By: Alan Freishtat-Certified Personal Trainer
We were reminded yet again by a thorough and comprehensive study on bariatric surgeries that there is just no easy way around taking care of your health. The long term benefits of either bypass surgery or using sleeve gastrectomy has come into question. Although the short term benefits, particularly for diabetics, were clear, what happens down the road wasn’t as certain. And yes, weight regain seems to happen more often than first thought. There are just no real shortcuts to good health.
Let’s face it; keeping your health in check is always going to be work. It might be more difficult at the beginning to radically change habits and behaviors, but there is never a time when you can stop the work altogether. Unfortunately, we live in the generation of “easy” and “shortcuts”. We are always asking ourselves, “What is the easiest and fastest way to get things done?” “Isn’t there a pill for this”? There are no shortcuts or easy ways to good health. The good news is that all of the hard work pays off in a very big way.
The benefit of eating properly and exercising far outweighs the cost. The costs of being unhealthy affect us monetarily and they diminish our quality of life. In terms of money, obesity and sedentary lifestyle are conditions that are responsible for an enormous burden of chronic disease, impaired physical function and quality of life, at least 300,000 premature deaths, and at least $90 billion in direct health care costs annually in the United States alone. Couple all this with the rising premiums for solid, comprehensive health insurance and it becomes obvious that it pays to work out and be healthy. And as far as our quality of life, the adult diseases such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and high blood pressure can cause us to not have normal function and normal energy. In addition, all of the drugs associated with the adult diseases have pronounced side effects. Fatigue, lethargy, dizziness, nausea, muscle aches and pains, and impotence are but a few of them. Keeping all of this in mind can help you conquer the desires to be lazy and not do what is best for yourself—and lazy is not an option.
We must make a choice. So many people that I have worked with notice the difference in their lives and that is the greatest self motivation they have. They feel better and function better. Some see how their new blood tests show such vast improvements; they can’t believe they didn’t do this before. But some that have these great motivating factors still can slide backwards surprisingly easily. Vigilance is required. If you are losing weight, weigh yourself often, several times a week but at least once a week to see if you are slipping out of a healthy range. If you are trying to conquer diabetes and reduce or eliminate your diabetes medications or insulin, monitor your blood sugar levels. Have you blood pressure checked. And if you see that the scale is going up or you other readings are going high, that should set off alarm bells. GET BACK ON YOUR PROGRAM!
Learning how to eat right and making a well-rounded exercise program as part of your life is a big transition and takes a lot of effort. BUT, you will begin to enjoy your new and healthy lifestyle and you might even start enjoying your eating more and many find they never want to stop exercising because of the great feelings you have from doing it. It’s not just for the health and financial benefits, but the enjoyment aspect is pronounced for most.
Having been a Personal Fitness Trainer for almost 18 years, and director of the Lose It! weight loss center for the last 4 years, I have experienced the Nachas of watching people lose substantial weight, conquer medical issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and I have watched people truly change their lives for better in the areas of both physical and mental health. Of those people, many have made the changes permanent, others have held on to some of those changes, and there are also those who unfortunately backslide. What is the difference between someone who can hold on to all or most of their improvements, as opposed to those who can’t?
M was a woman in her 30’s who was obese and was beginning to have multiple medical issues. She came to us, did the program, lost more than 35 kilos, but then experienced an emotional upheaval in her life. Unfortunately, she couldn’t make her health the priority it needed to be and has, after all of the hard work and effort regained most of her weight and has stopped exercising. She could not make the proper cost-benefit analysis and has let it all slip away. But then there is Z, a woman over 45 years old who has lost 40 kilo in our program. She has never felt better in her adult life, she exercises every day for at least an hour, and sees a personal trainer 2 or 3 times a week and is no longer a diabetic. She is off insulin and all other drugs. She has never been happier and she is still determined to lose another 14-15 kilo. She has succeeded in changing her life.
Short term successes are difficult enough to achieve, but long term successes are the real challenge. It takes a constant awareness and it is always work and we can’t let our guard down. There is nothing wrong with taking off a few days of exercise when it is planned and you know when you are going back to your routine and you can build in a few treats and even some overeating into a food program, as long as you know how to get back on track. Planning is vital to long term compliance. Getting back on track when you go off is truly the secret to the long-term accomplishment.
Staying vigilant will help you achieve maintain your short-term and long-term successes and will “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”
Alan Freishtat is an A.C.E. CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER and a LIFESTYLE FITNESS COACH with over 17 years of professional experience. He is the co-director of the Jerusalem-based weight loss and stress reduction center Lose It! along with Linda Holtz M.Sc. and is available for private consultations, assessments and personalized workout programs. Alan also lectures and gives seminars and workshops. He can be reached at 02-651-8502 or 050-555-7175, or by email at [email protected] Check out the Lose It! web site – www.loseit.co.il US Line: 516-568-5027