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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wii Fit

On the road to better health, some of us are willing to take any detours, no matter how unappealing they really are. Most of the time, it is better to stick to the main highway. Anything that promises weight loss without exercise or sounds extreme (think colon cleanse) is just a play for your money.
Our bodies were not meant to be sedentary. We are not rocks or pieces of furniture that need not move to maintain our form. Exercise not only maintains a healthy weight but improves mental health and keeps your body functioning better over a longer life.
So how does the cardiologist's family exercise? Confession: The cardiologist is the biggest couch potato in the family. Yes, he resists exercise for exercise's sake so it's up to me to provide motivation.
One of the best ways to exercise is to pick an activity where you are having so much fun, the exercise is secondary. Our family recently discovered Wii Fit and have had a blast with it ever since. My husband & I grew up before video and computer games, Xboxes, etc. so we usually have no interest in playing them. Our daughter received a Wii system for Christmas and we were instantly converted.
Wii Fit is easy to use, has great graphics and can provide a really good workout. There are a variety of activities to choose from: strength training, aerobics, yoga and fun games such as ski jump or boxing. The Wii will also measure your BMI and set goals for you while providing plenty of positive feedback. The family has developed a competitive spirit and if one person starts the Wii program, someone else often joins in.
I have an 80 year old friend who got a Wii system and loves it. She has learned to connect to her nieces and nephews over the internet and plays with them. The only drawback with Wii is the price but if the whole family benefits, the cost is worth it.
If you are seriously overweight or in poor health, please consult a physician or a personal trainer before beginning a fitness program. Otherwise, get off the couch, get a Wii and start having fun.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Menu and Meal Planning

To eat better, someone in the family has to take charge of meals. I firmly believe that eating out frequently, especially at fast food restaurants, packs on the pounds. My family eats out an average of once a week and rarely do we eat fast food. Cooking at home gives you more control of the money you spend also.
Confession: I love to eat and I love to cook. Eating at restaurants is a huge treat for my family.
Now I realize that many people don't share my love of cooking but hopefully my tips will help make this chore easier. The burden of meals doesn't have to fall on one person. Even children can and should help. Family members can take turns shopping, cooking and cleaning up.
1. Cooking will be much more stressful unless you'ved planned a menu 3 or 4 days in advance and done the grocery shopping. Then when you do get home, everything is on hand and ready to go. I am amazed at people who head out the door at five saying, "I have no idea what we'll have for dinner." If you shop for food without a list and a menu plan, you will waste time and money because you will purchase impulse items and forget important ingredients. A list keeps me focused.
2. Sit down with weekly sales circulars, your recipes and make a list of what you will cook for three or four days. Keep in mind the family schedule, planning easy, quick meals for busy days. Then make your grocery list. This takes me about 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Get a 3 ring notebook with plastic sleeves to keep your favorite recipes in so they are easy to find. If meal ideas are really a struggle, work on collecting 30 days worth of simple recipes that you can rotate.

Quick and easy meal suggestion: Try Jimmy Dean's Breakfast Skillets with Ham. This costs between $4 to $6 and would make a great fast dinner. Add a fruit or green salad and your meal is ready in about 15 minutes. A serving has 270 calories, 4 grams of fat, with 1 gram saturated and 0 transfat.

Next time I will talk about Wii Fit!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hello and Welcome

Welcome to my blog. I am a cardiologist's wife and so many people ask how my husband and I stay "so skinny", that I decided to start a blog about our healthy living habits and tips. Though I have no medical background, I fully share my husband's concern about Americans' overall health, especially heart health.

I plan to share cooking and exercise tips, health information from doctors, and our deepest secrets (my husband has a BIG sweet tooth). Being a mother of two busy children, I understand the difficulties we face in trying to fit exercise, grocery shopping and cooking into a typical week.

I will post updates weekly and I hope you will find practical suggestions, money saving tips and helpful medical information that you can incorporate into your life. I will talk about diets (what works, what is a ripoff), healthy meals, and health products. I am not promoting a major overhaul of your lifestyle but sensible, easy, small steps to improve your health.

I hope you will check back. My next post will be about menus and meal planning. Have a healthy day!