Absolute Beginner”s Guide to a Lite and Healthy Lifestyle
By: Nicole Haywood
Make your mantra “move more”, says author Nicole Haywood in her book “Absolute Beginner”s Guide to a Lite and Healthy Lifestyle”.
Haywood, a registered dietician and Wellness Coordinator at the National Institute of Fitness, says that society has come up with inventions that have reduced physical movement. She invites readers to consider these “efficiency” innovations:
• riding lawn mowers
• escalators and elevators
• internet shopping
• electric mixers
• drive thru restaurants and banks
• automatic doors
Our culture, she laments, is one of inactivity.
Haywood”s book is divided into 13 chapters: the first 9 are devoted to nutrition and food basics, and the last 4 on fitness. Like most books that hone in on the issue of health and healthy living, Haywood”s work takes a balanced approach to wellness. She takes a long hard look at the theme of eating well, and then goes on to discuss fitness and exercise.
What Type of Eater are You?
Haywood points out that individuals have different reasons for eating – boredom, loneliness, cultural background, social situations – reasons that often have little or nothing to do with the body”s physiological need for nourishment. When a person begins to understand what eating means on a personal level, this can often be the first step in changing eating habits for the sake of good nutrition. Haywood identifies 4 eating patterns for readers to identify what category they belong to:
• restrained eater – restrained eaters demonstrate an extraordinary – sometimes obsessively — amount of “impulse control”. When they deviate from their definition of eating well, they exercise vigorously to shed off the excess calories. They can often agonize so much over what they have eaten or are about to eat, that they can miss out on social occasions, and rarely achieve peace of mind. Many dieters who religiously count calories fall into this category.
• chaotic eater – you can”t count on chaotic eaters to “break bread” with you at a table. Chaotic eaters frequently eat convenience foods because of the hectic lives they lead, juggling career, home life, and sometimes, community involvement. They are often at the extremes of either ravenous hunger or slothful fullness, and are strangely able to function for many hours during the day with just a cup of coffee and a large cookie from the vending machine – yet binge when they eat, in order to compensate for much-needed calories.
• emotional eater – food – and more food – are the emotional eaters’ way of coping with the negative aspects of life. Feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, excitement, and happiness trigger the need to find comfort in food, in the same way that some people react to life”s uncertainties by smoking or drinking alcohol.
• natural eater – eaters who are not preoccupied at all with the subject of food. Rarely would you hear natural eaters talk of calories, or the latest fad diet. They take a balanced approach to eating; they can eat sensibly, and can also enjoy junk food without feeling any guilt. Natural eaters have a knack for listening to their bodies and are usually “in the loop” when it comes to good nutrition.
In the exercise and fitness sections, Haywood doesn”t simply lecture about the need to exercise (“our bodies were meant to move” she pleads), but she explains how to achieve fitness. There are about 15 diagrams on how to perform certain stretching and flexibility exercises. These diagrams and their associated descriptions are presented in an uncomplicated fashion, with the beginner (and the unfit) very much in mind. At the end of the book, Haywood provides work charts that can be used to keep track of personal progress.
If there”s one thing that can be said about this book, it”s that there are valuable lessons that can be tapped into even by those who have developed a certain degree of sophistication about health issues, not only where it applies to nutrition, but also to fitness and exercise. It”s suitable for the layperson and the expert alike, and can be used as both a guide and a reference tool for years to come.
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