Nearly two months into the new year and let me guess…your New Year’s resolution is already history.  You resolved to lose weight, get in shape, ride a unicorn and quit smoking.  Why?  Because it’s what we do after the holidays.  It’s as much a part of the festive season as Christmas tree ornaments and, like those ornaments, the resolutions get tucked away in a decorative box and stored in the closet until we dust them off next year. I know this because this is the time of year that the equipment in the gym becomes more available as the “resolutioners” begin to fade into the abyss.

These failed resolutions are all about change right?  There is something about ourselves that we dislike and changing that one thing puts us on a path to feeling better about who we are or how others perceive us.  Why piss around with it one fault, one vice or one imperfection at a time.  Why not create a whole new you?  Reinvent and re-brand yourself holistically?  The next three Man Up posts are dedicated to exploring You 2.0.

Think of yourself as a corporation.  Your physical stature is your corporate logo.  How you look, act, speak, and treat others influence the attitudes and perceptions that others have about your brand.  And like a corporation, the relative health of your organization has a direct impact on those who rely on you.  Your family, employer, charitable organizations, little league team that you coach etc. are all affected when your health is in serious decline.  With that in mind, we are going to challenge ourselves to redefine and reshape our brand and get our own personal corporations in the healthiest state possible.  We will consider health, fitness and style as we work to create You 2.0.

Healthier You

Losing weight and getting healthier usually tops most list of popular New Year’s resolutions so that is where we will begin.  Let’s face it.  Many men over 40 are ensconced in a lifestyle that neither promotes longevity or instills much self-confidence.  We drink too much, eat the wrong foods, have poor sleeping habits, and are engaged in stressful jobs; a recipe for major mid-life health issues.

The first step is to do some analysis to understand the current health of your company.  What’s your current weight, body mass index and blood chemistry and blood pressure?  These are all very important data points that you will need to know in order to establish some goals.  Schedule some blood work through your doctor’s office to know what your cholesterol, blood glucose, sodium etc. levels are.  Calculate your BMI (body mass index) to know your percentage of body fat.  Get your blood pressure read.  Just as a company’s key performance indicators can give an accurate picture of corporate health, these health indicators can deliver a picture of your relative state of being.  The top 5 killers of men are 1) heart disease, 2) stroke, 3) suicide, 4) prostate cancer and 5) lung cancer.  Knowing your blood chemistry, blood pressure and BMI gives you the data to protect against many of these.

Are you carrying a good amount of belly fat?  Know this – belly fat is the worst fat and not just because it eclipses your new shoes.  Deep belly fat churns out proteins and hormones that make all kinds of bad things worse including bad cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and triglycerides.  It’s time to stop feeding that beast!

What Are You Shoving in Your Pie Hole?

Take a week to track the number of calories that you consume in a day and measure that against what you should be consuming.  There are a number of apps and web site tools that can easily give you the calorie count for the foods that you consume if they are not listed on the packaging.  As middle aged men, our metabolism slows down as we become less active in life.  The average 35-55 year old man should consume somewhere between 2,300-3,000 in order to maintain a healthy weight depending on your level of activity.  You will obviously adjust those numbers down if you want to lose weight.  While you are tracking the calories that you consume, also track the number of calories that you burn.  Again, there are a number of apps and web sites that can help you do this.  Armed with this information, you will be in a better position to determine what will get you on the right path to controlling your blood chemistry and dropping a few pounds.

5 and 5

Here are 5 foods that you should incorporate into your diet to reduce certain health risks like diabetes and 5 foods that you probably don’t realize are pretty harmful if over consumed.  The good:
1) Beans – a unique food because their starch component is made up of mostly digestible starch and resistant starch.  Pass the gas!
2) Greens – almost non existent effects on blood glucose and packed with fiber.  Skip cooking them to death in pork fat and try sauteing in extra virgin olive oil.
3) Non-starchy vegies – mushrooms, garlic, eggplant, peppers etc.
4) Nuts and seeds – they have minimal glycemic effects and promote weight maintenance.  Eat in moderation and go for low or no sodium.
5) Berries – are rich in fiber and antioxidants.  They also have powerful anti-cancer and blood pressure reducing effects.
The bad:
1) Barbecued meats, processed meats and commercial red meat.  Red and processed meat consumption is now considered a convincing cause of colon cancer.
2) Full fat dairy products (cheese, butter, whole milk) and trans fats (margarine).  These are calorie-dense foods that are loaded with saturated fat and contribute significantly to weight gain.
3) Fried foods and baked goods.  Fried = no good.
4) Soft drinks and artificial sweeteners – produce dangerous spikes in blood sugar.  And did you know that sweetened foods perpetuate the desire for sweeter foods?  The safety of artificial sweeteners is being question in new studies.
5) Processed foods, white flour products, white rice, etc. can produce harmful nutritional deficits and cellular inflammation.  Skip the white bread and white rice for 100% whole wheat bread and brown or long grain rice.
This is just the beginning of your journey to assessing your current condition and making the necessary changes for a healthier you. A healthy balance sheet if we are continuing with the corporate analogy. And keep this tucked under your hat:  Skip fad diets and stick to the basics.  You want your weight loss to be gradual and natural.  Be patient.  Rome wasn’t built in a day neither will be your sexy new frame.  Learn portion control and measure (don’t eyeball) your serving size.  It’s about creating and maintaining healthier eating habits.
Part 2 of You 2.0 will focus on the logo redesign – a leaner meaner you.

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