Today a huge majority of our children have behavioral problems. They have trouble focusing on daily chores. They are always tired, tend to be chubby, and are inflicted with a host of many other issues.Is this all from improper diet and lack of physical activity? Of course not, however, I can guarantee it’s a major contributing factor.If we had only one wish what should that be? Many people do not give that question a lot of thought, especially when it comes to our youth.One wish we should all have is to choose to live a healthy life. Some of us are blessed with great genes, for the majority; however, good health is in our hands. We either embrace it or ignore it.We rise in the morning with just enough time to wash, dress, and fly out the door, and then we’re off to a hard, and often, aggravating day of work. This leads both, adults and children, to fast food breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners filled with unnecessary carbohydrates, sugars, chemicals, and fat. For some adults that may or may not be topped off with an alcoholic drink.There are many consequences to this way of life. I think it would be wise to sit back and give some intelligent thought to what you are creating.I am pushing 81 as I write this. When I was a kid we had NO T.V., video, games, and of course no computers. We also had no preservatives in our diet, and fast food establishments were scarce.After school everyone went home dropped off their books and hit the street for “pickup sports.” On every block one could find a game of basketball, football, baseball, and many others, and everyone played regardless of their ability.Now in the twentieth century our youth have a different life style.After school, and their not so healthy snacks, it’s off to a computer, or gaming system to play countless hours of video games. If not the games, it’s off the to the TV to watch their favorite show and then maybe some more junk food as they settle in to do homework. Later in the evening, after dinner, they continue with the same routine until bedtime. They wake again the following day to repeat the same unhealthy lifestyle, and their parents and role models are not much different than our youth.Growing up in the 40’s and 50’s was a very different time for me. Both my parents worked which was not very common back then. After dinner my mother would go back to operating her business. I was often left alone all day and I would often venture out at night. It did not create the most pleasant of environments for that era.Besides my unpleasant home life, I knew something was going on with me. All my friends could read and I could not. They were able to absorb schoolwork and I was clueless. This insecurity along with all the negativity directed at me by the teachers took its toll on me and the one escape for me was always pure JUNK food.I never knew what was wrong with me until I was well into my 30’s. That’s when I learned I am dyslexic and have a learning disability. How I got to where I am today and how I achieved the lifestyle I have enjoyed is revealed in my book, “Memoirs Of A Learning Disabled, Dyslexic Multi-Millionaire
“.Through my youth and into my mid 30’s, I would eat fried food, steak, hamburger, franks, and anything that was sweet. Never ever did I touch a vegetable, I actually would stuff them in a loose brick in our kitchen wall when my parents weren’t looking as a young boy, and I had never touched any type of salad.I was exactly the type of person I had referred too earlier, up in the morning rushing off to work, eating junk at every opportunity, and when done with dinner, I’d set my lazy behind on the couch, half asleep and half watching TV.My thinking was, exercise was something you watch, not do. Needless to say the waistline was rapidly expanding.Ok time to diet! There is not a diet I hadn’t tried. There was the liquid diet, the grapefruit diet, the 1000 calorie a day diet, no carbohydrates all protein diet. Every time there was a new diet fad, the ads would entice you by saying; “the newest latest and greatest from Hollywood”. “See how this celebrity or that celebrity lost 20 lbs in just two weeks”. Included in this were all kinds of diet pills being marketed & pushed by hungry doctors who are making billions. In my opinion the diet industry is a multi-billion dollar fraud.Nothing had worked and I noticed not just for me, but for anyone I knew who was also trying these diets. Folks, make no mistake about it, diets just don’t work. I learned this the hard way.At almost eighty-one years old, I look the best I have ever looked, I have no loose or hanging skin and no physical or mental problems. And I take NO medicines, not because I don’t believe in them, but because my lifestyle has kept me healthier.How did I accomplish this? Sometime in my 40’s after miserably failing to lose weight from the latest and greatest new fad diets a light bulb went off in my head. Because of my dyslexia and learning disability, I had to use alternative ways to comprehend, absorb, and succeed, and this was no different.One thing I realized was that nothing was going to happen until I made a change. Without