On the Sunday before Thanksgiving I was invited to an event sponsored by Nintendo and The American Heart Association. It was held at the swanky W Hotel in Hollywood with a delicious light breakfast set out along with about 15 Wii Fit stations around the room. Later there was lunch and a few speakers who discussed heart health and good nutrition. It was a sales pitch for good health and I can take that pitch any time, especially because you know I love me some Wii Fit!
The American Heart Association continues to work at educating people about good overall health and specifically heart health. And as I've known for some time now, there is no magic bullet, no pill to take to solve all your health problems. The secret is simply to take better steps to good health. The AHA calls it "Life's Simple 7."
1. Don't smoke. Duh. If you smoke, um, WHY? Anyone who smokes already knows the health risks. But have you done the math? How much money would you be saving if you didn't smoke? Let's do some simple figuring: 1 pack a day = 365 packs/year = 36 cartons (approx.). In California, cartons of smokes cost about $40. $40 x 36 = $1440. WOW!! That is a lot of money to suck down your lungs. And if you were a two pack a day-er? $40 x 72 = $2880.
Consider this - if you had taken that $2800 and invested in Netflix in January 2010 instead, you would now have $9200. I'm not kidding. Netflix was at $60 in Jan and is currently trading at $200. Or you could have bought 14 shares of Apple (at $195 in Jan) which is now trading at $316 and you would have doubled your money.
Your health is more important, but in these tough economic times, how can you afford to smoke?
2. Maintain a healthy weight. This is something I sometimes struggle with and I know it's challenging. Again, no magic bullet -- you have to just eat less to lose weight. A lot less food in your mouth = weight loss. That's it. Less food in the pie-hole!
3. Get Active. This is something else I've been working on. Exercising alone will not help you lose weight, so you might think, well why bother exercising? Because exercising keeps you fit - in your heart, your veins, and your brain. It improves your energy levels and your sex life. Plus I love it when I have worked out consistently and I can see defined muscles where before there was nothing. That feels great! And I've made that happen with the Wii Fit this year a lot. (No, I'm not being paid to say this, I loved using the Wii Fit way before I went to this event.)
4. Eat better. This will help with #2 and will make you feel better overall. I improved the kinds of foods I was eating over the last year (only whole grains, less meat, much more fruits and veggies) to lose weight. But BONUS! My cholesterol went down 20 points and I wasn't even trying for that!!
5. Control Cholesterol. All of the above will help you get to this one. Plus, how often do you get your cholesterol levels checked? You should do it yearly. And remember, high cholesterol is a combo of lifestyle and heredity so a very fit, lean person can still have dangerously high cholesterol levels. Get checked! (Mine is at 182 with excellent HDL and LDL levels.) (Yes, I do rule.)
6. Manage Blood Pressure. Many of you know me, I remain calm in just about any situation and I have the blood pressure levels to prove it. If you have high blood pressure, you can control it and lower it. Your loved ones will thank you.
7. Control Blood Sugar. This is something you have to check with your doctor. Honestly, I know mine is normal only because when I do the full blood panel screening annually, everything comes back normal. I should specifically check and know the number though. (Note to self.)
To me the amazing (and almost frustratingly simple) thing about better health is all about #s 2, 3 and 4. If those three things are high on your priority list and you are doing well with them, then #5, 6, and 7 will fall into line beautifully. I have more work to do on the weight loss, but I've lost almost 20 pounds this year and feel so much better overall and will be keeping it off!
Oh and for chrissakes don't smoke! Invest in Netflix instead.
Okay, I'm off to shake by booty on the Wii Fit. (The skateboarding and snowball fights are my favorites!)