As we rapidly approach the first of the new year, almost everything we watch, read and talk about is either who headlined the news in 2010 or what we are going to do to improve our health and more specifically our weight, in 2011. Jennifer Hudson claims to be sporting a size 4 and has put out a new song, just for Weight Watchers, showing off her new self. Having seen it this morning, I can tell you she looks awesome! Alison Sweeney, after 7 seasons “hosting” Biggest Loser, (and two babies along the way) has put out her first book called “The Mommy Diet,” which I believe hits the book stores tomorrow. And speaking of Biggest Loser, they have hooked up with AFAA, (Aerobic and Fitness Association of America) the company that certifies me as a Fitness Instructor, to help turn viewers in to Doers (and Losers). I have just checked out their sight to see how I can get involved as this is something of GREAT interest to me. One final note on BL…new season (Couples) starts a week from tomorrow.
Every year I investigate the fitness trends, but honestly this is a “quiet” year on trends, which I think is a good thing. Fitness shouldn’t really be trendy and doesn’t really involve much re-invention. While physical fitness is paramount for every single one of us health-wise, most weight control is done in the kitchen. There are so many great ways to get in aerobic, strength training and flexibility work, you just have to DO IT, and really, to be truly fit in all 3 of those aspects, we are all best off doing a little of this and a little of that. One of the positive aspects of taking a group fitness class is that your body ends up moving in all directions as opposed to walking or running on a treadmill. When it comes to improving bone density you DO need to move in all directions to impact all the muscles that tug on the bones. A simple example of this is walking backwards and stepping sideways as opposed to being a rat in a maze. Consider this when doing an outdoor workout. I generally try to add some “grapevines,” and even backwards running, when running on the street or a track. Sure, you have to be careful, but it not only impacts your body differently, it definitely helps prevent boredom.
So as you begin to think about your health and fitness resolutions or goals, make WELL ROUNDED your fitness goal. Mixing things up during each workout, or spending different days attending to different goals, or both, all work! As for your diet/weight loss/gain/maintenance goals, consider LOTS of fresh veggies and mix those up, too! Get ample hydration through water (even on these frigid winter days). I beg you to move away from the mentality that says the more animal protein, the better. I guarantee you WILL lose weight cutting out an entire food group (like carbs or protein) but you will sacrifice too much, like your health. You will probably increase your risk for most every disease we try so hard to avoid. Sure, animal protein helps you build muscle, but too much of it will cause you to have fat marbled in those muscles. In fact, getting your protein from plant-based foods will make your muscle JUST that, perhaps a bit smaller, but only because there is no fat layered in them. I hope you will consider all of this as you think into the new year.
If you haven’t read The China Study, this is probably a really good time to do so. Worth its weight in good health and knowledge, you WILL revisit the way you look at what you consume. Once you read it, you will probably have no choice. I will take this time to share that I have indulged in quite a few non-plant based items over the past week or so, including milk chocolate and probably some items that used eggs and or butter in them. I made a conscious decision to “let my hair down” over the holiday weeks. As it turns out, and not at all surprisingly, NOTHING that I ate was anything I really miss or wish I could eat more often. Nothing. By far, the best meals I have had over the past few weeks were at Falafel Bistro and Sublime. The only non-vegan food item I still really enjoy (and occasionally do) is a good slice of pizza. If you are local and have never been to Antonios in Miramar, you haven’t really had good pizza (even according to New York pizza-snob standards).
Time to bundle up and walk Blaze. Mitch and I have come to realize that his daily walks not only make him a happy dog, but they really, really do keep him young, healthy and agile. Even with his “bad” leg, at 9 and half years old and well over 100 pounds, he exhibits NO signs of arthritis and still acts like a puppy even though according to the articles I have read recently, he should be the equivalent of a very senior citizen. There is a lesson here for ALL OF US. Once again, what’s good for one is good for all!