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Get up and get moving
January 22, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
I’m a pretty busy person.
I work a full-time job, which sometimes can be a bit more than full-time. I belong to a couple community organizations and have personal interests and activities that I enjoy. I also have to find time to spend with my husband and our menagerie of dogs and cats. Because of my busy lifestyle, I can easily use the excuse that I don’t have time to exercise or plan my food choices.
But working at a fairly sedentary job behind a desk much of the day only to go home and collapse in a chair for the evening, it was no wonder that I began to feel sluggish, as in “like a slug.” Have you ever seen a slug up close? They move along slowly as if the effort of carrying their own weight is so difficult, they can barely move at all.
“You can’t lose weight without exercise,” said my friend and dietician Rachel Hudak, L.D., R.D. “Especially as you get older.”
Hudak explained that as we age, we begin to lose muscle mass. It is muscle that keeps our metabolism at full strength. Without muscle, we don’t burn as many calories and the bottom line is, to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in. There are no secret herbal remedies, pills, diet concoctions, magic fat-burning super foods or muscle stimulating machines that will automatically do the trick. It is all about the numbers.
With the U.S. population growing wider by the minute, the USDA site, www.mypyramid.gov, posts the necessity of physical activity in addition to healthy food guidelines.
Because my days are often full, I knew I probably wouldn’t stick to an exercise program that meant I wouldn’t get home until late at night. I decided I would have the most success by getting my exercise out of the way early in the morning.
I used to think I hated working out, but that’s not entirely true. I love working out. It is the effort of getting myself to the gym that I hate. But I know it is important for my overall health and successful weight loss, so three days a week I drag myself out of bed an hour and a half earlier than usual, and I drive to the gym. I pack my bag and my lunch the night before.
I feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that I am doing something good for myself, not to mention being happy that it is finished and out of the way for the rest of the day.
After my workout I shower and get ready for work using the gym’s facilities. Because I don’t eat breakfast first, I keep instant oatmeal and other easy breakfast items at the office. This morning, I had Quaker Weight Control instant Oatmeal with blueberries and my usual cup of tea. Lunch at my desk was a tuna sandwich with lettuce and a container of Healthy Choice chicken with rice soup. My afternoon snack was a container of yogurt and an orange. It was an extremely cold day and although I thought about making a simple vegetable wrap for dinner, I decided I wanted something hot. My husband made a pot of chili for his dinner, but I knew I didn’t get enough vegetables today, so I made a stir-fry with peppers, carrots, onions, garlic and broccoli and seasoned with salt, pepper and Chinese five spice blend. I tossed in some chicken and put it all over brown rice and drizzled on a bit of soy sauce. Throughout the day, I drink water, sometimes flavoring it with sugar-free ice tea packets available at the grocery store.
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Breakfast: 1 grains; ½ fruit; 30 discretionary calories