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    Wednesday
    Jun302010

    We want your input!

    Hi there, Wo40 family! Hope you're having a wonderful healthy day!

    At Wo40.com, we're trying to create a website that presents a practical approach to fitness. From exercise to nutrition and everything in between - we want Wo40.com to be the best of the best fitness websites out there.

    This is where you can step in and help. We're looking to beef up our recipes section to include a wide variety of ideas for healthy and nutritious breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, and snacks. If you would like to submit a recipe for publication on the Wo40.com website, simply Contact Us. If selected, your recipe will be added to the 'Recipes' page with a "Submitted by" tag (and link, if applicable).

    We look forward to hearing from you! Have the best day EVER!

    Be well!
    Keith & Alice

    Sunday
    Jun272010

    Starvation Diets

    A friend recently told Alice that she is on a calorie-restrictive diet in order to lose weight.  Basically, this friend is consuming about 1000-1200 calories per day in an attempt to reduce the number she sees on the scale.  Just last year, I had a friend tell me that she was eating 3 salads a day - less than 1000 calories - as her regular diet.  The most extreme example of a starvation diet was the acquaintance who told us that he was limiting himself to one apple and one banana per DAY.


    It's apparent that there is a pervasive mindset in our culture that causes people to believe that starvation is a viable means to dropping pounds.  People appear to believe that restricting calories is good, so restricting MORE calories is better.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Myth - It's the number on the scale that is important - the smaller the better.
    Reality - Weight and fitness are independent measures of overall health.  Thus, a smaller number on the scale isn't automatically an indicator of better health.  When a dieter restricts calories as in the examples above (an apple and a banana??), they will see a smaller number on the scale, but not as a result of fat loss.  Muscle depletion is an inevitable result of caloric deprivation, making the body feel weak and sluggish.  As more and more muscle mass is depleted, the scale weight will go down, but at the expense of overall wellness.  If weakness and fatigue are your goals, then a calorie restrictive diet is the way to get there.  Otherwise, a balanced approach to eating and exercising will yield a much better result.

    Remember, starving third-world children and victims of amorexia would see small numbers on the scale.  No one would mistake their conditions for being healthy.

    Myth - Calorie restrictive diets will get me to my goal weight faster.
    Reality - Calorie restrictive diets slow the metabolism to a crawl, resulting in slower weight loss.  The body is an efficient machine that is very perceptive of its environment.  When calories are restricted to starvation levels the body switches into a mode that will get the most benefit possible from the reduced calorie intake.  In other words, the body shuts down to a crawl in order to utilize as few calories as possible.  The result is near-impossible weight loss and extreme fatigue.

    Myth - I can calorie restrict for a while to lose weight and then resume normal eating.
    Reality - You can, but the bounce-back effect will actually cause weight gain.  When the body is starved, it powers itself by using available resources from the muscles.  This fuel is used to power essential functions like the heart, brain, and organs while leaving the muscles to wait for future resources.  Once normal eating resumes, the "extra" food fuel is grabbed out of the bloodstream and quickly crammed into every available space in anticipation of another famine.  The result (bounce back) is a heavier body with a slow metabolism.  To avoid this problem, a balanced approach to eating is required.

    Myth - Calorie restrictive diets are generally safe.
    Reality - Calorie restrictive diets can result in a variety of physiologic, emotional, and social disorders.  Dieters that have reduced their food intake to starvation levels may suffer from such problems as fatigue, sexual dysfunction, reproductive dysfunction, depression, moodiness, and a preoccupation with food.  Extended periods of starvation-level dieting can result in muscle depletion, which by extension may result in failure of the most important muscle in the body, the heart.

    Eating to drop fat is not rocket science.  Truly good nutrition isn't any more difficult than starvation, but the effects of eating well will be far more positive in the long run.  For more information about eating for overall health, see our article on Eating for Fat Reduction.

    Saturday
    Jun192010

    A Gift from Dad

    If our Facebook page is any indication, a good number of our readers are women.  If you are a mother reading this, I invite you to print it and hand it to your husband.

    This weekend is Father’s Day Weekend.  Kids and moms everywhere will be endowing their fathers/husbands with gifts and words of gratitude.  I personally plan on driving a couple hours to spend the day with my father.  I’m grateful to have the opportunity to spend my 41st Fathers Day with my dad.  I hope to be able to spend a good many more with him before all is said and done.  Conversely, this is my 14th year as a dad.  In another 27 years, I expect my son will be able to say to me what I will be saying to my dad tomorrow – Happy Father’s Day.

    In the meantime, I have to give my children a gift.  Fathers everywhere need to step up and give this gift to their children.  Failure to do so is, in my opinion, an abdication of responsibility as a father.

    We owe it to our children to be an example of healthful living.

    Consider the following statistics from 2005-06: 11% of children aged 2-5, 15% of children 6-11 and 18% of adolescents 12-19 are overweight (Source).  Children don’t become overweight by themselves.  Medical issues notwithstanding, overweight children are most often the products of parents whose lifestyles don’t reflect healthy habits.  The fact that 2/3 of adults in the United States are classified as overweight with half of those being labeled as obese.

