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Taking first step key to healthy life

The old adage, “you are what you eat” is something we’ve allheard from the time we were children. If that is true, there is oneman who will soon become a Twinkie.

A recent news story told of Mark Haub, a nutrition professor atKansas State University, who lost 27 pounds over the course of twomonths when he was on what has been called “The Twinkie Diet.” Hisgoal was to prove that it doesn’t matter what you eat, but how muchyou eat.

News reports also said his health stats improved. However, hesaid that protein shakes, vegetables and a daily multivitaminsupplemented his diet of junk food.

This news report to me was troubling, because it doesn’t addressthe long-term damage done by a diet consisting of processed foodsor the need for physical exercise.

It is well documented that overly fatty and processed foodscontribute to heart disease, adult diabetes, and many otherillnesses that plague older adults. A sedentary lifestyle onlyescalates the problem.

The human body is a marvelously designed creation. Our bodiesare wired to store fat during “feast” times in order to be betterprepared for periods of “famine.” This design worked fairlyharmoniously before our society became so developed that every dayis “feast” time.

Famines rarely occur in highly developed areas of the world, ifat all.

We are seeing obesity rates climbing in alarming numbers.Mississippi holds the unfortunate position of being the most obesestate in the country, according to a report released in June ofthis year by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the RobertWood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). While our state’s adult obesityrate is 33.1 percent; Lincoln County has it beaten by having anadult obesity rate at 33.9 percent.

The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. You can’tturn on the television, radio, or log on to Internet without havingsome type of diet product hawked – whether it is a miracle pill,diet drink, or new “no-fail” diet plan.

But the simple fact is that weight loss occurs when you burnmore calories than you take in. And the types of calories youingest do have a direct effect on your long-term health. Addingexercise for muscle, bone, and heart strength is crucial at anyage.

God gives us only one body while on this earth. We have a dutynot only to our families, but also to ourselves, to keep our bodiesas strong and healthy as possible. Being fit makes tasks easier -whether mental or physical. If you are in good health you canbetter face the daily challenges that life presents.

The fact about weight training and cardio is that any averageperson can lift light weights, walk on a treadmill, climb on astair climber, or run on an elliptical machine and feel thebenefits. Add to that a reasonable well-balanced diet, and you areon your way to improved health and longevity. No secrets, notricks, no magic pill.

Yes, Lincoln county has a weight problem. But we also have somevery good solutions for the problem right in our backyard. We haveaccess to three excellent fitness centers, numerous walking tracks,talented doctors and support groups – all very good resources forweight loss and fitness.

It just takes making that first step.

Lifestyles Editor Rachel Brumfield can be reached at The DAILYLEADER at 601-833-6961 ext 134, by e-mail atlifestyles@dailyleader.com or you can write to her at P.O. Box 551,Brookhaven MS 39602.