healthy living: because you aren’t getting any younger!

my company has a voluntary health and wellness program. each year, you can get your vital stats taken and evaluated with a health care professional, AND you get $50 for doing it!

when is the last time you had a physical? how frequently do you exercise your body? how often do you drink? how are your sleep habits? are you a smoker? do you want to have children? as we approach our 30s these vital stats become so much more important. society may have changed; 30 may be the new 20, but our bodies have not evolved to accommodate the lifestyle. the damage we do today, will now have much greater consequence than it would have in our 20s. we heal slower, and gradually become more fragile.

the simple fact of the matter is, we cannot afford to play fast and loose with our bodies and our health. if we live long enough, one day, we will be old. the life expectancy of adults in developed countries has increased by at least 10 years due to modern medicine, however, quality of life has decreased. yes, people are living longer but they are sicker. prevention is the best thing we can do to stave off disease in old age. it has to become a habit. making conscious decisions about our health should be as much a part of the life plan as that next career move! don’t think you can do it? i did, and here’s (an abbreviated version of) how…

in 2004, i noticed that i would wake up feeling like i wanted to vomit every morning. i also had stomach problems throughout the day. my mother and father raised our family using holistic medicine (tiger claw, acupuncture, detoxes, etc.), so i began looking at my diet. what was i eating? i loved cereal, and i usually had a bowl before i went to bed. i switched to soy milk. within two weeks, i stopped waking up nauseous! in the past several years, i have made many changes in the way that i live. i have been a vegetarian my whole life, but i have become much more aware of the things i put into my body. from my lotions to hair products, foods to medicines, i began reading more about nutrition. the pesticides used in farming, hormones in livestock, carcinogens in beauty products…i vowed to go organic.

the first step was to was phase out dairy and eggs. i was never a fan of eggs as it was, the texture and smell always turned my stomach, so that one was easy. i switched to sea salt, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice. i stopped buying canned vegetables, i began studying the vitamins and properties of foods, buying whole grains, and reading labels. some books that helped me along the way: “choose your foods: like your life depends on them” by dr colleen huber, and “the detox miracle sourcebook” by robert morse.

i graduated high school weighing 117. when i started college, i ate a lot of breads and pastas, my papa johns pizza bill at the end of my freshman year was $200+. my late night eating habits, and carb heavy diet (without enough corresponding exercise to burn it) kept me between 130-135 throughout undergrad. i’m only 5’2″ so 10-15 pounds on someone my size makes a big difference 🙂 my father pinched my cheeks when i came home for christmas break and told me “you’ve got a little butter on you baby!” not funny.

after graduation, i didn’t do much differently, but i was living on my own, buying my own food, and without any effort, i’d dropped down to 125. at that time, i had stopped drinking carbonated beverages. i began to make additional changes to my diet in 2006: only natural sweeteners (i.e. no high fructose corn syrup!), buying fresh foods without preservatives: i now shop more frequently. i only buy what i need as it will go bad faster, and if i’m not going to use it before it does, i cut it up and freeze. and i only drink water and fresh fruit juices…and the occasional mixed drink (caution drinkers, most alcoholic beverages are high in carbs, they don’t call it a beer belly for nothing!).

i knew that if i was changing what i was putting into my body, i also needed to pay attention to what i was putting ON to my body. i got rid of my shampoos and conditioners, started buying all natural and organic versions, and i stopped using chemicals on my hair. i am currently looking for a quality makeup line to replace my old cosmetics, since i’ve stopped wearing makeup and changed my facewash (amande pomme apple from l’occitane), i don’t get breakouts anymore (i had been thinking about going to see a dermatologist). my moisturizers (almond-aloe from earth science and alba daily shade) are all natural with spf 15+, and i just started buying green cleaning products.

to complete “the trifecta,” i wanted to be more consistent about working out. moving to arizona really spurred my exercise regimen, i didn’t have to be indoors to work out! i joined a volleyball team, i can go hiking on weekends and i love to run outside. i made a commitment to myself to work out 3 days a week, no matter what. i bought a bike in 2005, and ride it anywhere in a 5 mile radius of my home, which includes to an from work every day. 2 months ago, i purchased a nike+ personal trainer to help track my running and it has made a difference in my motivation. i set time and distance goals, and challenge myself. today, i am ~118, ~21% body fat, and working toward my second half marathon, the nike marathon in san francisco! i love feeling good and being proud of my body, and the pool parties are always a source of motivation.

i challenge you to start by taking these small steps: get a physical, and some blood work. know your cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, and percent body fat. talk with your doctor about what those numbers mean, and about your lifestyle choices. identify those that may put you at risk for disease in old age, and then…change them.

my stats:

Your Current Medical Biometric Data Results Recommended Level
Blood Sugar (Glucose) 84 mg/dL Less than 100 mg/dL (fasting)
Less than 140 mg/dL (nonfasting)
Your total Cholesterol level 149 mg/dL Less than 200 mg/dL
Your LDL Cholesterol level 78 mg/dL LDL : Less than 100 mg/dL
Your HDL Cholesterol level 59 mg/dL HDL : Greater than 40 mg/dL
Triglycerides 60 mg/dL Less than 150 mg/dL (fasting)
Blood Pressure 108/58 Less than 120/80 mmHG
Height 5 feet 2 inch(es) N/A
Weight 118 lbs N/A
BMI – Body Mass Index 21.5801 Kg/meter squared BMI : 18.5-24.9
Body Fat %21.3 Men less than 25% Women less than 32%