change one cannot grow. When you “change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.The first thing I realized was that losing weight and living by the scale was a total farce. When one restricts themself from eating the proper foods or their favorite foods and uses aids to reduce weight, they are fooling themselves and end up with cravings. First off all that lost weight is muscle, not fat. That is why when you see people who did lose weight improperly, you will also see hanging skin. I am not sure which looks worse, the weight or the hanging skin. I have had both in the past.Muscle weighs more than fat. This means that you could be gaining weight while turning fat into muscle, so losing weight and looking at a scale should not go hand in hand. The true test is how your clothes are fitting and not what number is on the scale.So here comes the change. What I did and what I am about to share with you worked very well for me and still does today. I am not a doctor, dietician or nutritionist, and I have no education in these fields. I am only telling you what led to my success and could lead to yours.There was no way I could stay away from carbohydrates, pasta, bread, red meat, steak, burgers, or sweets from candy to cake.So to accomplish my goals I changed my thinking and realized that portion control was the most effective way to achieve lasting success, and to never revert back. By doing this you can almost eat anything you want just in limited amounts. Alcohol is also a major contributor and can be taken in moderation if you exercise, eat three healthy meals a day, limiting your intake, and rely on two healthy snacks in-between meals, such as fruit, nuts, or veggies.I KNOW! How can I eat half my meal when I am hungry and can easily finish the whole thing? Try this experiment, at your next meal stop when halfway through, then wait about 10-15 minutes and see how you feel, you will be surprised at that point that you’re not really hungry anymore. If you can’t do half a meal in the beginning do ¾ and work your way down to half. What you did was allow the portion you ate to finally settle in your stomach and you will feel full.Eventually, you will over time shrink your stomach, which will lead to one major factor in maintaining your weight and never having to eliminate your favorite foods.In addition to diet the other major factor is exercise.WOW! You want to hear a multiplicity of excuses? Just talk to a couch potato about exercising. They range from; I have no time, too tired, can’t afford the gym, etc, etc, etc.Joining a gym would be the best solution and it is what I do three days a week. There are plenty health clubs for only $20.00 a month or less. However, that is not a necessity. There are so many things one can do at home that will serve the same purpose.For example, a vigorous walk outside, possibly with light 2 to 3 pound weights in each hand. If you can’t do that, buy a treadmill or Stair-master and put it in front of a TV. If you are short on money or space try marching in place breaking it up by changing your pace and jumping up and down. Keep those weights working your muscles, by intermittently moving both arms sometimes punching and other times curling. Just keep moving without stopping for a half an hour, even if in order to finish you have to slow down, just get used to the half hour.After whichever aerobic exercise you choose, there are two other very good and important exercises to do that will help shape and tone muscle.Number one is to do push-ups. Most of you will not be able to do them off the floor at first. Try this, stand a comfortable distance from the wall, place your hands in front of you flat on the wall and lean in and out, do as many times as you can. The further from the wall the harder it gets. (See Photos Below)
Number two, try sit ups for your stomach (crunches). Lay on the floor, then bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor, hands behind your head, and lift your back off the floor between 8 to 10 inches. Repeat as many times as you can. (See Photos Below)
OK folks there it is. The fact is that we lose weight to feel better about ourselves and look good. Neither will happen without some exercise. It is not easy. It takes self-motivation, conviction, and a strong determination to reach your goal. In other words, it takes change in your thinking and without change there is no growth.
Most of you reading this right now are working towards retirement and you are taking care of that money to make sure it will grow so now’s the time to take care of your body so that at retirement you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, rather than blowing all that hard earned money on medical issues.
Make it a family affair and in 6 months, plus or minus, you will all be enjoying your new bodies and an increase in energy.
The choice you make today is what you live with tomorrow.
“Losing weight is a mindset and a lifestyle change not about fad diets and quick temporary fixes”
The opinions expressed in this article are those of Allen Weinstein. Please consult your doctor before starting any weight-loss or exercise program.