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The Tortoise and the Hare

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Isnít it interesting how we can get frustrated when we donít see the results we want at the pace that we want to see them? We easily become discouraged. Even if weíre losing weight and making progress, watching the weight come off slowly can make us feel unmotivated.

We want it all fast and we want it all now. When we gain weight or if our health begins to deteriorate, it seems to happen rather quickly. The pounds rack up instantly. But going in the other direction as we try to get healthier, it takes a long time and we get discouraged if it happens too slowly for our taste. Itís important to remember it is alright if we reach our goals slowly. Like the old childrenís fable, ďThe Tortoise and the Hare,Ē slow and steady is best. The hare ran his race quickly wearing himself out along the way. The tortoise kept his slow and steady pace beating the hare across the finish line. Are you the tortoise or the hare?

Our life and health are just like those two little creatures. Although it can be appealing to want to be sleek and svelte like the hare, itís better for us in the long run to be more like that tortoise. Besides, losing weight quickly can cause serious health complications, including dehydration, gallstones, flabby skin, malnourishment, and loss of muscle tone. But moreover, most people who lose weight rapidly usually regain it Ė or a large part of it Ė within two years.

So, if you have been charting yourself, donít worry about slow results. The average person should safely lose about 2-4 pounds per week. But you may go some weeks and not lose anything at all. No matter what, stick to your plan, pay attention to your body, and donít focus too much on the number on your scale. As long as you have perseverance and you never give up, youíll ultimately have the results that you can be proud of.

1 - Photo courtesy of www.istockphoto.com

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TABBALOOSA 1/29/2009 6:49AM

    I'm definitely on the turtle track, but I'm loving it ! Thanks for your sage words, as always!

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TWICETHEMAN 1/27/2009 8:19PM

    turtle plus rabbit equal frog. i have to admit I am pushing myself harder then i need to in part because i am so sick of being obese, that i am working to lose it faster then some. i agree with you 1-2 % of total weight loss per week is probably the best middle road.

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LIVINHEALTHY9 1/27/2009 8:19PM

    Thanks for the blog, Will
I think we all feel that way at first. We want to get it off fast, even though we know we didn't gain it overnight.
The tortoise and hare story is a great way to put it into perspective.


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BEEHAPPY2 1/27/2009 5:07PM

    This story really is a perfect reminder for us Will. I chose the turtle for my ticker a long time ago and always tell my nieces that "slow and steady wins the race"! I liked the terrapin mascot at UMd when I was a grad student there too. It is so easy for us to get discouraged and start overeating again. Time to get back on track after the holidays. Thanks for retelling my favorite story and inspiring all of us! Bee :) emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEEANN8 1/27/2009 4:46PM

    Great info -- thanks for the reminder emoticon

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BRIAN649 1/27/2009 9:37AM

  Great blog Will. People need to realize health and fitness is a life long thing, and it takes a lifestyle change to keep those results. Keep things slow and steady and CONSISTENT, and you'll come out ahead.

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PAMELA984 1/27/2009 8:51AM

    Well said - we often think that it should drop off of us overnight - oh, and we don't want to cut calories or add exercise to do that either - lol!

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The Beauty of Health Insurance

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This past weekend (January 10th and 11th) in downtown Washington, DC, I participated in a health, fitness, and nutrition expo at the DC Convention Center. It is an annual event (in its 16th year this year) that is a one stop spot for everything you need or want on the topic, including screenings (blood pressure, glaucoma, diabetes, skin cancer, cholesterol, periodontal disease, etc.) along with general health information, exercise tips, and more healthy ways of cooking and living. Doctors, nurses, and other health and fitness practitioners were there to provide a free service to the public.

In talking with some of the people that attended, I learned the number of people who attend (some attend with their whole families) only participate because they do not have health insurance, and that weekend is the only time they get to obtain this kind of health information and screenings and tests. Some people have gone many years without insurance, and they rely on this free public service for these tests for themselves and for other members of their families. Funny how I have insurance through my employer and I complain about the money they take out of my paycheck every two weeks. I'm sure many of those I talked with this weekend would be glad to trade places with me.

Getting regular check- ups are a crucial component to maintaining a healthy life. The earlier a condition is diagnosed, the more likely it is you can fix it. Most conditions are either curable or treatable Ė if you address them early.

If you are one of those people fortunate enough to have health benefits, you owe it to yourselves and to the ones who love you to get your check-ups . . and the older you get, the more vigilant you need to be about your health ... and if you have family history of viruses and diseases (such as diabetes, cardio pulmonary disease, hypertension, cardio vascular disease, and cancer), you should be doubly vigilant.

