Monday, November 8, 2010

Fat Is NOT the New Sexy!!!…….posted 11-08-10

Running, Running, Running

I am in training to run a half marathon in January 2011. Which means any spare time not spent doing my regular training routine, prepping for my weekly classes (I work as a fitness professional and am a certified yoga teacher, mat Pilates, reformer, and SPINNING instructor), teaching my weekly classes (24 in all), preparing food, eating…..  Well go get the idea, my time seems to evaporate!

The most I have run in 6 miles, a feat I accomplished at the end of last year, I settled in around 4 miles then issues cropped up. I have since recovered. I am about six months out and I feel fit enough to get back on the road…literally. So I am running!

One of the perks of what I do for a living is free access to various and sundry gyms which I cheerfully take advantage. I am content to train alone, though it is more ‘fun’ when I train with my friends (also fitness professionals). It is important for me to be healthy and have a physique that lets you know I take fitness seriously. It’s a calling card of sorts or at least an advertisement of what fitness training can do for you.


The Point

I was working out with a friend of mine and the subject of black women and obesity came up. She asked me why black women seemed more accepting of being overweight.

I told her I didn’t know. And I don’t. I am not one of those women.

I don’t obsess over my weight (well not to a neurotic or pathological extent, anyway). Yes, I train/workout. Yes, I watch what I eat. Even now, I am trying to cut down on my sugar intake (not just the granular, but the potatoes and chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate cake). Mind you I probably won’t ever cut the out completely and really, that’s not my aim. What I am working on is keeping my consumption of such foods to a minimum. Even better, I am back on my ‘vegan’ food lifestyle so when I do have the cake or the cookies, I will make them myself so I can control the type and amount of sweetener and the amount sodium. This isn’t just because of fat and calories; it’s because of the inflammation sugar causes in the body.


Statistics*

My snarky comments appear in italics.  :-D

-Seventeen (17%) percent of bw over 18 years of age smoke.

Smoking?!?! Really?!?! Smoking is so 1970’s. Seriously who smokes anymore…or ever???

-Fifty-three (53%) percent of bw over 20 year of age are obese.

This is beyond sad. And don’t tell me you can’t afford a gym, because you can walk! You can do jumping jacks and squats and lunges! All in the comfort of you own home! (See a certified health provider first though).

Perhaps I’ll post a 20 minute body weight exercise routine – perhaps.

-Sixty-one (61%) percent of Af Americans do not engage in leisure-time physical activity.

See the above comment.


Functional Fitness

It is clear not everyone should be, can be or even wants to be a size __ (insert desirable number here). Skinny does not equal healthy. The absence of fat does not indicate the presence of health. I am not advocating skinny. I am advocating healthy, functional fitness.

Functional fitness can be:

-         the ability to walk from the parking lot to a store without getting winded;
-         the ability to chase after your children or nieces and nephew for ten minutes and not require an oxygen tank…or a defibulator;
-         the ability to carry ten to fifteen pounds and not throw your back out;
-         the ability to touch your toes without ripping your hamstrings…the ability to see your toes.

Fitness can be achieved through walking, running or any number of group exercise classes like step aerobics, body pump, sculpting, cycling, water aerobics, kickboxing, mat Pilates and Pilates reformer. I highly recommend yoga as I am first and foremost a yoga teacher but also because yoga can provide a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.

If you do not currently participate in a fitness regime, you must have your health evaluated by a certified health provider prior to beginning any fitness endeavor. The evaluation will not only determine if you are healthy enough to engage in your chosen physical activity, the assessment will provide a base line against which you can measure your increasing health response.

You can also purchase a heart rate monitor and have a personal trainer (or one of the trainers at the gym) calculate your maximum heart rate so you will know what your fat burning zone is and when you are in the zone.


Healthy Eating

Proper nutrition cannot be stressed enough. You have to become aware of what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat. Case in point: I had a young man ask me what else he could do, besides working out and cutting out foods like bread, French fries, soft drinks, etc. because he had hit a plateau and wasn’t losing weight anymore. I asked him what he was eating for breakfast/lunch/dinner. It turns out he would eat potato chips with every meal. No. Kidding. I told him he must start cutting down on the chip eating gradually until he could phase chips out totally (if he desired) or at least have them with a lunch meal once a week. At last report, the weight is coming off again! Yaay Him!!

Awareness! More than likely you will not lose weight or as much weight as you would like if you eat potato chips or French fries or *sob* chocolate chip cookies every day. You will be frustrated. Start a food journal (diary) and write down what you eat; how much you eat and when you eat, you don’t even have to list the calories or fat grams or sugar or Trans fat or sodium amounts at first. But you have to do something to increase your awareness about how much, when, where and why you eat what you eat. There are plenty of apps available to help you track you eating habits - use them!

I sense a future post, so stay tuned!!!


Peace

* Statistics gathered from Centers for Disease Control (CDC)