No matter how old I get, there are two things that never seem to change:Â in the fall, I want to buy school supplies and in the spring, I want to get in shape.Â I want to be swimsuit ready for the summer, even though I notice that each year that seems a little harder to achieve.
I always find it ironic that Girl Scout Cookies are sold in the same month that the Sportsâ€™ Illustrated Swimsuit issue arrives at the check-out line in the grocery store.Â However, when you think about it, these events are somewhat related.
First, you want to be able to enjoy life.Â You canâ€™t give up everything and Girl Scout Cookies come but once a year.Â However, just when I am ready to open another sleeve ofÂ Thin Mints, I am reminded that moderation, or more likely deprivation, is the way to the toned abs and sleek thighs of the swimsuit models.
I belong to a gym and go with some regularity, but it is this time of year that I want to kick my routine up a notch.Â I begin noticing the muscle-bound trainers and their students.Â Recently, I mustered enough courage to ask a trainer how much he charged and if he would be willing to train me.Â His response made me really question what I am willing to do.Â He asked, â€œWhat are your goals?â€Â My goal is to be in shape.Â But am I really willing to do what would be necessary to achieve that goal?Â And what does it mean to be in shape?Â Does that mean being able to walk a couple of blocks to our favorite restaurant or does it mean being able to run a marathon?
Do diets really work?Â Maybe for the short term,Â but nearly every article I readÂ stresses that fad diets just donâ€™t work over the long term.Â But after I have been on the treadmill for Â½ an hour and see that I have only burned 200 calories, I realize that exercise without some diet modification is probably not the answer either.
Dr. Dean Ornish, president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, has recently published a book called Spectrum.Â In it, he advises people to eat with awareness, noting that you get more pleasure and fewer calories when you really pay attention to what you are eating.Â He thinks exercise is an important part of staying healthy, as well as losing weight.
In a recent article in â€œAllure Magazineâ€œ, he contends that walking 20 or 30 minutes a day, not even all that fast, can reduce premature death rates by half.Â More intensive exercise makes you more fit, but really doesnâ€™tÂ add much to your longevity, according to Ornish.
So, maybe the key is to exercise, eat with awareness and use the money I would have spent on