Your health is just like time. Once itís gone, you can never get it back. Itís gone. . . poof! Just like a puff of smoke.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSYMUNDY 1/31/2009 11:37AM

    You are so right... This blog really highlights an issue I deal with on a regular basis... I am fortunate enough to have insurance, but I work with a client base that usually doesn't. One mom told me that she needs 16 different medications to deal with all of her ailments, but her son needs medicine for his emotional issues, so she goes without to make sure he gets what he needs. As a result she suffers physically and it breaks my heart to see this continue. All of the local resources we used to turn to in these situations are strapped financially because of Hurricane Ike and the ailing economy.

You've given me an idea - I'm going to work really hard over the next few months to organize a health fair on my campus and see what comes of it. If I can get some local doctors to give of their time and resources - what a difference we can make! Thanks for inspiring me!

Have an awesome weekend!

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2FLBIKERS 1/17/2009 7:27AM

    You are SOOOO right. I do have insurance (fortunately), but my better half does not. He's gambling, yet is "waiting until he turns 40" to worry about insurance.

A very physically active and very healthy friend of ours had a skateboarding accident over Christmas Break. Simply put, he fell off the board. Broke his arm in two places, dislocated his elbow... After surgery to remove all the bone fragments, they couldn't put it all back together. So, he had to have a screw put in. He's out of any form of physical activity (including work) for 3 months. First three bills came in - $35000, $4000, and $500. He has no insurance.

I push for my better half to get insurance, but I'm afraid it will take something like this for him to get it.

You just can't replace yourself when you break!!

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IACTA_ALEA_EST 1/15/2009 8:15PM

    too true! part of the game insurance companies play has the effect of preventing care, and making delays to access a strategy of bottom line profit. I had bad insurance for years. Resulted in not bothering. Glad to have good insurance again.

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TWICETHEMAN 1/15/2009 1:43PM

    I went several years without insurance, I was self employed and not doing it too successfully, insurance was not an option. The last 2 years my employer has provided me with insurance and I take advantage of it.

I have a friend my age who does not have insurance and like me he has high blood pressure, which he found out at a free health fair (his is much higher then mine was). I take meds for my BP, thankfully the were reduced at my last doctors visit, but he can't afford to see a doctor and get meds regularly.

Taking care of ourselves includes getting help when we need it and having the understanding of what our health issues are (that often means getting the advice of medical professionals).

I hope things change in the country soon, so everyone can feel able to go the doctor for advice and treatment. I am gratefully I can go see my doctor for $10 and only pay $55 a month for prescriptions now with my insurance card.

Comment edited on: 1/15/2009 1:47:10 PM

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DEEANN8 1/15/2009 1:08PM

    I am VERY thankful for my health insurance. I wish there were a good answer to be able to get everyone the medical care they need. Sometimes I think if so many people (patients and doctors) didn't abuse the systems/insurances - more could afford it.

Thanks for posting.

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LIVINHEALTHY9 1/14/2009 9:44PM

    That sounds like a good weekend to learn about health and related topics.

And I am guilty as well of complaining about how much out of pocket expenses we have to pay with insurance. I will think twice about that now. My family is lucky to have it.
There is always someone who has a greater burden to carry.

Thanks for reminding me.


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Starting Over

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

That's what many of us do every January. We start over. As the beginning of a new year unfolds, one thing many of us do is to develop renewed health and fitness goals. Here are my top three tips to add to your routine that I believe can exponentially contribute to your success. There is no need to go over the dos and doníts about watching calories and exercising. We know all of that. These three tips are extra tips on top of everything else you know you need to do :

Forget about the past
The worse thing you can do is think about how unsuccessful you have been. No matter what progress you may have made, you are the type of person to always focus on what you didnít do and the progress you wish you had made. Doing that will only keep you discouraged. Instead, donít dwell on the extra pounds you gained. Forget that you have been spending all of your free time on the couch or taking the elevator when you could have taken the stairs. Today is a new day and whatever you did yesterday doesnít matter now.

See yourself where you want to be
You have to see yourself where you are headed and not where you are. See yourself at the weight and size where you would like to be. Think of yourself as your desired image. Look past those extra pounds. Donít focus on the extra weight. Package up the image of yourself for the person you would like to become. Think of it in terms of a job interview. Before the interview, we fix ourselves up, making sure that our clothes are clean and pressed and our shoes are polished and our hair is just right. Doing this sets us up with the right attitude and mindset. Losing weight is the same way. We have to develop the right image and the proper vision.

Stick with it even when you donít see results
Lastly, donít give up. If you keep on doing what you know are the proper techniques and strategies, donít let the steady number on your scale deter you. Even though those numbers remain the same, your body is working hard on the inside for change. So, continue watching those calories and those fat grams; keep up with your exercise routine; pass on seconds at dinner; skip the cupcake the lunch social or the latte at Starbucks. Just because you don't see results doesn't mean that your body isn't changing.

