A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Forget Fad Diets; Be Well in 2015

I've sat down several times this past week to write a typical New Year's blog post. I tried to think of something inspirational but I wasn't feeling inspired. Then I saw several bloggers talking about their "Top 10 Posts of 2014" and thought that might work but couldn't figure out how to figure that out (Blogger only keeps track of the past day, week, month or "all time") so abandoned that idea. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day came and went and I wrote nothing. But I did have several thoughts along the way. So, without further ado, here are my rambling thoughts on New Year's Resolutions, health and wellness, popular topics this time of year.

Weight lose and exercise always top the list of New Year's Resolutions but rarely lead to lasting change. 
I've written several times about New Year's Resolutions. On January 1, 2011, I challenged you to Resolve to BEEFit and get at least 30 minutes of exercise and eat 3 oz. of beef per day. On the first day of 2013, I wrote about avoiding grandiose resolutions and instead setting concrete goals like registering and training for an event such as Ride the Rockies. This year, I encourage you to join me and sign up for the FREE 30-day Self-Care and Wellness Challenge from sport nutritionist Leslie Schilling, a daily e-mail for 30 days designed to challenge your thinking about health and wellness.

Leslie Schilling, MA, RDN, LDN,
Nutrition Expert, Mom, Wife, Cook,
& Creator of YourSupperSolution.com
In full disclosure I have no vested interest in this other than the fact that Leslie is my friend and I loved her "pitch" for the 30-day challenge: "Health and wellness isn't about a number, or feeling guilty, or demonizing food. We don’t get ourselves anywhere positive when we are made to feel guilty or don’t believe we can trust our bodies or food choices. So, if you’re ready for the next big diet, this isn't it. If you’re ready for a journey that increases your awareness, changes your perspective and moves your towards lasting change, THIS is for you!"

To give you an idea what this entails, here is the Day 1 Challenge:
Hi Daren. I'm so glad you're on this journey with me.

Wellness is so much more than a number. And, I believe true health and wellness starts with a change in perspective. We live in a society where it seems "normal" to be at war with who we are and the bodies we live in. It's time for a change. It starts within... 
We'll start by increasing our overall awareness in a variety of areas that impact our health & happiness. AND, we'll build on your observations all month long. It's a process. 
Here's your first challenge. 
Today, I want to you observe obstacles in your day-to-day life that get in the way of doing things that make you feel happy or healthy. They could be external obstacles (like work) and/or internal obstacles (like beliefs).  
Grab a journal, old notebook or a random sheet of paper. Label it Day 1 (that'll make it easier to come back to later). At the end of the day write down your observations. Don't judge. Just write it down.  
Put your observation glasses on and get on it. I'll catch you tomorrow.  
Today is Day 2 of the challenge, so you haven't missed anything yet if you sign up today to join Leslie and me in this challenge!

Which brings me to my thoughts on Health and Wellness. Scrolling through my friends' Facebook posts in the past week I have noticed a lot of wishes for "good health" in the coming year. Many of my peers are either dealing with their own health issues or those of their aging parents (or even their children). We all want to live healthy, happy lives and it seems most are willing to try anything except exercise! Unfortunately far too many people tune in to shows like Dr. Oz and The Doctors for health recommendations, half of which have been found to be baseless or wrong!

My advice is to avoid fad diets and marketing buzzwords like natural, gluten-free, non-GMO, etc., enjoy the food you eat and get some exercise every day. When it comes to food choices, pay attention to calories and eat nutrient rich foods, like beef, that provide the most nutrients per calorie. Nutrient-rich foods provide the fuel your body needs to by physically active. One thing most health experts actually agree on that being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight is the best way to avoid chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

Speaking of the Big C, I have a good friend who received a cancer diagnosis over the holidays. The news gave new meaning to those wishes for good health. Barb is in a fight for her life, one she is facing with courage, humor and the support of many family and friends. One immediate silver lining is that Barb has decided to share her experience in a blog and, as it turns out, she is every bit as irreverent in writing as she is in person.

Barb runs the Boston Marathon in 2010.
My introduction to Barb was in 2008 when she was training for her first marathon (actually, it was her first organized race!). Her friend wanted to outfit her with a Team BEEF jersey and contacted me. Debbie told me the story of how Barb was running a marathon after losing 130 lbs. on a personal journey to improve her health. A year later, in her second marathon, she qualified for Boston and in April 2010 she ran the Boston marathon. Who does that?!

Barb does. As I have grown to know Barb over the past 6 years her story makes more sense. She is a tough and determined business woman with a big heart and quick wit that will keep you on your toes! As she heads to Dallas this week to begin treatment I have to chuckle thinking about the doctors, nurses and other patients at MD Anderson who have no idea what is about to hit them! I know Barb will fight this battle with her unique combination of strength, faith and humor and will touch many lives in the process.

If you like to laugh, cry and think I encourage you to follow Barb's blog. As Jimmy Valvano said in his famous ESPY speech while facing his own cancer prognosis: "If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."

And that, my friends, is my resolution for 2015: To laugh, cry and think and live every day to its fullest. Be well.

Ride on!


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