Friday, May 28, 2010

To Your Health - Part 4

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Just in time for Memorial Day, I've got the 4th leg of the table I built my effortless weight loss on. In the first three articles, I talked about things you can eat and how to eat them to get effective results. You've probably already got your weight closer to what you want just from doing that, but there's one more thing that must be done to get your weight to the level you want.

If, like some people, "exercise" is a four-letter-word for you, then I've got good news: you don't have to "exercise" to lose weight. I didn't. BUT, if you sit around on your butt all day, it's going to be hard. I lost 50 pounds without doing any exercise routines, and I've kept it off without doing them too, but if I was also sitting on my butt all the time, I wouldn't be able to keep it off. I don't do what most people call exercise or working out, and I lost and have kept off 50 pounds for several months, but I'm at a plateau and I have to do something about that to get rid of the last 30 pounds I don't want.

That something is called "being active". It's not exercise, it's simply avoiding total laziness.

I'm 6 feet tall. My "ideal weight" is about 175 pounds. I got up to 260 because I sat around all day doing very little, and the only thing that kept me from getting even heavier was because I drank so much water in place of eating and the computer often distracted me from snacking so I didn't eat much. Once I improved my diet and started driving a truck again, I lost 50 pounds over the course of 2009, even though I ate MORE.

That's right, doing a job normally associated with grossly overweight men - truck driving - helped me lose weight. I don't eat a lot of truckstop and fast food, but I do eat some about three times a week. I stop every 2-3 hours and get out to circulate the blood. I park far away from the rest area so I have longer to walk. I get in and out of the truck several times a day. I take a walk in the evening before bed.

I'm probably still less active than the majority of people, but I lost 50 pounds.

For those of you who sit in front of a computer all day, totally engrossed in it, you've got to break away from it once in a while. Practically any job will allow you to stop and stand up and stretch a little every hour, or park in the farthest spot in the parking lot, or walk around the building to get your supplies instead of asking someone else to do it for you.

I've got a list of things you can do to burn off a few extra calories every day and keep your body in reasonable condition. It won't make you a super-athlete by itself, but if you're one of those people who can be described as "sedentary", it WILL improve your health and fitness. This is what helped me, once I incorporated them into my life, and now I don't even notice doing them.

1. Get off your butt every hour. When your watch does its hourly beep-beep, stand up and stretch the kinks out. This takes less than a minute, but it keeps your blood circulation good throughout the day.

2. Fidget. I can't sit still for more than 5 minutes unless I'm really engrossed in something, and even then it just doesn't happen. This developed out of being nervous, and you don't want to do it during a job interview or important presentation or a date because it does convey that you're nervous, but it's great for circulation and burning a few extra calories each day.

3. When driving for long periods, don't drive more than 3 hours at a time. This meshes well with eating about every 3 hours. Don't eat while driving, even if it's just a snack. You can snack and stand or fidget, accomplishing two goals at once.

4. Don't send an errand boy after something on the other side of the building, go get it yourself. If your time is worth a lot of money, this might be a little harder. While I worked as a computer tech in the Navy, I lived on a huge ship (LHD5). A lot of trouble calls could be handled over the phone, but instead, I went to the problem. I probably walked 5 miles every day because of that, up and down several flights of stairs, and it held my weight down before I learned how to eat better. My time was valuable, but the new guys needed to learn the ship and learn their jobs, so it was worth it.

5. When you go to the store, park in the far spots. The farther walk is good for you, and you get another minute or two to think about other things. I often take a walk when I've got some heavy thinking to do.

6. While at the store, go up and down all the aisles, as this is a non-boring way to get a lot of extra walking in.

7. I wore some ankle weights for a while last year. I figured that since I couldn't get a lot of walking in every day, I might as well multiply what walking I did get. It strengthened my legs and helped me lose a little weight. On the downside, I've heard a few people saying it's bad for your knees and ankles, and the weights get torn up pretty easily. I wore boots all the time to protect my ankles from friction, and the weights and boots both got torn up after a few months, so YMMV.

8. If you absolutely must play video games all day, play something that requires a lot of thinking or a lot of moving. The Wii is supposedly good for exercising without realizing you're exercising, but a really deep wargame gets your brain pumping too. Plus, if it's a frustrating game, like Civilization 4, you might get worked up yelling at the computer players backstabbing you or finishing a Wonder you were 2 turns away from finishing.

9. If you play sports, be a go-fer. My dad plays baseball. He can play the outfield (so he walks farther to get there) where it's busy (so he has to chase the ball a lot more). When his team is up at bat, he can play the bat boy, fetching used bats from the field. And he can hit the ball and run around the bases. You can do stuff like that too.

10. When you do any kind of regular exercise routine, make sure you also do something to distract yourself from focusing on how "hard" it is. I find I can jog a lot further on the treadmill if I'm distracted by a TV, even when I can't hear it, than when I'm focused on what I'm doing. When I'm jogging around the block, I focus on telling myself to get to the next driveway, and when I reach it, I tell myself that was too easy and I need to get to the next one. I can about double my jogging distance just by doing this.

The most important thing you can do is put your mind to it. Ask yourself, "What can I do to use up more energy? How can I burn more calories and keep my circulation good?" When you ask your mind the right questions, you'll get better answers, and then you need to put those answers to work for you.

Make a decision to prioritize your health and then stick with it. Make it as important to walk a mile or five miles or jog every day as it is to chat away your life on Facebook. Make it more important. No one's going to make you healthy. Only you can do it.

That's my four pillars: drinking plenty of water, eating better food and less bad food, eating small amounts of food every 3-4 hours, and increasing your level of activity. I'll continue giving out tips now and then because there's TONS to know. I'll also keep you updated on how I'm doing and what I'm learning and be here to encourage you to improve your health and life too.

The next time I'm going to talk about something called "intensity" and how, as I head into this new year, it has helped make improvements to other areas of my life than just my basic health.

Be your best!
- Jaycee Adams

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More articles of interest or amusement: 
To Your Health - Part 3
Winning the Aussie Way and the Scottish Way
To Your Health - Part 1

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