Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Two Critical Ways to Achieve Health and Wellness Success!

Are you one of those people (like many) that make a list of resolutions at the beginning of each new year?  Like many well-intentioned individuals you make a commitment to follow through and accomplish those lofty goals.  Then, somewhere along the way you lose focus, and the plan goes south.  Sound familiar?

One challenging area for many people is personal fitness.  I have certainly struggled, over the years, to find some balance in this arena.

A Wake-Up Call

Recently a new health issue emerged, forcing me into a serious period of self evaluation.  It’s not easy for me to admit this, but I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  One of the sad things about this disease is it often occurs due to poor lifestyle choices.  In my situation that is absolutely true.

I chalk up the fact that I got diabetes to my body saying, ‘Dude, you have been doing wrong for way too long!’ Randy Jackson

I don’t want to spend too much time dwelling on why I arrived at this juncture.  The bottom line is many years of a carefree lifestyle and an undisciplined approach to nutrition and fitness caught up with me.  I often joke about the fact that “you pay for your pleasure” …. well, clearly I am now paying for mine.

A Tough Pill to Swallow!

Upon diagnosis my physician immediately prescribed  medication (Metformin) to address this challenge.  For the record I intensely dislike and resist any form of drug therapy.  I am already taking blood pressure pills (since 2007) so receiving this news did not sit well with me at all.

The truth is Diabetes can be overcome, without medication.  Actually, Hypertension (high blood pressure) is reversible as well.  The key to eliminating these health concerns is by making lifestyle changes.  I control my own destiny.  If I wanna be healthy, then I have to modify my approach to life drastically.  And… these changes are not temporary … they will be permanent.

I spent an entire weekend brainstorming a strategy for regaining my health.  I then presented my action plan to my doctor.  I requested a three month “probation”, to prove to him, and myself, that I could fix this problem, without taking medication.  Surprisingly, He agreed.

Achieving Personal Wellness Success

The following are the components of my wellness action plan:

Plan and Document All Food Consumed — For my entire life, I have eaten whatever I wanted, without any real consideration for the nutritional impact.  Using a Food Diary Technology tool, called MyNetDiary I am now planning out what I eat, and quantity of it, every single day. The following are the nutrition rules I will follow:

  • Fat 27% total calories (Saturated Fat no more than 7% of total calories)
  • Carbohydrates 52% total calories ( no more than 25% of total calories are sugar)
  • Protein 22% total calories
  • Sodium no more than 2,300 mg per day (this is a tough one)
  • Fiber at least 50 grams per day
  • Alcohol no more than 8 drinks per week (110 grams pure alcohol)

Get Moving! — Borrowing this phrase from the inspirational TV show “The Biggest Loser” consistent exercise is a critical piece of the puzzle.  My plan is:

  • Work out 5 days per week for at least 45 minutes
  • Burn at least 500 calories per session (2,500 calories per week)
  • Walk of at least one mile on at least 3 days as part of overall workout

One of the keys to reversing Type 2 Diabetes is getting weight under control.  Following this plan, and managing calorie intake I expect to lose 2-3 lbs per week, with the ultimate goal of losing another 50 lbs or so, over the next 5-6 months.   I know this sounds like a lot of work, and it is.  But .. it is well worth it, and frankly I have no choice.  I hope to use this experience to help other people avoid getting themselves into the situation I’m in.

There are a variety of technology tools and resources available to assist folks in attaining their health and wellness goals.  I will talk about those in an upcoming blog article.

Are you experiencing challenges in attaining your fitness goals, or life balance?  How are you coping with or addressing them?  Please share your ideas with us!

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