The Library Fitness Plan!
edited: Friday, December 10, 2004
By E D Detetcheverrie
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, December 10, 2004
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And you thought books only helped your mind stay fit!
This is such an easy, simple, and affordable idea, I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone else touting it yet.
My health's been so-so over the years. My weight has fluctuated back and forth between 65 lbs., I've been strong, I've been pathetically weak.
I know as well as all the rest of you do that health and fitness do not come from a magic pill. Even surgery is a temporary fix if you are unable to correct your eating and exercising lifestyle. Maybe you've heard, "It takes years to put the weight on and years to take it back off." My research into nutrition and exercise seems to support this claim. It's better not to shock the body into sudden weight loss or an abrupt dietary shift. The human body tends to adjust favorably over time to gradual condition changes. I know you want to lose twenty-five pounds before your wedding, but if your love loves you as you are, and you're pretty likely to pack on even more weight than that in the years following the wedding, why bother?
First, choose a diet that makes sense to you. I began with Atkins. Everyone was going on Atkins at the time and singing its praises, and while no one I knew had lost enough weight on it for any dramatic results, they all knew someone else who had, so it was worth it! I grabbed a copy of the diet from the bookstore where I worked, tried it, lost twenty pounds the first month but felt like a huge, heavy greaseball the whole time I was on it. I abandoned it for something I thought might be better.
Body For Life was the next book I procured. It had been on our best-seller rack for quite some time, it was selling like carbohydrate-less hotcakes, and the exercise plan sounded good to me...even though I had no desire to end up looking like any of the bulky, beefy people pictured within. I wanted to be fit, not buff. I wanted to be a little on the athletic side, not training to compete for the title of Mr. Schwarzeneggar. I bought dumbbells and began working out regularly, trying to pay attention to the recommended dietary suggestions. In two months' time, I had gained an extra twenty pounds! People tried to encourage me with, "Well, you have to gain muscle before you can shrink fat--everybody knows that!" So, was I to believe that had I stuck it for another month, I'd have lost that twenty pounds, plus the extra I still wanted to lose anyway, and abruptly gone from Mr. Chubby Flabby Man to Mr. Muscles?
If you want fast, guaranteed royalties as a writer, write a diet book. At my store we received an average twelve new diet books a month and almost every one of them was guaranteed to fly off the shelves whether they actually worked or not.
I found one we'd stripped to send back to the publisher. It was called Neanderthin. I tried it. It works. For me, anyway.
Paleo dieting is based on the belief that our bodies were "designed" to consume and digest fresh, whole, raw foods--particularly the kinds of things that were in abundance thousands of years ago. Domestic animals are often heavy and lethargic. Animals in zoos, on farms, in our homes seem little like their wild counterparts. Diet may be the key factor in that. We feed domestic animals stuff that's mostly grain-based even if they're carnivores! All your dog and cat and lion chows are mainly rice and cornmeal deep-fried with a few bits of dried, ground animal protein and veggies in them. We all know hungry wolves and bobcats commonly ravage cornfields and rice paddies, right? Truthfully, no carnivore eats meat exclusively. We've seen cats and dogs eat grass on occasion. Most hunting animals go for the stomach of their prey to get the partially digested greens within. Herbivores of all kinds are known to nibble carrion or just flat out grab a little fresh meat now and then. Sheep kept on a small rocky island off of Scotland were found to be eating the heads and wings off hatchling sea birds to supplement their diets. Chickens and macaws are known to occasionally attack another of their kind and cannibalize it. What I'm saying is, we're trying to feed animals diets that are made up of almost nothing of what they would eat in the wild, and doing this to ourselves as well is causing us epidemic obesity and other health problems.
I personally don't eat much on a daily basis anyhow, but paleo diets allow you to eat just as much as you desire. I mainly consume lean meats, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, tea, water and juices. Occasionally I eat bread or pasta, milk or cheese or yogurt, or drink a soda. The longer I try and keep myself on a paleo diet, the less I find I crave or even enjoy those foods which are forbidden. It may interest you to know that Dr. Atkins based his diet plan on the sensible ideas and theories which come from paleo-based diets.
