If you've ever ridden in a car with a GPS satellite navigation system, you know how it works. Plug in your destination, and the system--using satellites to plot your current and final points--tells you exactly what to do and when to do it. If you miss a turn or head down the wrong street, the GPS doesn't berate you for the mistake. It doesn't tell you that you might as well drive off a cliff just because you missed First Avenue. Instead, it simply says: "At the next available moment, make an authorized U-turn." YOU-reka! The GPS recognizes the mistake and tries to help you correct it.
That's the kind of mentality we want you to have regarding your health. You are going to make wrong turns. You're going to turn left at the cookies, make a right at the blueberry pie, and occasionally merge onto the interstate at banana nut pancakes with a side order of sausage patties. Does that mean you should steer off the cliff and onto destructive behaviors? Of course not. You can make a YOU turn and get back on the right path.
Something else that's critical is having a buddy who can help be your personal GPS system. Buddies help each other make those YOU turns, get back on the right road, get healthy together and enjoy their passions longer.
In fact, we believe the most important fitness tips we can give anybody are to:
* Understand you get a do-over; it's not that hard and it doesn't take that long if you know what to do.
* Start with walking and a buddy.
* Learn how to make YOU turns.
Now let's get to one of your most frequently asked questions--and check next month's column for more questions and answers.
Q: I was on a diet last year and was doing great. But after a while, I felt like I deserved a break, so I overindulged. I've been too discouraged to start the diet again--especially if I'm just going to fail again.
A: How long can you hold your breath under water? Exactly. You see, most diets promise commonsense solutions to tight-pants problems: Eat less and you'll weigh less. Keep your mouth closed and you'll keep the pounds off. Sweat like a sauna-dwelling sumo wrestler and you'll wind up skinnier than a sheet of paper. Straightforward enough. But if it really worked that way, then most diets wouldn't fail. Or it could be that most diets have it all wrong.
We believe it's the latter. You know why? Because, with most diets, it's you versus food in a lifetime heavyweight fight. But in that scenario, the fight is always...