Thursday, January 14, 2010

To Your Health - Part 1


Too many times, especially at the beginning of the year, we say to ourselves something like, "I resolve to get fit," and then we do just a little bit (if that much) and within a week, we've broken our resolution. On top of that, it's very hard to tell what's going to help you nowadays and what's not. Seems like every day the news is on about something that used to be healthy that now isn't, and occasionally, the reverse is true. (And then we find out who paid for the study and we're back to square one.)

Is there anything out there which can help us? Is there anyone we can trust to tell us the straight dope, give us what we need to get healthy and stay that way?

I'm not going to promise to have all the answers, but over the past year, I went from about 260 to 210 pounds - I lost at least 50 pounds of fat, and I'll tell you how I did it. It was pretty easy, and considering I'm a long-distance truck driver, it's rather incredible too! In this post, I'll reveal two of my secrets today, and then in future posts I'll reveal more, and each one is going to build on the previous ones, impacting your life in a positive way, until before you know it, people will be noticing how much better you look and feel.

Secret #1 is: take it a step at a time. Don't try to do everything at once, for in doing so, you feel overwhelmed and then fail to follow through. That's why I'm going to reveal these secrets one at a time over the coming months.

Most of you know that my day job involves driving a truck about 14 hours a day while I'm spending most of my vanishingly sparse spare time writing my books. (Sorry, Lacey, I'm not shaving the whales any more, it was too dangerous. They think it's funny to capsize your boat. Let them shave themselves! I know how much that job meant to you.) Driving a truck generally involves a LOT of sitting. You don't get a whole lot of exercise, and I'm pretty much allergic to exercise anyway. (Not literally; I just don't like it much.) While I was still in the Navy, I had the opportunity to walk a few miles all over the boat on my way to and from trouble calls, but I got so darned effective at fixing computers that my daily walks got shorter and shorter, but now that I'm out, I don't often feel like working out. What to do?

What if I could tell you there was a miracle drug that can boost your metabolism? What if this miraculous chemical compound could reduce or even eliminate your hunger? And what if it was cheap? Would you want some? Could I sell you some?

A few years back, I heard something rather incredible: Americans chronically misinterpret their thirst reflex as their hunger reflex.

Think about that for a second: your body says it's thirsty, but you misunderstand that as hunger and so you eat something. So you're not hungry, but you eat something. Any chance you're consuming too many calories?

So because of this one little piece of information, I started drinking water whenever I felt a minor hunger pang. It took a little while to get used to doing that, but now it's pretty much habit.

Let's go over the benefits of water right quick:

Water makes up about 75% of your body, especially the fluids, like blood and lymph, which are very important to your health. Your blood gets moved around by your heart, but your lymph, which helps eliminate a lot of the byproducts of your cells' biology, gets moved around by your body motions. Basically, moving around helps get rid of your cells' poop.

A car won't run without oil, don't you think that if you had enough water, you could keep yourself properly lubricated? Of course it would! And don't you think you'll feel a lot better if you keep yourself properly lubricated? Don't you think that if you drink water when you're thirsty instead of eating that you'll lose a little weight? Of course you will!

Now, you may have heard lots of people try to tell you to drink a gallon or two a day, throughout the day. If you can drink a gallon a day, go right ahead, but most of us can't do that. As the saying goes, "Even water tastes bad when it's prescribed by a doctor." Me, I drink a little more than a quart a day on average, and most people will drink about that much without any difficulty or thought at all about it.

Okay, so here's what you do:

First, when you feel a between-meal hunger pang, instead of reaching for a big, sugary snack, reach instead for a glass of water made just the way you like it. (I like mine cold!) You can put some lemon or lime in it once in a while, but don't put something like Kool-Aid in it. The point is to get low-calorie water, not high-calorie sugar.

When you're reaching for a can of pop, stop and grab some water instead.

When you're eating, drink water with your meal to aid digestion and reduce the amount of food you need to eat to feel full.

If you feel a little drowsy, some water (plus some deep breathing and a little stretching) can pick you back up.

First thing in the morning and last thing at night, drink some water. A few sips is fine, no need to drown yourself.

Last thing before I go: There are a few people who may have problems with drinking water. If you've got kidney problems, excessive water can hurt you. And there are some people who drink too much water already, so if you're one of them, you don't have to increase your intake. But the overwhelming majority of people out there don't drink enough water and it would be fairly easy to drink more. If you have doubts, talk to your doctor, which is a good thing to do once in a while anyway.

And, of course, as always, I'm not responsible for anything you do or don't do.

Be well!


More articles of interest or amusement: 
To Your Health - Part 2
Bob Parsons is a friggin' genius
You Might not Know how to Write in the English Language


1 comment:

  1. Crazy how little it takes for some people. Cutting out all products with CORN SYRUP(the devil's blood) and walking around the block has proven to be lifesavers for some people(literally). My wife never drinks enough water. Since she's been pregnant, I'm always on her case. Oh yeah. Laughing a whole bunch is good for you too. I think you posted this link after the end of the contest on Nathan's Blog. His forums have some really experienced folks in it. I've found it really useful as I chase an agent and a book deal.


    A piece on laughter.


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