Ester Marsh column: Healthy spirit, mind and body
With this crazy weather, none of us knows what to do anymore! One day, we can wear shorts and the next day we are wearing a winter jacket. The nice weather is short enough not to worry about the pale, dry “winter” shape and skin. When we can cover it up, we aren’t so worried about what’s underneath until nice weather comes again. Eventually, the weather will stay nice. But there are still so many people who become couch potatoes over the winter who have to start over again when the weather gets nice and it’s time for shorts and T-shirts. Even though winter is not quite over yet, with snow in the forecast on Wednesday (!), why wait until nice weather to take charge of your health and weight?
Last week, I talked about positivity and that it is a mindset, as it is with starting an exercise program but more importantly a healthy lifestyle. Too many times, people beat themselves up for not being able to take charge of their life, in this case with exercise, healthy eating and a peaceful mind. It is hard — if it was easy, everyone would be in great shape and living a healthy lifestyle. They start an exercise and eating regimen to see that it is just too much to stick with, beating themselves down once again. You are not alone — look at all of the diets, pills, shots and weight loss programs out there. When the New Year rolled around, there were tons of weight loss items and programs to choose from.
As many of you know, I am not a fan of quick weight loss. I believe the quicker you lose it the quicker it comes back on, and many times they are not the healthiest ways. Anyone can lose weight, especially if all you do is exercise and eat the very few calories they allow you to eat. Keeping the weight off is where most people have the problem. At the YMCA, we believe in healthy spirit, mind, and body. I feel that if we work on all three, we have a chance to succeed.
It is a change of lifestyle. When you speak to people who have lost a lot of weight and have kept it off, they will tell you that they changed their whole eating and exercise habits. They keep track of their weight regularly and record what they eat. Typically, a huge transformation takes about a year. The health benefits and positive changes start immediately.
So what is your goal? I hope it is health and happiness. When you start putting health first, the weight loss is going to come. There are plenty of people who are “skinny fat.” That is what I call people who do not need to lose weight but have a very unhealthy lifestyle. Just because you are “skinny” does not mean you are healthy. And just because you are “overweight” does not mean you are unhealthy.
I want people to be healthy. I want you to feel good about yourself. Talk to your doctor if you need extra help to take charge of your health. Set up an appointment with a certified personal trainer — we will be able to steer you in the right direction. It won’t be easy, but I believe you can do it and you are absolutely worth it. Even that we are moving from spring to winter and back again, a healthy lifestyle should be year round!
Ester H. Marsh is health & fitness director of the JF Hurley YMCA