Here we are at the start of summer, excited about the prospect of stripping off those layers of warm clothing and embracing the sunshine, short pants, tank tops, and flip flops. Many of us are daydreaming of our summer vacations and counting down the days, right? I just have one question: when you stripped off your layers of winter clothing, how did things look in the mirror as you tried on swimsuits?
Were you happy with what you found because you kept exercising regularly and continued eating a healthy diet throughout the winter? Or were you bummed because you got a rude awakening after all those winter months of putting off eating right and working out until tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow while you hid beneath layers of heavy clothing and procrastination? Is your BMI (Body Mass Index) telling you BMI (Better Move It)?
You’re not alone. Across the country, many are grappling with the reality that swimsuit season is here, but their bodies are not swimsuit ready. Oh well, all we can do is start where we are. Getting angry with ourselves, crying, or eating a pint of ice cream is not the answer, but a change in perspective is. We must stop looking at eating right and exercising as something we do to get ready for a wedding, graduation, or swimsuit season. We need to have the attitude that it’s important to eat right and exercise now and always to be ready for life!
Life is not a dress rehearsal, and we mustn’t put off taking better care of ourselves until life gets less busy because guess what? It NEVER gets less busy. Every stage of life has something that could easily be our excuse to not have time to take care of ourselves. We must stop making excuses and start doing what it takes today to be healthy. We all have busy lives, and those who take the time to exercise and prepare healthy meals are no less busy than you and I are and have no more hours in a day than we do. The only difference is that they’ve made a choice to make their health a priority.
The rules are the same for ALL of us. To enjoy optimum health, we all must eat a proper diet which includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, and lentils, as well as nuts and seeds. Avoiding highly processed and packaged foods as well as drive-thru and ballfield food should also be top priorities if we are to live in healthy bodies. However, being healthy is not just about looking good or being a certain size or weight.
Being healthy is even more about doing all we can to avoid disease. Did you know our Body Mass Index is a strong predictor of our health outcomes? The BMI Index is the preferred standard that tells us our weight to height ratio. While it’s not perfect, for most people it’s a pretty good guideline to let us know if our weight is in the proper range or edging into unhealthy territory.
The following data came from a study done at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom which included nearly 900,000 men and women from North America and Western Europe who participated in 57 studies related to obesity.
- A BMI > 25 translates to a 40% increase in the risk of heart disease and stroke and a 60% increase in the risk of diabetes
- When we have a BMI > 30, our life span is reduced by 2-4 years
- A BMI > 40 reduces one’s life span by 8-10 years
Do you know your BMI? Click the link below to compute your BMI:
Whether you have a healthy BMI or not, it’s important for all of us to eat properly and exercise. Even if you have a healthy BMI while not exercising and eating poorly, don’t think you’ll escape the consequences of your poor choices because there’s more going on with your body than just how much you weigh. There are many normal weight people out there with a host of health problems that can be traced to diet and lifestyle. What you eat and what you do affects your health in many ways, not just in how much you weigh. For those of you who need to take off a few (or many) pounds to get your BMI into the healthy range, don’t think you can stop eating right and exercising once you’ve achieved your goal weight. Again, for optimal weight AND health, we all must eat right and exercise throughout our lives.
What changes in your lifestyle will you make to start taking better care of yourself? Send me an e-mail and tell me about your plans. Now that you know your BMI (Body Mass Index), you BMI (Better Move It)! Even if you’ve lost and gained, lost and gained, and lost and gained over and over again throughout your life, it’s not too late to try again. Don’t give up on yourself or great health. You can do it. When you commit to change, challenge mind and body, and create a new paradigm, you can conquer anything!