Hit the Pool
I just “discovered” another method for a fabulous aerobic and stretching workout—swimming. A couple of weeks ago a friend invited me over for a late afternoon swim. I thought swimming meant lounging by the pool, iced tea in hand. But she meant getting in the water to swim—literally. I went along with the group, though I wore my sunglasses and sunhat. I swam. Back and forth. Lots of times.
Before our next swim, my husband gave me a useful tip: keep your hands cupped so the water doesn’t flow through your fingers. Did I mention I’ve never actually gone “swimming” before?
Before our third swim, I purchased a swim cap (black), swim goggles (black) and earplugs. I swam and swam, got my face wet, kept my hair mostly dry, my vulnerable eardrum dry, and figured out not to inhale under water. 30 lengths—long pool.
All three times I’ve arrived home exhausted and exhilarated. I love swimming: it’s highly aerobic, tones the upper arms and upper body in wonderful ways, and has a serenity to it, a lovely stillness. Pools with lap lanes, both indoor and outdoor, are widely accessible.
The only fitness drawback is that swimming isn’t weight bearing enough to keep your bones strong, so you’ll still need Pilates or strength training and walking, hiking, biking, etc. to keep bones strong.
Sodas and Metabolic Syndrome
Drinking one can of regular or diet soda each day can increase a person’s risk of getting metabolic syndrome by 48%. Metabolic syndrome is the precursor to type 2 diabetes. Does this mean that offering a person a soda is the same as saying, “Here, have some diabetes”? No one knows for sure. The research is shocking, and more research needs to be done to figure out why this is true. Spokespersons for the soft drink industry and the American Heart Association are downplaying the research. Not all the facts are in. Stayed tuned. But for safety and overall health and weight loss, go ahead and cut down your intake of these beverages.
Sleep to Lose Weight
Headline from Good Housekeeping magazine (I love this headline): “You snooze, you lose. Add one hour of sleep to your schedule and you could drop 14 pounds this year.” What a dreamy and effortless solution. With adequate sleep you’ll reduce stress cortisol levels, eat less, and have more energy. Get your zzz’s.
Obesity in Your Social Circles
Your group of friends can determine your body size! As the headline reads, “Obesity can spread in social circles.” Again, no one knows why, but having many obese and overweight friends can make a person fat. Sounds contagious. (The reverse is also true—thin friends help a person stay thin.) Don’t drop your overweight friends. Instead, eat 0-5 regardless of where, why, when, or how you eat and who you’re with. Not as easy as it sounds. I know that.
Watch Less TV for Diabetes Prevention
Here’s more news: Sitting in front of the TV is suspect as another precursor to diabetes. Watching 3 or more hours of TV a day causes a rise in blood sugar. Solution: Get an active life. Keep moving. Limit TV viewing to 2 hours or less a day.
Eat Acidic Foods for Weight Loss
Grapefruit can help you lose weight. That old-time diet was right. The acid helps keep blood sugar, and thus insulin, levels low. (High insulin levels lead to weight gain.) The same is true for any acidic food—vinegar in salad dressings, dill pickles, lemon or lime juice.
Use Pilates to Reduce Your Back Pain
I’m a big fan of Pilates, and here’s another reason why. If you suffer from chronic back pain, take note. Pilates mat work and reformer work decrease pain better than other programs. Buy a DVD and mat and get started. Or find a rec center near you that teaches mat classes.
White and Fluffy Makes You Puffy
I told you last month that I gave up any food that contained flour because I was “feeling puffy”—as in, my jeans were tight. All it took was about 2 weeks and my jeans fit just like before. I didn’t feel too deprived because I still had my chocolate. If you try my flour-less approach, let me know how it works for you.