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Is it time for a healthier you?

EMS1.com News

January 16, 2013


First in Fitness
by Bryan Fass

Is it time for a healthier you?

Make new habits in 2013

By Bryan Fass

Most adults reach a point in their life where they realize that New Year's resolutions simply don't work. Sure, we start with good intentions but as soon as the holidays end and life gets back to normal we fall right back into the old patterns and habits of our everyday lives. 

While we all make our New Year's resolutions with the best of intentions, old habits and lack of follow through will usually be the end of trying to achieve a goal.

To that point let's look at goal setting. As humans we often when a set goals that are way too high and frankly too difficult to achieve. Once we fail or struggle to meet that goal, the easy thing to do is just quit. Factor in the rigors of a career in public safety and we have the recipe for it being very difficult to achieve the goal.  But, with provider obesity and injuries on the rise, as well as fitness and wellness continuing to decline, we owe it to ourselves to make some positive changes this year.

So let's follow the KISS principle and keep this process as simple as possible.  Having a career in fitness and rehabilitation plus EMS that spans well over 16 years, I can confidently say that the secret to wellness is consistency. As an example, let's say that it is a busy shift and at the first chance you get to eat, you find that your choices are poor and very limited. 

Old habits would dictate ordering a burger, fries and sugary drink.  A new habit would call for a grilled chicken sandwich, hold the mayo with a small side salad and some water. The challenge is to be consistent in making that habit change.

Like a lot of people this time a year, we head off to the gym with lofty goals and ambitions of getting fit and staying fit.  However, the reality is that it is often difficult to just get to the gym, let alone get a good workout.

Try this tip: Last time I checked, most of us have 2 feet. Walking at a brisk pace throughout your shift has been proven to burn calories, reduce stress, and lower the effect of fatigue.  The even better news is that these brisk walks can be broken up into short 10 to 15 minute intervals throughout the day.

While your mother was right in telling you to sit up straight and have good posture, she unfortunately was very wrong in forcing you to always clean your plate.  Our parents and grandparents inadvertently created generation after generation of overeaters. The majority of weight issues and in this case weight loss issues can be simply attributed to excess of portion size and an over reliance on carbohydrates.

One thing I have learned over the years is that food is a very personal issue and folks get offended easily, especially when they realize that their food choices are actually harming them. Open your mind! There are two simple things you can do today to begin losing weight and feeling better with very little effort.

  1. Simply eat less: stop eating off a dinner plate. Instead, use a salad plate. That simple little task will immediately cut your caloric intake and you will lose weight. The beauty of this technique is that it also makes it necessary to eat 5 to 6 small meals a day, which is conveniently what we should be doing the first place.
  2. Eat more green and lean protein. Our society has a severe over reliance on carbohydrates and sugars.  In order to be healthy, lose weight and have improved immune function we simply need to eat more dark green and dark colored vegetables, along with lean cuts of meat as a protein source. Societies that consume less dairy and wheat products while eating higher concentrations of fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources have lower instances of metabolic diseases, obesity and a higher quality of life.

So this year do something different, resolved to be consistent. The path to wellness has always been clear but it is simply up to us to not lose sight of that path, not fall back into old habits and to step out of the proverbial box and make our own wellness a personal responsibility. 

About the author

Bryan Fass is an expert on public safety injury prevention, patient and equipment handling ergonomics, fitness and wellness and a noted speaker and consultant. Bryan has authored four books including the Fit Responder. He works nationally with departments, corporations, state and local governments to design and run targeted injury prevention and wellness programs for public entities and private organizations. He is frequently contacted for expert opinion and content contribution for all aspects of public safety. Bryan holds a bachelor's degree in sports medicine, was a paramedic for more than eight years, and is certified as an Athletic Trainer & Strength Coach. He is the president and founder of the Fit Responder. Contact Bryan at bryan.fass@ems1.com.
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