Eating at Restaurants:
A New Way to Look at a Menu
I want you to imagine our ancestors, the cave men. We all know that
the ones who survived to procreate were the ones with tendencies and
characteristics that helped them overcome the obstacles of the day.
Starvation was one of the main obstacles. The cave man who tended to
walk right by a juicy root or ripe berry with no need to eat it did
not live long. The cave man who responded to visual stimuli (who was
motivated to eat whenever he saw food) lived longer and had more descendant.
Human beings have inherited the tendency to respond when we see food.
This drive comes from the most primitive part of our brain. Willpower
cannot win out over millions of years of biology. We can, however, use
our biology to help us eat healthy tasty foods in comfortable amounts.
Picture your cave man ancestor. Think about your inherited tendency
to be influenced by the sight of food. You can understand why most restaurant
menus now use photographs of delicious foods alongside the written description.
What can you do to increase the chance you will choose a meal that is
healthier for you? Look someplace where there are pictures of meals
that are more healthy. Look in your own head.
When you sit down at a restaurant
to select your food,
do not look at the menu.
Sit down, settle in, and think about what you want. From your own experience,
from your own appetites, select what you want. Picture chicken, fish,
vegetable lasagna, and more. Notice your reactions to each option and
think about it. What sounds good to you?
When you have found something
in your own head that you feel like ordering, now you are ready to
look in the menu.
You are not looking to see what the menu may suggest to you. You
are looking for a specific type of dish and where it may be located
menu. You know what you want. You just need to complete the hunt by
finding it on the menu. The "cave man" side of you is satisfied because
you hunted through your own list of foods (in your head) and chose what
appealed to you. The "modern man" side of you is satisfied because
you get to enjoy the convenience of hunting through the menu and finding
food that is good for you. What a treat to sit down, think of exactly
what you want, and have it delivered to your table!
Menu for Movement
When I sit down to make my selection from a restaurant menu, I feel
so pampered. I can choose anything I want. I don't have to think of
what's available. The list is right in front of me. All I have to do
is tune in to what I feel like eating, find it on the menu, and order
it. Wouldn't it be nice if more of life were that simple?
Wouldn't it be nice if adding movement and fitness were as easy as
ordering from a menu? It can be. You can design your own movement menu.
Even if you are sedentary, you have more items on your menu than you
of the most important items on the menu is the Stretch and Relax Workout.
This is any gentle stretching routine that feels good. You can stretch
out in bed, in a chair, and standing. You can use the stretches you
will find at the end of any workout video that you like. You may have
a favorite set of yoga stretches. You might just tune into your body
and move gently as you feel muscles stretch out. Start at the top and
work down, focusing on each area. The goal of this workout is to relax
both body and mind.
When you are tired, stretching can revitalize (and does not require
energy to do.) If your legs and feet hurt, stretching will encourage
circulation and make them feel better. If you have problems with your
back, your doctor has probably already given you stretches to do to
relieve back strain. Do them. Once you have some stretches that you
enjoy on your menu, you have a selection available when you want a break
from more strenuous exercise. There is almost no reason not to use your
Stretch and Relax workout. You can fulfill your commitment to daily
movement and rest at the same time.
If you can't walk, get a few videos that show you how to exercise in
a chair and on your bed. Start to work out the details necessary for
you to get to a pool once a week or so. Talk to a professional who can
help with fitness even though you have mobility problems. Remember,
the more you move, the more you will be able to move. Unfortunately,
the reverse is also true. The less you move, the less you will be able
to move. I have never had a client who could not find a way to add more
movement to his/her life. You can too.
If you can walk at all, you have a very powerful fitness tool available
to you. Even if you have been completely sedentary for years, walking
can get you moving again. The key is to start very, very easily and
increase slowly. You want to give your body time to get stronger. If
you weigh a lot, your weight provides a wonderful fitness tool. You
are doing aerobic weight training every time you walk. Tune in to how
you feel. Most people expect too much from their bodies at the start.
By gradually increasing your abilities, you will make the fastest progress
in the long run.
Now, think about your basement, attic, and closets. Do you have any
fitness equipment that you purchased in the past and don't use? If you
do, welcome to the human race! Some of that equipment may be useful
to you now. If it is comfortable, enjoyable and accessible you may want
to incorporate it into your movement menu. You may want to experiment
with the different items to see if you can use them at this time in
your life. Perhaps all you need to do to enjoy your reclining bicycle
is to put it in front of the TV instead of in the basement. If you like
cycling, but get bored on a stationary bike indoors, try riding outside
and enjoy the scenery. Try some problem-solving. Most of all listen
to your body. If a piece of equipment is uncomfortable, miserable to
do, or inaccessible, you may want to sell it or give it away. If you
try something and it does not work for you, you did not fail. It just
was not right for you.
Finding enjoyable fitness puts a smile on your face at any age What
about the activities in your daily life? I know when I mow my lawn I
get a steady hour-long aerobic workout. What about you? Vacuuming, raking,
and sweeping can be a great workout for the butt, thighs, back, and
upper body. Just remember to change sides regularly, and to step forward
putting weight on the forward leg (without bending your back forward,
which could cause back stress.) This is just like doing eight lunges
right and eight lunges left. Notice anytime you find yourself breathing
heavily during your daily activities. That means you have found an aerobic
activity. You can add that to your fitness menu. Do you like line dancing,
cycling, hiking, swimming, body surfing, etc.? If it causes you to breathe
heavily, it can improve your fitness.
Yes, anything (including sex)
that causes heavy breathing can improve your fitness.
This fitness menu is getting better all the time!
Many people find that having support and structure when they workout
is helpful. If this is true for you there are several ways you can accomplish
this. If you are lucky enough to have a size-accepting fitness facility
near you, participate in a class once or twice a week. If you cannot
find a fitness class at a facility that is respectful of your large
body, you can still set up a class for yourself. All you have to do
is get one or two friends who would like to join you. You can schedule
a regular workout time and use size-friendly workout videos for instruction.
Make sure to choose videos that focus getting fit, not on weight loss.
(You don't want to criticize your body while you are trying to take
care of yourself.) When you all chip in for the cost of the videos,
you will be able to afford several different workouts. This will be
less expensive than classes elsewhere, and you will have companionship
Whether you add movement to your life with friends or on your own,
your body will appreciate the effort. Your body functions better and
heals faster when you move. Only you can decide what items should be
on your fitness menu. It will take some problem-solving and experimentation
to find the right combination for you.
Now, how you use your movement menu is very important. When it is time
to work out, you can choose anything you want. You don't have to think
of what's available; the list is right in front of you. Tune in to how
you feel. What do you need? Do you want to be energized, relaxed, or
spent? Do you want to feel your power, your flexibility, or your endurance?
Just find the movement on
the menu that will meet your needs, and enjoy it. You deserve it!
Fill out this questionnaire to see Which
Workout for YOU, or CALL me! I will be glad to help.