Absolute Beginner's Guide to a Lite and Healthy Lifestyle

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9780789733153: Absolute Beginner's Guide to a Lite and Healthy Lifestyle

Get off the scale and get to the bookstore! Absolute Beginner's Guide to a Lite and Healthy Lifestyle is your how-to-guide for a way-of-life makeover. Written by registered dietician Nicole Haywood and endorsed by the National Institute for Fitness and Sport, ABG to a Lite and Healthy Lifestyle ignores fad diets and focuses on helping you make the lifestyle changes necessary for successful weight management. The author won't suggest radical changes, either. Instead, she concentrates on showing you how to make daily modifications to your diet and activities to build the foundation for a greater lifestyle change. Get back to the basics and improve your overall health and fitness and achieve long-lasting results!

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About the Author:

Author Bio

Nicole Haywood is the Wellness Coordinator in the Center for Educational Services at the National Institute for Fitness and Sport (NIFS). Nicole is a registered dietitian and has a master's degree in Family and Consumer Sciences. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, and her graduate work at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. At NIFS, she specializes in behavior modification and developing healthy eating attitudes and patterns. Nicole coordinates several weight management programs and develops and presents wellness lectures on nutrition, fitness, and wellness topics for corporate and community groups. She occasionally appears on Indianapolis radio and television programs to disseminate current health news for central Indiana residents. Nicole also provides individual nutrition consultations related to making healthy food choices, wellness, fitness, healthy body weight, eating disorders, and managing chronic health conditions.


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Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

Introduction

To the Reader

You might be an absolute beginner with regard to nutrition and physical activity, or you might be a veteran of more weight loss programs than you care to count. Regardless of your experience, this book can help you make sense of the near constant stream of information you get about nutrition, exercise, and your health. Unfortunately, weight loss at any cost seems to be the driving force behind most, if not all, of the health messages we get today. Daily reports on the obesity "epidemic" and its health consequences are enough to make all of us—overweight, underweight, and everyone in between—question the status of our physical health. We are inundated with dire statistics about our expanding girths and increased incidence of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer; but these reports do little in the way of actually helping us change our behaviors.

So what's the problem? Why doesn't information do the job? Because today's health messages are based on avoidance, and they cannot address the intricacies of behavior change in the real world. In other words, we are taught that we need to quit eating junk food and start exercising, or we face a litany of diseases that, sooner or later, are bound to kill us or destroy our quality of life. We know that some foods have little or no nutritional value, but that doesn't change the fact that they are widely available, taste good, and have become stress management tools for many of us! We know that exercise is good for our bodies and minds, but too many demands and too little time make regular exercise difficult to accomplish.

Don't get me wrong—avoidance-based information is powerful if you've just suffered a heart attack, been diagnosed with diabetes or cancer, or been lectured by a health care professional about the dangers of your high blood pressure (or if any of the above has happened to a loved one). But if you are fortunate enough to survive, what happens when you are out of immediate danger? Few people are able to maintain motivation to eat well and be physically active when life settles down again. Based on the seriousness of your health issues, you might be able to hold on a little longer than average, but you and I know that ice cream and potato chips still taste as good as they always have.

So what's a health-conscious person to do? Throw caution to the wind? Disregard advice from health professionals? Forget about exercise altogether? Of course not. It's simply time for a fresh approach. Start by letting go of the notion of perfection when it comes to health and start thinking about the process. Focus on the immediate benefits (like sleeping better, having more energy, or improved interpersonal relationships) instead of dwelling on your risk for disease.

It's my hope that the information in this book differs from typical health information in these three ways:

  • It is provided in a positive manner.

  • It respects your readiness for lifestyle change.

  • It respects you as a person.

You are the only one who knows whether you are ready and able to change your habits. You are the only one who can integrate this information into your particular lifestyle. I will provide some guidance with regard to making these decisions, but you have the ultimate responsibility for making it happen. Naturally, then, feel free to pick and choose the changes that make the most sense for you and your current situation. It's impossible to do everything at once, so address your habits one step at a time and be patient with yourself.

One final request—instead of focusing on body weight as the sole or most important measure of success, redirect your efforts toward understanding the choices and habits that may influence body weight. Building a healthier lifestyle means reexamining your priorities, rearranging your schedule, and rethinking the way you approach nutrition and fitness. You have a lot of control over your choices, but relatively little control over the number on the scale. For these very reasons, I will forego presenting you with more doom and gloom when it comes to body weight and statistics. You've had enough of that already. I want to address the day-to-day issues, challenges, and potential solutions when it comes to making healthier choices and changing your lifestyle. The information is not new, but I hope you find it presented in a way that is personally meaningful and actionable in your quest for optimal health.

Cheers!


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