our bodies are beautifully wired to work in a perfect balance and throwing in more than we need is often not helpful or can cause health problems if dosage is to much.

And a final reminder… no matter how well meaning your family member, co-worker, friend, neighbor etc… who are selling “health products” … they are often only sharing published information the company has generated that they in turn feed to you.

Keep in mind they are not your doctor, a nutritionist, or health care specialist and you should always seek advice of professionals before taking products you may not need

Be your own advocate. Do your own homework. Know what it is you are considering  putting in your body before you invest your money into something you may not need or benefit from.

Aging Or Decaying?

Random. Spontaneous. Adventurous. Fun.

Some of those adjectives describe me at any given time…. especially when it comes to doing fun, off the cuff pics. I recently had posted and shared this playful one after the AARP magazine had come in the afternoon mail.

 

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AARP for my readers outside of the U.S. means American Association of Retired Persons.

I know I’m in that happy “ you’re getting all middle-aged and old, get settled down” zone but honestly, I relate on no level whatsoever to it.

I know there are probably one or two people who want me to get the memo about middle age and want me to talk about getting old and achy with my middle aged complaints and put up my Converse and torn jeans but I don’t foresee that happening any ‘ol time soon.

Nah.

I have a wide age range of friends, but totally love my younger crowd. I love their energy, passion, plans for the future,  and their outspoken openness on many things. I find conversations interesting and fun with them and in turn, they actually enjoy me too.

Age is pretty irrelevant to me.

That being said… after I took the pic and set the magazine down an article on the cover grabbed my attention…

“31 Proven Age-Erasing Secrets”

Most of the time I read these articles, honestly, not expecting to walk away with much. I look for things I find usable or that I can share with my followers.

The article first of all, was immediately engaging and witty. You can always pull me in with that.

The article went on to discuss how to remain healthy, strong, fit and active in what they refer to as your “third act”. Some people refer to it as your “golden years”

It goes on to mention that an active healthy lifestyle can prevent many health issues and keep us moving and doing things that we love. ( something I firmly believe)

Then they used an interesting term I’ve never heard, but it really had me thinking for the rest of the day.

It was this….”most of what people call aging, and most of what we dread about getting older, is actually decay. We are stuck with real aging, but decay is optional.”

Decay is optional. Those words hung out in my head the rest of the day. I’ve just never thought of it in such a way.

It’s true if you think about it. We begin aging the minute we are born into this world.

Aging, is a natural part of the life circle.

The article goes on to say that basically, we don’t have to decay, yet many will.

“In the absence of signals to grow, your body, including your brain, decays and you “age”. The keys to “overriding” the decay signals? Daily exercise, good nutrition, emotional commitment, and a real engagement with living.”

The article continues on with all the health benefits of daily, strong, vigorous exercise as the main way to prevent “decay”.

It should be noted that decay is listed as all the illnesses, aches, pains, and overall decline that people associate with, or believe is, a part of “getting old”.

It just doesn’t have to be. Remember that “use it or lose it” term ? if you don’t actively use your body in time you will lose muscle and muscle strength and the ability to walk to your bathroom without feeling like you ran a marathon.

The biggest contributors of decay is inactivity, an overall sedentary lifestyle, followed by poor nutrition.

On a personal level, I think there’s a lot to be said for strong, daily exercise and good nutrition. There are payoffs.

So I was left pondering this question… how do I want to live out my life?

Do I want to age? … which is a natural part of life

Or do I want to decay? …. be sedentary, eat poorly, be overweight, develop diseases associated with  being overweight, live a sedentary lifestyle and have aches and pains from a body that isn’t used?

And I’ll leave this question with you.

Do you want to age, or decay?

Below are 7 rules to stop aging from the authors:

1.Exercise 6 days a week for the rest of your life.

2. Do serious aerobic exercise 4 days a week for the rest of your life.

3. Do serious strength training, with weights, two days a week for the rest of your life.

4. Spend less than you make.

5. Quit eating crap.

6. Care.

7. Connect and commit.

 

Want more info on this? Check out the “Younger Next Year” series of books by Chris Crowley and Henry S Lodge M.D.