Happy is Healthy

dorothy1Today a friend on Facebook shared a very special video that I’d never seen.  So special that it more than deserves a blog post.  This particular video captures Jay Leno interviewing Dorothy Custer.  No, she’s not some new pop singer, or actor, or someone who’s done anything notorious enough to warrant the all too familiar “instant celebrity” nonsense that somehow seems to be able to stimulate multi-million dollar undeserved paychecks.

Dorothy Custer’s claim to fame at the time of this video is that she’s 100 years old – but living to 100 in and of itself isn’t what makes this woman special.  What makes her special is her approach to living

The reason why I’m posting on Dorothy is because what Fitegic Planners is all about isn’t “getting skinny” because a “skinny life” isn’t necessarily a happy – or healthy – life.  Fitegic Planners is about living a meaningful life.  A joyful life.

And Dorothy Custer is an exceptional example of how that’s done.

Jay Leno asks her what her secret to a long life is.  And certainly the fact that she “doesn’t leave her bedroom” in the morning before she exercises is an important factor.  Staying active as we age certainly contributes to our ability to keep moving at all.

Dorothy5But that’s not what caught my attention.  What caught my attention was this 100-year-old woman’s sense of humor.  I dare you to watch this clip and not laugh at loud.  I came away thinking that this woman’s ability to laugh out loud is what keeps her life meaningful.   The kind of meaning that not only “keeps you alive” but makes you look forward to being alive – no matter what your age.

I mean, think about a day that you thoroughly enjoyed — a day that made you feel happy to be alive — A day that made you look forward tomorrow.  I’m going to bet that day was a day you laughed out loud.

I decided I wanted to find out a bit more about this lovely lady.  And I’m glad I did.  Turns out Dorothy also embraces the value of living outside your comfort zone.  A life of trying new things.  A life where you give yourself the gift of looking at life from a different perspective. For example, she celebrated her 102nd birthday by base jumping off a bridge in Idaho where she shared that one of her secrets to a long life was “action.”  But, from what I can see action with a smile on your face is perhaps her true secret.

Dorothy2The Leno video clip definitely introduced me to one happy 100 year old lady.  And, at the time I’m writing this, she’s one happy 102 year old lady. And I’m going to bet it is her sense of humor and appreciation of adventure that motivates her not only to exercise every morning, but look forward to every morning, because a life lived with joy, laughter, and new things is a life worth living.   Science tells us that being happy able contributes to living a longer life (35% longer) – but living longer doesn’t mean anything unless you can find something to smile about – better yet laugh out loud – every single day.

Support versus Judge

Maybe it's just me - but I think Dove's ladies appear sincerely happy and healthy without having to be "skinny."

Maybe it’s just me – but I think Dove’s ladies are absolutely lovely and appear sincerely happy, vibrant, and healthy.

Wow there is a whole lot of uckiness today on FB regarding body size.  Apparently someone got banned for “venting” about obesity in the United States.  From what I can see from posts I’ve read is that many people are upset about the idea that being obese is “unhealthy” with many citing that they are healthy although overweight – which is certainly possible.  Many people also feel that this particular blogger who got “banned” has a low opinion of people who are overweight.

I hope I don’t get banned but here goes:  As far as I’m concerned, the first and most important step to live a meaningful and healthy life is a healthy sense of self esteem – which we can and should nurture no matter what “size” we are.  My personal definition (based on a number of reliable and vetted resources) of “very” overweight is at least 30 or more pounds over the high end of of the recommended weight based on BMI that includes taking into account bone structure and muscle mass.  For example I have a male friend who, if they weighed what simple BMI recommended, they’d just be a bunch of bones.

However, it is a fact that if one is very overweight and not active and yet healthy now, there is a large body of scientific evidence that demonstrates this will not always be the case for many people.  Case in point, our country is experiencing a vast increase in the onset of Type 2 Diabetes (up 90% in the last 10 years, even an increase in children although it is called “adult onset” diabetes) which, while it can be managed, can certainly be responsible for deteriorating health (eye damage, kidney damage, heart disease, stoke.)

I surely hope people don’t feel that I am “judging” when I share posts on the subject of attaining and sustaining healthy (you don’t need to be “skinny”) weight and level of fitness (you don’t have to be a gym rat — walk briskly for 20-30 minutes most days and lift light weights a couple times a week)  I strongly believe that people make their own decisions and I certainly don’t stand in judgement of those decisions. But if reading my posts helps in any way to your living the life you want – well, that makes me feel pretty good 🙂

You CAN Eat Those Thanksgiving Leftovers and Lose Weight (Really!)

OK – so I spent the last three days eating a bit more than I normally would and eating foods I don’t normally eat (that much.)  Well, it’s the Sunday after Thanksgiving and, while we should give thanks everyday for the good in our lives, it is time to stop eating like it’s Thanksgiving.    I know that can be a little difficult when you’ve got all those leftovers in the fridge just waiting to be piled up on our plates.

A few suggestions:

dfjhsjakhfhakThis is a good time to practice portion control.  Break out those measuring cups and kitchen scales as they are the most accurate way to know how many calories you’re actually eating.  However, if measuring turns you off, or when you are eating out, you can simply use your own hand to measure your portions – here’s a great slide show “Hand Guide to Portion Control” from HeartHealthy.com that shows you exactly how it’s done.  You’ll also want to look up the calorie content on the usual Thanksgiving dinner suspects (here’s a great listing from caloriecount.com.)  There’s nothing wrong with eating Thanksgiving leftovers, just not in the quantities most of us partake in on Thanksgiving day (usually 2000-4500 calories – and that’s just dinner and dessert.)
fafdafafaJump online and search for lower calorie/healthy recipes for your leftovers.  A great place to start is a blog called “Cheap, Healthy, Good” where you can find this article:  “38 Cheap Healthy Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers.” 

I'm not associated with ziploc other than I've bought their containers :)

I’m not associated with ziploc other than I’ve bought their containers 🙂

A great way to use those leftovers is to take a few minutes and measure out “mini-meals” to take to work this week.  Just think – doing that would make every lunch time this upcoming week something to be thankful for!