    What is your lifestyle teaching your child about his or her health?  Are you sending the message that health isn’t really important – that the human body can be abused with food and beverage that ages it prematurely?  Are you active or inert?

    Children observe EVERYTHING you do – or don’t do.  And they WILL duplicate your behaviors.

    The gift you can give to your children this Father’s Day is you for a long time to come.  Your child should be able to enjoy you for 50, 60, or 70 years of their lives.  Unless you are doing your part – eating a nutritious diet and getting regular exercise – you are stealing yourself away from your children.  Further, you are aiding and abetting the loss of your grandchildren’s Mom or Dad.  Your lifestyle today has a generational impact that will endure well beyond your years on this Earth.

    Be well, not just for yourself but for the ones who call you ‘Dad’.

    Thursday
    Jun102010

    It's Not about Losing Weight

    Anyone can lose weight.  Anyone.  Here's the secret:

    Stop eating.

    There.  Problem solved, right?

    This website/blog is not about losing weight.  The message I broadcast has little or nothing to do with losing weight, because that "goal" is such a meaningless one.  Besides, who wants to "lose" anything?  Name one thing that you lost that you didn't want to find again.  If you "lose" 50 pounds, how long will it be before you go looking for them again in the bottom of a pint of Ben & Jerry's?

    Losing weight is not the message here.

    What we promote, and what I hope our readers understand, is that this blog is about fitness.  Fitness is a lifestyle, a state of being, and a message that you send to others.

    Fitness as a Lifestyle

    One's lifestyle is reflected in his or her actions and decisions.  A fit lifestyle simply means that a majority of the time decisions and actions reflect an attitude of health and wellness.  These decisions can be as small as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking further away from the door at the mall.  Do you eat the double quarter pounder with cheese or the grilled chicken salad with low-fat vinaigrette?  Water or soda?

    A fitness lifestyle is transparent and recognizable to the casual observer due to the bigger decisions that are made on an ongoing basis.  Daily decisions may not be witnessed by many, but the results of those fitness decisions are obvious.  After all, isn’t it apparent who has adopted a lifestyle of sloth and gluttony?  Big bellies and grease stains on the shirt are dead giveaways.  People who live a fitness lifestyle have similar tell-tale characteristics – their lean muscular physiques, bright eyes, and generally pleasant attitudes give them away.

    Our fitness lifestyle is apparent in the types of activities Alice and I enjoy.  We frequently walk in our neighborhood and down by the river.  We take the children to the falls of that river and climb the rocks there.  We attend karate classes multiple times a week, sometimes for 3-4 hours per night.  We go to the beach and swim.  What we do from day to day is a reflection of our fitness lifestyle.

    And so should it be for anyone who wants to be fit.

    Fitness as a State of Being

    Fitness, like any other state of existence, is a moment-by-moment event.  The key with fitness (and with any other attitude) is to not let circumstances dictate that state of being.  In 2009, I broke the second metatarsal on my left foot - cracked the ball of the bone behind the toe.  It hurt to walk or stand.  My doctor told me to take 6 weeks off of any physical activity.

    I told him he was nuts.

    Fitness is my state of being.  Telling a “fit” person to just sit and do nothing is like telling a flea-infested cur to stop scratching.  It’s not happening.

    The day after my orthopedist told me to take time, I was in the gym.  I had to use crutches to get from one place to another, but there was no way in hell I was going to stop training for 6 weeks.  I modified all of my exercises to accommodate the broken bone.  Squats and presses became extension and flexion moves.  Cardio changed from running to cycling.

    Fit was a state of being to me.  I couldn’t change who I was just because of my circumstances.  Had I followed doctor’s orders, I might never have restarted my training regimen after the 6 weeks were over.  By the end of 6 weeks of inactivity, I would have adopted a new state of being – that of being an inert injured man.

    Changing your state of being is a must in order to become fit.  Simply “losing weight” doesn’t cut it.  If an exercise program or nutrition plan is tossed out the window at the slightest hint of difficulty, then fitness isn’t a state of being, it’s a matter of convenience.  This is a path to failure.

    Fitness is a Message

    I am a walking talking billboard for Weightingon40.com.  I broadcast a message about this site with every step I take, every bite I eat, and every breath I breathe.  Hopefully, the message is a good one.  Occasionally I will slip and present a bad message, but that’s what makes me human.

    Nevertheless, my message to you today is simple: forget about “losing weight.”  It’s not that important.

    What IS important is that you find within yourself the strength to become the lean, healthy, fit individual that already exists inside of you.  It’s important that you struggle to free yourself from the bondage of fat and, once it is shed, to stand upon the shell of your former self and declare victory over the most formidable enemy you’ll ever face – complacency.

