Provision #124: Don’t Snack. Stretch!

LifeTrek Provision

It should come as no surprise to learn that most Americans have a weight problem. All one has to do is look around on the streets or on the television. Modern conveniences and timesavers have resulted in people eating too much and exercising too little. It’s really that simple for the vast majority of people.

A quick and dirty way to determine if you have a weight problem is to use the following formulas: Men should weigh 106 pounds for the first 5 feet of height, plus 6 pounds for every inch thereafter, and should have a waist of less than 40 inches. Women should weigh 100 pounds for the first 5 feet of height, plus 5 pounds for every inch thereafter, and should have a waist of less than 35 inches.

A more accurate way to determine if you have a weight problem is to use the formula for something known as the Body Mass Index or BMI. To calculate your BMI, multiply your weight in pounds by 703, then divide the result by your height in inches squared (BMI = (W x 703)/H2 where W = Weight in pounds and H = Height in inches). A BMI of 19 to 24.9 is the recommended range. 25 to 29.9 and you’re overweight. 30 or higher and you’re obese. By this scale, 55% of all Americans are either overweight or obese • and the number is growing.

Rather than doing the math yourself, you may want to use one of the many BMI calculators on the Internet. A simple site for this is http://www.askdrbob.com/bmi.htm. A site with more health-related informational links is http://www.healthstatus.com/bmicalc.htm. The BMI is a good way to determine whether or not your weight is putting you at risk for increased health problems.

If your BMI is 25 or above you may wantider eating less and exercising more. Genetics and metabolism notwithstanding, there’s really no other way to reach your optimum weight and fitness level.

Unfortunately, many people fail to reach and sustain their optimum weight and fitness level. For a variety of reasons, we allow ourselves to live below our God-given capacity for healthy and happy living. Snacking is a common response for many people to the stresses and strains of life. Snacking calories add up faster than you might imagine. Those calories are usually high-fat and high-sugar calories that add up quickly and make for big problems.

Stretching is an effective alternative to snacking. It can be done by anyone, anywhere regardless of fitness level. There are stretches you can do while sitting at your desk, lying in bed, or standing in line. Stretching moves the blood away from your stomach, relieving hunger pangs and focusing attention on what your body really needs and wants in order to be healthy and happy.

Stretching is progressive. The more you stretch, the further you’ll be able to reach and the more you’ll experience the health benefits of a limber body. Don’t bounce or jerk when you stretch and don’t suffer pain. Simply reach to where you feel muscular resistance, then reach a little further and hold for about 35 seconds. Repeat after a break. Athletes will experience fewer injuries and better performance from a regular stretching routine. Sedentary people will be gently led to become less sedentary. Virtually everyone benefits from turning stretching into a twice-daily habit. A good book on stretching is the now 30-year-old book by Bob Anderson simply called Stretching.

The next time you feel an urge to snack, don’t snack • stretch! You’ll be surprised what a difference this simple act can make in your overall sense of well-being and your ability to reach and maintain your optimum weight.


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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

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