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Resolve to drive less to lose some weight

January 19, 2013
Submitted by Carol Tomlinson - community health educator for HealthLink Littauer , The Leader Herald

For many people, the New Year brings new goals for positive changes in their lives. Weight loss through diet and exercise tops many lists. But too often these goals are too broad with many changes to be made at once. Resolutions don't have to be such daunting challenges. Remember the KISS analogy-Keep It Simple Seniors.

For example, if weight loss is your goal, making another vow - to drive less - can help. It is as simple as that, according to a new study by the University of Illinois. And for an added bonus, driving less can help the environment by reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Obesity isn't just a one dimensional issue. It is also societal. The good news is there are changes that we can make as individuals that will help not only ourselves, but can lead to more positive social changes. Driving less (replaced by more physical activity) even if it is only one mile less automobile travel each day, leads to a lot less fuel consumption. One environmental expert recently pointed out that "It's a positive step regardless of the motivation behind it."

According to Samantha Heller, clinical nutritionist at Derby Hospital in Connecticut, "If you're making healthy changes like driving less, whether it is to lose weight or because you want to go green and save fuel, your body doesn't care why you are doing it. You will still reap the benefits."

The average BMI, a measure of a person's body mass, has increased in the last two decades. Previous research at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that obesity in the USA has created a $42 billion rise in health care costs as well as created fuel consumption of at least 1 billion additional gallons of fuel.

If we each decide to drive one less mile a day and to eat 100 less calories, the effect on national obesity and fuel consumption levels would make significant improvement in our own as well as our society's health and well being, according to Sheldon Jacobson of the University of Illinois. And we are talking about saving billions of dollars.

If you are wondering at this point how you are going to make this doable, the experts have some simple solutions. One suggestion is simply to park further away from wherever you are going and walking more to get there instead of riding around parking lots waiting for the closest parking spots.

Additionally, if we also eat 100 calories less a day, which dieticians tell us is as simple as eating one less banana or a couple less small cookies, it will make us lose weight even faster. Small changes can add up fast.

Focusing on simple actions that cut a few daily calories and/or help you to exercise more than usual, will help you accomplish your goals without a lot of effort, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine. Good luck with your 2013 resolutions.

For more information, call your healthcare provider, Littauer's Outpatient Nutritional Counseling at 773-5413, or HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. People also can e-mail HealthLink Littauer at healthlink@nlh.org, visit its website at www.nlh.org, or visit its wellness center at 213 Harrison St. Ext. in Johnstown, on Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 
 

 

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