Decades ago, nutrition wasn't a major topic of conversation. Now a day, it's all about good food/bad food, diets, supplements, body image and food. Fast forward to 2012, endurance sports (especially running and triathlons) have become more main stream and people are constantly searching for ways to get out of their comfort zone and to prove that anything is possible.
Thanks to the media and social-networking "gone wild", there's an overwhelming amount of information as to the "latest" in health and fitness. What works and what doesn't work is only a television, I-pad app, facebook status, blog post and tweet away from your fingertips.
Without a doubt, it's hard to seperate fact from fiction and to keep in mind that there is no magic bullet (aka quick fix) to improving health and fitness. When it comes to change.....change is hard. Whether you are trying to de-emphasize processed food, embrace a more positive attitude, remove a bit of stress from your life or recover more and train less, if you want to succeed, you must be willing to open your mind to new (or improved) consistent actions and to adjust your comfortable routine.
Jack La Lanne revolutionized the health and fitness industry, living a youthful life up until the age of 96 yrs. According to the CDC, 2010 data showed the average life expectancy is 78.5 years of age. However, this doesn't take into consideration as to how you will be living your later years of life.
Jack LaLanne was always quick to report that he hated to exercise. As a person who dedicated his life to motivating others to live a healthier lifestyle through proper exercise and nutrition, there's a lot to learn from the pioneer of all things "healthy".
According to a 2007 article in the Wall Street Journal, when discussing working out... "It's a pain in the gluties," says Mr. LaLanne. "But you gotta do it. Dying is easy, living is tough. I hate working out. Hate it. But I like the results." According to the man who never missed a workout. "The way people eat today is sick, would you even feed your dog a cup of coffee and a doughnut in the morning?" Mr. LaLanne has many favorite sayings when it comes to diet (according to the Wallstreet journal article): "Everything nature's way.…If man makes it, don't eat it.…If it tastes good, spit it out.…The food you eat today you're wearing tomorrow." He lives by all of them. "Before I eat something I ask 'What is it doing for me, the most important person on Earth?' "
Mr. LaLanne ate two meals a day and supplemented with 30-40 vitamins a day. He drank wine every night, drank soy milk and changed up his exercise routine every 30 days. I believe this quote by Mr. LaLanne says it all "It's your health account. The more you put in the more you'll be able to take out."
Knowing the impact that I have as a health and fitness professional, I am constantly reading, researching and keeping an open mind. Although I do not feel it is necessary to promote my individual practices as "what works for me, works for you" my 6-7 year journey has brought me to a wonderful place in my life and I feel confident in helping change the lives of others.
In my latest Nutrition Action Healthletter (Jan/Feb 2012), the memo from the Executive Director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (pg 2) really caught me off gaurd. Thanks to social media and the ability to access anything in a space-bar hit, it's easy to promote, discuss and examine research just as easy as it is to express our individual thoughts and "best practices". Thanks to the network connecting of individuals across the globe, I believe we have gotten more and more seperated from the most important thing in the world....our body.
According to the article, Michael F. Jacabson discusses how American has experienced an "unprecedented obesity epidemic in the past 30 years". This alarms me, especially since I am 29 years of age. He goes on to add "Since about 1980, rates of obesity have tripled, to roughly 18% for children and 34% for adult. That includes 33% of white, 39% of hispanic and 44% of black adults.....Those billions of extra pound translates into more high blood pressure, more heart attacks, and more cancer..and to an estimated $150 billion a year in increased medical costs."
"The food industry says that obesity is largely a matter of personal responsibility - no one is forced to eat fattening foods. As for kids, parents should just feed them healthy diets. Problem solved!"
Sadly, this isn't working.
"It won't work in a society that makes it sooo easy to overeat and under-exercise. Blaming consumers is a convenient way to take the onus off industry and it lets companies market whatever junk they want wherever they want."
Here's the part that really got me thinking about all of us, really accepting how we choose (or don't choose) to nourish our body.
"Let's say we eventually decide to invest, say 1% of the cost of obesity in rolling back obesity. That's $1.5 billion a year. Sounds like a lot?
In 2010, Kraft sepnt $1 billion on advertising and other promotions, McDonald's Spent $1.3 billion and Procter & Gamble $4.6 billion".
"What could $1.5 billion pay for? Tax deductions to facilitate workstie-wellness programs, for a start. And major mass-media campaigns to encourage people to eat less junk food and more healthful foods. And cooking classes and ealthier, tastier food in school cafeterias. And more hiking and biking trails".
So to take the advice of Jack LaLanne...."It's never too late. Living is an athletic event."