The Key to Fitness for Life
By Don S. Otis
Natalie was just 40 years old when we first met. Like many Americans, she was overweight, 75 pounds too heavy and she knew it. It was not until her doctor asked her a question that she finally understood the seriousness of her weight. He asked, “Do you want to see your sons graduate from high school?” Her immediate reaction was one of defensiveness. Then, she said, “Yes, of course I do.” He then added, “You must begin to change the way you live.”
We calculate healthy weight by what’s called Body Mass Index, a formula that derives from your height and weight and correlates to the amount of body fat a person carries. For a person who is five feet nine inches tall, healthy weight is between 125 and 168. A person is overweight if they are between 169-202 pounds or obese if above 203 pounds. In 2007, only one state in the nation had an obesity rate slightly under 20 percent–Colorado.
Most Americans struggle with their weight. We live in a fast-food culture where anything is available to us. We eat for comfort, for stress, for enjoyment, or simply out of habit. When we finally realize things have gotten out of hand, we diet. This is a bad routine. The cycle repeats itself each year until we become discouraged. When we do decide to change our eating habits, we want instant results. If it takes five or ten years to become overweight, it will also take time to reverse the process and begin healthy habits. Be patient.
Natalie received a wake up call from her doctor. His words were a catalyst for her to make some changes. It was a rude awakening but she got the message. Two years later, she lined up with thousands of other participants to run the Portland Marathon. She chose life. She chose to become healthy and that’s what counts.
More than likely, you’re not interested in running a marathon and that’s okay. No matter how old you are, whether you are out of shape, too heavy, depressed, or injured—you can change your life. If there is a single key to healthy living, it comes down to one major ingredient: CONSISTENCY. Most people give up too soon or too easily and that adds to their discouragement.
Make a decision today to change your life one day at a time. Be active. Be consistent. Find an activity you enjoy and stick with it. Most of all be patient with yourself. It is always better to start slow and keep going. Far too many people start fast, get injured, bored or simply burn out and stop. If you need motivation, join a fitness club, find a friend, set goals, or keep journal notes of your activity as a form of accountability.
Don S. Otis is the author of Staying Fit After Forty and a personal trainer. He can be reached at Don@veritasincorporated.com © 2009