You already know what it is you need to do. If youíre like most people, you have been working hard so far. Develop the right frame of mind and maintain your momentum. Whether you call it your New Yearís Resolutions or just renewed goals, you can achieve them with a little effort.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIVINHEALTHY9 1/13/2009 6:57PM

    Great blog as usual, Will.
Everyone can use these tips to start off the New Year right. I know they will be helpful for me.



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DEEANN8 1/13/2009 5:02PM

    Thanks again for such wonderful insights. I've been learning lately that it really does make a motivational difference to picture myself where I want to be - instead of where I am (or was).

And thanks for the comment on my blog. Guess I'm not the only one that can forget what I've eaten. I've had days where I've thought 'hmm... I haven't eaten all afternoon' -- then after more thought - remembered all the stuff I had eaten (much of which I probably shouldnt have - lol).

Thanks Will -- you have a great year!!! emoticon

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BEEHAPPY2 1/13/2009 12:59PM

    Thank you so much for the watermelon goodie and this great post :) Your blog today is exactly what I need to hear starting the new year. I refuse to continue being my own worst enemy. I will be proud of myself for the weight I have lost so far and get back on track in 2009! You Rock, Will!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PAMELA984 1/13/2009 9:31AM

    I needed those three points today - thanks

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Have You Had A Stroke?

Friday, January 02, 2009

While watching the New Years Eve celebration, I saw Dick Clark and was reminded of his stroke a few years ago. His speech was slurred, just as was the case for the past few shows, and you could easily see the impact of his stroke. I decided to do a little research on strokes and the possible causes. I thought I would write up a brief primer so others who could be at risk might learn what I learned.

According to the Medical Encyclopedia of NIH, a stroke is caused when blood flow to the brain is blocked, either when a blood vessel breaks open or is blocked by a blood clot. The most common cause is deposits of fat and cholesterol on the walls of arteries. Over time, these deposits accumulate and harden, making it difficult for blood to circulate.

Drug and alcohol abuse, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cigarette smoking are risk factors. Symptoms of a stroke range from the subtle to the overt. The most common include:

- Difficulty swallowing
- Slurred speech
- Headache
- Lethargy and change in alertness
- Nausea
- Numbness and weakness
- Vision changes

The only way for someone to know for sure they have had a stroke is by a doctor. Did you know that many people have strokes and they don't even realize it right away. Sometimes, they are very mild, though even the mild ones can cause major damage. Prompt medical attention following a stroke is crucial to help ensure the effects are not permanent or long lasting. If you are someone with any of the risk factors mentioned above, check out the following websites for more information or consult your physician.

Getting more exercise and eating a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat decreases your likelihood of having a stroke. So, since the new year has begun, now is a great time to make those lifestyle changes to live a more healthy life.



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEEANN8 1/3/2009 9:39PM


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JANETLEE09 1/3/2009 12:50PM

    Hey, thanks for the great blog...it was really informative and important for people to know, good job! My mom died of a stroke when she was only 35 (I was 10), she had had a minor stroke two weeks before the major one that took her life. She had a warning but did not heed to it....Since the close family history, I know it increases my risk.
Well, Happy New Year and best wishes to you on reaching your goals!
Janet Lee emoticon

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LIVINHEALTHY9 1/2/2009 10:37PM

    Thanks for sharing this important info, Will
I appreciate all the good information you post in your blogs.

Wishing you all the best in 2009!


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TWICETHEMAN 1/2/2009 10:32PM

    As someone with high BP this information is a great reminded and motivator to keep me on track, thanks!

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Sparkpeople New YOU Bootcamp!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sparkpeople New YOU Bootcamp.

To help you with achieving your goals, Sparkpeople has created the New YOU Bootcamp. It is a Spark team, which will only run from January 4 to January 31, 2009. There you can get support, motivation, and daily workouts and challenges to help give you a jump start toward yourgoal of getting in shape and improving your health. This will be particularly helpful for those who want to refocus their New Year's Resolution on health, fitness, and nutrition. As an added bonus, participants are eligible for weekly prize drawings, iPods, or cash.

If you are one of those people out there who need a little extra motivation, need some specific tips to help get you started, or in need of some diet and nutrition advice, this is the spot for you.

If you are interested and would like more information, read this article. Coach Nicole is heading this initiative up, and there is information in the article about how to join:


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TWICETHEMAN 12/30/2008 10:24AM

    sounds like a great idea, challenges are good ways to get restarted

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PAMELA984 12/30/2008 9:16AM

    I remember reading about this a couple of weeks ago - but I completely forgot about it - thanks for the reminder!

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HAPPY-DESTINY 12/30/2008 3:00AM

    Consider it marked as a favorite!

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LIVINHEALTHY9 12/29/2008 8:11PM

    Thanks for the heads up, Will.
I will check it out.

Happy New Year!


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DEEANN8 12/29/2008 4:41PM

    Hi Will, and thanks for stopping by my page with words of encouragement. Your encouragement and informative blogs are very much appreciated.
emoticon emoticon

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