This is encouragement, not a lecture on your health. Massachusetts ranks the second-lowest of our 50 states in obesity rates, only to Colorado. That number is 27.4%.
What does it mean to be considered obese, you may ask. You know it when you see it, you know it when you, are but technically speaking it is men with greater than 25% body fat and woman with more than 30%.
The numbers are quite similar in children from middle school age and up, meaning one out of four children are suffering from the many effects of obesity. Do not be the parent to have their tween son swimming with his T-shirt on. Do not be the parent to let your bad habits become theirs. Be a positive role model in how you take care of your body.
We can get better and see these trends reverse, but it will take some discipline and work to achieve. Just as it takes diligence and consistency to get good grades or do well in your occupation, staying fit is no different. If you are not fit but have the other things in life, you have prioritized your efforts elsewhere.
Perhaps previously you have given fitness and a healthier lifestyle a chance and did not have success. I can understand where this might be frustrating, but what was your approach, and did you seek help in your efforts? Are we successful at anything without some tutoring and lessons? How did you learn to cook, or fix things around the house? How did you make the varsity team? These are things you improved at and achieved through teaching, coaching, instructors or whatever you want to call them. Take the same approach to your fitness and seek guidance. Guidance brings about efficiency and efficiency bring about consistency. 1+1+1 = you are getting ripped this summer!
It is important to find the form of exercise you are most likely to stick with. What were you into last that improved your health? Swimming, running, sports, cycling, hikes, weights are all worth doing again or trying. Come on, let’s go, just make it happen. There is not a person in Westfield who lives further than 2 miles from a place designed to get you fitter. What does being fit look like to you? Use your imagination and be specific in your goals.
Diet pills, shots, surgeries, and diets that go far against your norms will never hold or satisfy you. Whatever level of success you have had outside of fitness took work, and so will this.
People can show off their wealth with cars and big houses, but showing off your health can be even more rewarding. We point out in positivity when we notice someone has lost weight and become fitter. A fitter body isn’t just the healthier one, it is the more attractive one. A healthy amount of shame is a good thing. Let it fuel you towards working yourself out of an unhealthy lifestyle.
We all have vices and I have never been the trainer to demand my clients quit all of theirs. A certain amount of enjoyment in indulgence is human nature. I push for my clients to tweak these habits of indulgence, so they aren’t as unhealthy. Odds are you are likely consuming way too much sugar or carbs, and too many of your daily calories when you need them the least. I never eat two pieces of bread — but will never say no to one. Load up your sandwiches with fats and proteins and limit the bread. The almost unnoticed at times cravings many people have for carbs will diminish quicker than you think.
If you drink wine, switch to vodka. Never have your indulgence in plain sight. Hide the ice cream, hide your drugs, hide your cigarettes from plain sight and you will consume less of them.
If you read this, then you are at least interested in improving. That’s step number one, so take the next step and take action. It is a lot easier to keep a healthy brain when you are fit. Exercise doesn’t take away your problems in the moment, but it certainly improves our mental health. Perhaps you drive a Beamer but your body is a Buick. I currently drive the Buick and know it will take work, consistency, and a little direction for me to get into the Beamer.
Let’s get to work and get fit, Westfield.
Dan Oleksak is a Westfield resident. Residents of Greater Westfield interested in writing a guest commentary in The Westfield News should contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.