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Exercise? Diet? How to Approach Healthy Living?

Exercise is often sought after as a means of weight control even though there are current studies to indicate that without a conscious reduction in caloric intake weight loss is minimal (The British Journal of Sports Medicine, September). This leads any number of people to pursue any number of diets and there is a plethora of diets to choose from. There are theories regarding what we should and shouldn't eat or in what combinations we should be eating certain foods. There are vitamins and minerals, tonics and cleansers. There is science regarding nutrition that has broken every food down into macro nutrients and micro nutrients which has aided the food industry in breaking our food down and putting it back together in pretty packages, flavor enhanced to create a continuous and profitable market. As the complexity of food science increases so is the confusion about what we should eat, in what combination and what quantity. We have forsaken the traditional and cultural lessons of the past for prepared, combined packaged food designed to be fixed quickly and eaten quickly without any thought of where it came from or concern for its preparation. We have been fooled into thinking that everything we consume is really food and the preparation of that food is better left to someone or some entity smarter than us. In the process we have become fatter, less active, less social in our eating and much less healthy. Perhaps it is time to rethink our relationship to food.

Most diets are about deprivation of calories. What if we instead looked at our relationship to food, how it fuels us, satisfies us, and, yes, nurtures us. Do we sit to eat? Do we look at the food as pleasing in smell, taste and texture? Do we feel thankful for the meal we are about to eat or thankful for where it came from? Do we stop to eat slowly and breathe? This may all sound silly but examine a day of eating in your own life. It will be interesting to see how little attention is paid to the process or to what we are putting into our bodies. Marc David (The Slow Down Diet) examines these many aspects of our eating behaviors and discovers that it may be more our relationship with food and ourselves that needs to be examined before actually dieting.

It is so difficult in today's environment to decide to take the time to exercise daily and to eat properly. Current health statistics may indicate there is no other option. Everything in life worth doing takes time, planning, focus and energy. Our health is the most important possession we own that is ours to care for and protect. Start your journey to a more integrated lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise.

Jackie Lange is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer; Certified Health Fitness Instructor, American College of Sports Medicine; AAS in Exercise Science, Lake Washington Technical College

Jackie has believed in exercise and good nutrition since she was a teenager. She has ridden horses competitively, ran, weight trained since her twenties. She turned her fitness passion into a career and currently works as a personal trainer for Personal Training Team in Redmond, WA. She is working toward a coaching certification on Eating Psychology.


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