Monday, February 19, 2018

Putnam: Common sense keeps you healthy

Jan. 27, 2018 at 11:31 p.m.

We have a book in our office that I have pulled out on several occasions to search for an answer regarding health. (Yes. I refer to a book with pages and paper.)

The book is "American Dietetic Association Complete Food & Nutrition Guide" by Roberta Larson Duyff. I think it's a good time to talk about what a person's healthy weight is, since January is almost over and we all need a boost on our New Year's Resolutions.

I really appreciate the paragraph on "What is a Healthy Weight?" The book explains that it is the weight that is best for you, not necessarily the lowest weight you think you can be. A healthy weight is a range that is statistically related to good health. Being above or below that range increases the risk of health problems or decreases the likelihood of good health. I have said before and I will say it again: Your health is really all you have in the end. I don't mean to sound depressing, but I can tell you that I do not want to be confined to a wheelchair because of overeating or eating foods that my body does not need.

The author describes a healthy weight as it being no secret, only common sense. A healthful lifestyle, with regular physical activity and an eating pattern chosen to meet your nutrient needs within your calorie limits, makes all the difference. Everyone has a personal calorie limit. Achieving and sustaining your healthy weight throughout life is healthier than trying to lose weight after gaining too much. Calorie balance matters! It is simple: Balance calories consumed with calories used for physical activity and many body processes.

You need to understand calorie basics. Calories are units of energy. Back in science class, you probably learned the technical definition: One calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. In the world of nutrition and health, the term calorie refers to energy in food and the energy the body uses. So basically, what you put in your mouth should have a purpose as to what you burn. Right? I remember years ago, a friend told me that he worked out in the morning and in the afternoon. I was wowed by the fact that he worked out twice a day. I asked: Why do you work out twice a day? Are you training for a run? He said, "No, I love chocolate and I eat a Snickers bar every day. In order to eat that Snickers, I have to work out in the afternoon to burn off the candy." He said that he had it planned as to how long he needed to work out to burn that one Snickers off and that his morning workout was for maintaining his health and body. I will never forget that, and that is why I just have to say no to a Snickers bar. Of course, I have other loves that I have to say no to and have to work on what I put in my mouth every day.

As for body mass index, this is a measure of body weight in relation to height, which is considered a reasonably reliable indicator of total body fat. That in turn suggests the risk of disease and death, I do not like the BMI chart because it suggests that I am at some risk for weight-related health problems. I know, it is a chart that is reliable, and I need to face reality, right? I think that each one of us needs to not only refer to the BMI chart but to also have a wellness check completed every year. You can also visit a personal trainer and have this person complete an overall physical assessment to help you understand your needs to maintain a healthy weight.

If you do not have time to read a book on your health, you can look information up on the internet or visit a physician or physical trainer. The "American Dietetic Association's Complete Food & Nutrition Guide" is a great book to keep in your home so that you can refer to areas of health when needed.

Be mindful of what your body needs, and eat to maintain your health. Remember, your health is all you really have.

- Tami Putnam is a Texas A&M AgriLife ex tension agent for Gregg County.



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