Does father know best? When it comes to health and well-being many dads are so busy working and taking care of everyone else they neglect to look after themselves.
This is the time of the year when the man of the house is in the spotlight and gets applauded for all that he does. Whether it’s having a catch in the backyard or catching a fish from a boat, or playing a round of golf or playing around with the remote control, fathers will be celebrating their day in all sorts of ways.
One thing that I am certain of is that there isn’t a man I know that is planning to go to the doctor’s office on Father’s Day. As a matter of fact, most men would prefer not to go to the doctor’s office any day. Their schedules, family responsibilities, and other activities (like those mentioned above) take precedent over taking care of themselves.
Let’s take Alan, for example. Alan is in his 50’s, goes to work in the morning accompanied by a cup of coffee, adds a few more cups of java throughout the day (skipping breakfast and lunch), dips into the candy bowl on his secretary’s desk, and then finally gets home late and eats a big dinner followed by an array of snacks until his head hits the pillow. Do you know someone like Alan? Although he is actually fictitious, his lifestyle is very real and shared by many men I counsel.
Believe it or not, the majority of the leading causes of death and disease are directly associated with what we eat and drink. Take charge of your health by following some of the following tips that may help you cut your risks and lengthen your life:
- Beware of bottoms up. Just because you don’t chew it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have calories. Alcoholic beverages, could really add up, and when you drink, your defenses may be down, causing you to eat more that you planned. A single drink is considered to be a 12 ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 1/2 ounces of distilled spirits. That’s not very big.
- Portion the protein. Try not to choose a steak bigger than the size of your plate or taller than a deck of cards. Although steaks that look like they could have been served in the Flintstones household are commonplace in steakhouses, an average steak is 100 calories per ounce. If you do the math you’ll see that the 16 ounce steak you had last night encompassed all of your calories for the day.
- Slash the saturated fat and cholesterol. Choose low-fat or skim milk and milk products, lean meat, fish, poultry without skin, whole grains (especially oats), beans, and fruits and vegetables. Read labels to limit foods containing saturated fats and totally avoid trans fats and foods that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats.
- Ditch the salt and shake the spice. Controlling salt could mean controlling blood pressure. Kosher meats are already salted without adding any extra. An average pickle provide a whopping 1800 mgs of sodium and a bowl of soup could supply 1500 mgs. Skip the salt shaker and instead, enjoy the many health benefits various seasonings and spices.
- White isn’t right. Too many side dishes are the color white: (rolls, rice, mashed potatoes, whipped cream on ice cream, etc.) Go for the grain and choose baked sweet potato, whole wheat pasta, kasha, bulgur, and brown rice. Whole grains are delicious, filling and healthy for you, but watch portion sizes and be sure they are not prepared with too much oil, butter, or soft spreads.
- Be generous with (sharing) dessert. You don’t have to avoid dessert, but it’s better to get one dessert and share it with others at the table then to order your own and then finish that one plus the others at the table.
- Pick a bedtime snack, not smorgasbord. If you need (really need vs. want) a snack after dinner, think about what you’d like to eat ahead of time and prepare a snack for yourself. Put it on a plate or in a cup (don’t go from package to mouth) and don’t eat in front of the TV so that you can appreciate what you’re eating and make it count.
- Get physical. You don’t have to join a gym or buy a warm-up suit; just do something. Walk the dog, dance with your kids, or play tennis with a buddy. Do something you’ll enjoy and move your body on a regular basis.
And here’s a tip to take stock in: The best investment you’ll ever make to protect your family’s future is an investment in your own health. It’s a safer bet than gambling with your life.
Dads, what are your stay fit regimens and health routines? Please let me know with a comment or two.