    Honestly, I haven’t dropped that much weight.  Since starting this blog – including 63 days of Insanity and hours in the gym – I’ve only shed about 17 pounds of body weight.  The true victory for me has been overcoming the hollow shell of a man who used to crawl away to his room every day to hide from the world behind the television and internet.  My victory over laziness, anger, fear, and complacency are far more noteworthy than any weight I might have “lost.”

    This blog has nothing to do with losing weight.  It has everything to do with helping YOU become the happy, healthy, fit human being you were designed to be.

    Be well!

    

    Tuesday
    Jun082010

    What's Your Motivation?

    One of the hardest parts of becoming physically active is finding the motivation to get started and keeping that motivation long enough to see results.  Because exercise is sometimes a real pain, we have a natural human tendency to avoid it – a kind of primal survival instinct that tells us to stop doing that which causes discomfort.

    Our motivation has to be stronger than that instinct.

    Motivation to do anything is an individual trait.  What worked for me won’t necessarily work for everyone.  The burden of motivation, then, falls to each of us individually.

    Now, I’m an expert on me.  I know what pushes my buttons and makes me tick.  Thus, I know what motivates me and what doesn’t.  The same is true in your case.  The really difficult part is being honest enough with yourself to determine what it’s going to take to get the fitness ball rolling and keeping it going.

    It’s funny sometimes how people can be brutally honest with other people but will lie to themselves.  I used to tell myself all the time that I was in great shape, even when I carried an extra 25 pounds of flab on my gut.  Contrary to the humorous t-shirt slogan, being “round” does not equate to being in “shape”.  I was lying to myself to my own detriment.

    Since I can’t specifically tell you what your motivation is (or should) be, I can tell you what mine was and is.  When I first got started on this journey, my motivation was to impress my wife.  Shallow, but true.  In truth – a truth I wasn’t telling myself at the time – I knew my marriage was desperately in trouble, and a lot of the problem surrounded my physical condition.  Not that Alice was so shallow that my appearance caused her not to love me – far from it – just that I was so unhappy and emotionally void that just being around me was unbearable for her.

    Imagine what it would be like to be in a relationship with a guy that spent all of his time holed up in his bedroom watching TV and surfing the internet.  I had separated myself from my children and voluntarily checked out of life.  This wasn’t the grand adventure she had envisioned for herself when we got married, so she was justifiably disappointed and ready to escape.

    I knew all of this, but what I wanted to believe was that everything – including my health and marriage – was just fine.  When the lie I had told myself was exposed, I found the real source of my motivation – to fix the damage I had created in my marriage by improving not only my body but also my mind.

    First motivation: impress my wife.  New motivation: keep my wife and marriage through focused self-improvement on both a physical and emotional level.

    I’ve come a long way in my self-improvement goals.  I’m not done – I don’t think one is ever “done” with improving the self – but I’m content with my growth.  Having repaired a lot of the damage my complacency did to my marriage, I needed a new motivation.

    That’s where Wo40.com came in.  My fitness and marital successes have compelled me to share my journey with others in the hopes that I can make a difference in the lives of my readers.  So, basically, YOU are my motivation now.  What can I do to make your life more meaningful, abundant, rich, and prosperous?  Those are my driving questions and the very reason I spend time writing articles like this one.

    My journey started with a realization of truth – that I wasn’t happy with who I was.  Birthdays have a strange ability to make us introspective as we realize that we are growing older.  On the eve of my 40’s, the truth of my condition somehow became apparent; I realized that I needed to change.

    You must be honest with yourself first.  Sometimes it’s hard to face the truth about ourselves, but the longer we avoid who we really are the longer we will stay where we are.  Are you happy?  Truly happy?  True happiness comes from achieving things and making a difference.  It comes from being actively involved in something that is larger than we ourselves are.

    Look in the mirror.  Strip down to your jockeys and take a look at yourself.  The Bible says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Does your body belie that sentiment?  Look into your own eyes.  They are the windows to the soul, after all.  What are they telling you?  Are they begging you to help a fading soul, or do they sparkle with the light of life?

    Truth.  It will set you free.

    There’s no better way to show love for yourself than to take care of your body.  Every time we light a cigarette, down a case of beer, or eat food that we know is nutritionally void, we demonstrate a deeper belief that we aren’t worth it, that we don’t deserve better.  How you treat your body speaks volumes about deeply held self-image beliefs.  Learn to love yourself, and demonstrate that love through action.

    Reading this, it might seem a rather simplistic that I would believe that exercise and nutrition could have that big an effect on your overall life.  2 years ago I would have said the same thing.  My only advice is this: try it for yourself.  Tell yourself every day that you’re worthy of being loved and demonstrate that love for yourself through a regimen of exercise and proper nutrition.

    What’s your motivation?  You are.  The people you love are.  If that’s not good enough for you, then you’re already dead and your body is just slow in figuring it out.

    This article didn’t turn out as expected, but sometimes it’s a good thing to just let go of the outline and speak from the heart.

    Be well.

    

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