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Don’t diet; modify instead

PaulaBy Paula Bowers-Sanchez

Hello Everyone! Let me start by saying thank you for all of your comments and feedback. I really appreciate your support.

We’ve all heard that diet and exercise are the keys to good health. But, what does that really mean? First, I don’t ever like to be on a diet because for me it sounds like I’m not going to be able to eat certain foods. So instead I tell myself, “We’re gonna modify the foods I do eat.”

For example, if I usually eat scrambled eggs, potatoes and bacon for breakfast…when I modify, maybe I’ll have scrambled egg whites, grits and one slice of bacon. Or I just won’t eat that kind of breakfast every day (save it for the weekend). The point is that making small changes can make a big difference.

Some people tell me that it sounds easy, but it’s not easy to do. Look at it this way: this is the body we have been given; it’s the only one we’re gonna get. We can’t trade it in for a newer model, so let’s be good to it. If you need help with suggestions, we have nutritionists on staff in the Health Department. There are a ton of magazines with articles on eating healthy, too. Just start by setting small, realistic goals. You will surprise yourself!

 Now, when it comes to exercise, I look at it this way: Our bodies were built for movement. Does it matter what kind of exercise you do? Yes, it does; it depends on your desired results. I will say this, if you want to make significant changes to your body, you must put in the effort. You have to get out of your comfort zone and get uncomfortable for a little while. It may take a little more effort for some of us because we all have different metabolisms.

When you’re in your 20s, it’s not as difficult to drop weight because your metabolism (the rate at which your body burns calories) is much higher. I’ve read articles that state our metabolism slows as we age.

But, there are other factors that contribute. For example, how often you eat plays a major role because your metabolism slows down to save energy the longer you go between meals. Water is also important because about 70 percent of all bodily functions occur in water, so it’s crucial that we all get more water into our bodies on a daily basis.

Muscle tissue is important, too, simply because the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn. So, it is important to incorporate resistance training into any exercise program. This can be with weights, bands or even your own body weight.

If you would like help with an exercise program, we have fitness centers located on each reservation with trainers ready to help. You can contact Suzanne Davis, Diabetes Educator, at the Hollywood Health Department at 954-962-2009. She has all the contact information for fitness centers and trainers.

Paula Bowers-Sanchez is a Seminole Tribal citizen, an accomplished actress (film, television, theater) and vocalist who is a lifelong fitness enthusiast.

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