You've undoubtedly been hearing people say that the Food Pyramid stresses we eat 6 to 11 servings of bread or grain products a day for optimum health. If this worries you, let me ease your fears by alerting you to the fact that the particular food pyramid they're mentioning is one of many throughout the world and is based on what's believed to be the healthiest diet for white Americans. There's a Latino food pyramid, an Asian food pyramid, African food pyramids, Indian food pyramid, etc. Are you pure white American all the way back to Plymouth Rock and beyond? I'm not, so why should I follow their heavy carbohydrate-based diet?
All diet books recommend you check with your family physician before starting. I'll recommend it, too, though we all know that as soon as we discover a diet plan that appeals to us, we're likely to just attempt it anyway. So, have you chosen a diet plan for yourself yet? There are literally hundreds to choose from in bookstores or on the Internet. Do research, first, as I have. If after trying the diet, it seems to work for you, then it's time to try my Library Fitness Plan.
I exercise to maintain flexibility and strength as I age, to help circulate bood and oxygen throughout my entire system, just to try and stay in better health than the average guy my age, weight, and height. I try and grab at least an hour of exercise every other day. Mainly, I find it's easiest to do while watching TV since I'm generally not doing anything strenuous then anyway. The only special equipment I currently own is a small, lightweight mat I bought for a dollar at Goodwill. I also have a wheel with handles on it I picked up at a yard sale for fifty cents.
Here's the deal. Go to the library. Head for the health & fitness section. Grab the first book featuring exercises in it so long as you have all the equipment it recommends or can use makeshift things around your home. Don't get a Bowflex book if you have nothing comparable at home to exercise with. I prefer books that require easy things to acquire like floors, chairs, or pillows. Bring the book home. Read through all the pertinent before-you-begin stuff to determine if you'll really be able to do any of the stuff within. If you're set, start with the beginner's sections even if you believe your fitness level is higher. I'm able to keep my library books for three weeks, so I give myself a week per level--beginner, intermediate, and advanced. At an hour every other day, I may not master any of the exercises, but I'm sure trying hard, having fun learning new things, and usually feeling burn in places I wasn't aware I had muscles! When your book is due back, return it and grab the next one on the shelf. Even if you're familiar with the type of exercises within, grab the book. I own a book on yoga and two tai chi videos, but I'll gladly learn new techniques and moves from somebody else. I just completed my advanced Pilates a day ago, and I hurt like heck! I've lost a little more weight though, and recent photos of me look quite different from ones taken a year ago when I was trying to stick to just a paleo-diet alone. My face is leaner, my body slimmer, my clothes very loose on me--even my sandals had to be adjusted tighter 'cause I lost weight in my big, flat feet!
You'll find books on calisthenics, isolations, dance warm-ups, martial arts, endurance training, weight lifting, gymnastics and acrobatics, slow stretching, ab-focus, butt-focus, and so much more. Never push yourself if you feel pain during exercise or simply can't move as far as recommended. Just keep trying all the different recommendations, and keep learning new ways to keep yourself entertained as you work out. One of the main reasons people don't stick to their workouts is because after a while, all workouts become repetitious no matter what any author may claim in their workout book. Once you think you've hit all the exercise books in your library, start at the beginning and go through them all again. Begin with the Intermediate levels this time if you honestly feel you are ready for them. Keep varying your workout, and you'll notice so many more body benefits than you would sticking to one plan alone. It's free, it's easy, and your library may also have a video and DVD section with exercises, too!
Health and fitness should never be a chore to maintain. You can learn more about paleo dieting if you use PALEO DIET or RAW FOODS DIET as keywords on an Internet search. There are millions of fantastic recipes out there, and I won't tell if you cheat occasionally like I do!
The key to successful helath & fitness maintenance is making it a part of your daily life. That may sound like I'm asking a lot, but once you've adapted to it, you won't even really think about it anymore, and the benefits you reap will last you far into your golden years. Don't be an old geezer grumbling, "If I'd known better when I was younger, I woulda taken better care of myself." I've just told you better, so it's up to you to follow through with it.