Monday, July 27, 2009



I subscribe to a daily email newsletter called The Science Daily ( There are a number of different themed newsletters available and I receive two of them: the health and science headlines. These newsletters provide one page summaries of research that has been published or will be published/presented at academic/scientific conferences. The stories are written in a reader friendly manner and also have links to other similar stories. The breadth of material covered is quite large and interesting.

In today's health newsletter, there were a number of interesting stories including one on cardiovascular disease. The information presented is not new to us, just an affirmation on what is known based on continued studies and research. In a nutshell, based on U.S. data from studies involving 80,000 female nurses and 20,900 male doctors, cardiovascular disease is preventable if you follow a healthy lifestyle. The studies identified a number of risk factors that they followed including exercise, alcohol intake, diet, smoking, etc. What is scary is that they stated the mortality rates after the onset of heart failure remains high, ranging from 20 to 50% despite improvements in medical and surgical management. So what I take home from this is that it is better to make changes before the heart attack happens versus afterwards. In a separate study done at McMaster University, 90% of first heart attacks were attributable to nine risk factors all related to lifestyle. What the McMaster study concluded was that it is never to too late to start making changes. The changes are no smoking, daily physical activity for 30 minutes and maintenance of normal BMI (body mass index) through exercise and appropriate caloric intake.

If we know what we need to do - consume drink and food in moderation, eat the right things, reduce stress in our lives and get our butts moving, how does one make changes? Will we only make changes based on fear and the what if? How do you stay motivated to make changes and stay the course? Motivation is an interesting concept. The diet and exercise industries are built on keeping people motivated or lack there of. I have a large collection of internet sites related to diets and some are great sites. I also have my own library collection of diet books. One fun site is called Three Fat Chicks ( I can spend hours browsing diet/lifestyle books at the bookstores searching for the holy grail of taking off these 10 or so pounds that I want to lose. Based on my successes and failures I have accepted the following: calories matter; if you eat more calories that what you burned (exercise and maintaining normal body functions) you will gain the unwanted pounds; tracking what you eat works - it keeps you honest; weigh yourself every few days; walk the dog at least three miles a day, more is better; lift weights; allow some treats on a weekly basis as this is a life long journey; treats should be your favorites (mine are ice cream and good chocolate), eat good food versus junk; a disasterous day doesn't mean you have the liberty of destroying the whole week in food choices, and be good to yourself. It is all about one day at a time to make those changes you want.
Until next time..................

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