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Think About Diet and Exercise Differently

By: Craig Pepin Donat

Copyright (c) 2008 Craig Pepin Donat

Our society is in worse shape and health than ever before in the history of our modern civilization. Toxic exposure from chemicals all around us, a lack of proper nutrition, a society that promotes a "couch potato" way of life, and stress created by our work and daily life all contribute to our ill health. Add fad diets, weight loss supplements, and exercise equipment that just doesn't work into the mix, and you have the makings of a catastrophy.

The problem is exacerbated by an overwhelming amount of misinformation related to health and fitness. Millions of diets, gurus, books, and websites all claim to have the solutions, but we, as a society, just keep getting sicker and fatter.

Kim Lyons, trainer for NBC's Biggest Loser, weighs in with Symposium host Craig Pepin-Donat on negative attitudes toward nutrition and exercise and how people can break through those destructive thought patterns to create a healthier lifestyle.

"Destructive Attitudes toward Diet and Exercise"

"People's general attitude towards exercise and proper nutrition is so incredibly negative," she says. "When I do public speaking, I like to ask people right away, "What's the first thing that you think about when you hear the word diet.' Everyone responds with 'plain,' 'boring,' or 'hungry,' and you never hear 'fun' or 'feel good.'

"I tell people that when you start eating healthy, you should start focusing on the positive. Realize how good you feel after you eat healthy. You decide not to order French fries, but order the side salad instead and your friends say, 'What are you doing? Why are you ordering a salad? What, are you getting healthy?'

"Tell them, 'Yes, I'm eating healthy, and I feel so good. I dropped a pant size, and I feel so good about myself.'

"All of a sudden people are going to say, 'Oh, I want to do that, too.' It's contagious.

People think negatively about going to the gym. I'll say, 'Okay, now, let's talk about workout.' They think about sweat, misery, pain, and soreness with the gym, and they say they don't have time. There's something you can do in the tiny bit of space in your living room, and you can incorporate everything from cardio to resistance training.

"Resistance training is absolutely crucial. You have to do it, but you don't have to do it with metal, and you definitely don't have to do it in the gym. There are other equipment to use, such as resistance bands; you can even use your own body weight.

"You have to make it fun. Go back to your childhood when you played kickball, softball, and soccer. All that is working out; that's exercise. "Thinking Like a Fit Person" "Doing abs, doing push-ups; there are so many things you can do. I call it,

'Thinking like a fit person.'

What that means is there are no more escalators in your life; there are no more elevators in your life. Little things like having an ab ball to sit on at your desk or sitting next to your couch, so that when you are watching TV, you're going to be more prone to grab that thing. Even if you're just stretching out or sitting on it, you're improving your posture.

"I encourage people to have a jump rope on their coffee table. That's always incredibly entertaining, because it's pretty tough for somebody to look at a jump rope and not try it. Even if you put it on your desk at work, somebody will pick it up and start jump-roping. Little things like that all add up over time and help you burn calories and get you in shape.

It's a matter of just throwing out all those old habits and consciously finding a way to replace them with things that you like. Truthfully, it's easier said than done. It does take about three weeks for it to become a habit. It is funny when you start taking note of all the things that you do and then finding things to replace them. It's really not that tough. But, it does take time, and it does take effort."

Craig Pepin-Donat is uniquely qualified to speak on issues of health and fitness. With over a quarter century of experience, Craig led several high profile fitness organizations as president and as executive vice president for the world's largest fitness organization, 24 Hour Fitness. You can learn more about Craig Pepin-Donat at http://www.ThePeoplesGuidetoHealth.com or at http://www.FitAdvocate.com .

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