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The Big Picture of Permanent Weight Loss

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Most people who read my articles and e-books know me as a science guy who likes to quote studies and apply research to everyday problems such as weight loss, bodybuilding, and other health/fitness related topics. However, sometimes you have to step back from the science and look at the big picture to help bring people back into focus, so they can see the forest for the trees, so to speak.

For most people reading this article, finding an effective diet that works most of the time must seem as complicated as nuclear physics. It’s not, but there are a bewildering number of choices for diets out there. High fat or no fat? High carbohydrate or no carbohydrate? Low protein or high protein? To make matters worse, there are a million variations and combinations to the above diet scenarios to add to the confusion. It seems endless and causes many people to throw up their hands in frustration and give up. In this article I will attempt to change all that.

There are some general guidelines, rules of thumb, and ways of viewing a diet program that will allow you to decide, once and for all, if it’s the right diet for you. You may not always like what I have to say, and you should be under no illusions this is another quick fix, “lose 100 lbs. in 20 days,” guide of some sort. However, if you are sick and tired of being confused, tired of taking the weight off only to put it back on, and tired of wondering how to take the first steps to deciding the right diet for you that will result in permanent weight loss, then this is the article that could change your life…

Does your diet pass “The Test”?

What is the number one reason diets fail long term; above all else? The number one reason is…drum roll…a lack of long term compliance. The numbers don’t lie; the vast majority of people who lose weight will regain it – and often exceed what they lost. You knew that already didn’t you?

Yet, what are you doing to avoid it? Here’s another reality check: virtually any diet you pick which follows the basic concept of “burning” more calories then you consume – the well accepted “calories in calories out” mantra – will cause you to lose weight. To some degree, they all work: Atkins-style, no carb diets, low fat high carb diets, all manner of fad diets – it simply does not matter in the short term.

If your goal is to lose some weight quickly, then pick one and follow it. I guarantee you will lose some weight. Studies generally find any of the commercial weight loss diets will get approximately the same amount of weight off after 6 months to a year. For example, a recent study found the Atkins’ Diet, Slim-Fast plan, Weight Watchers Pure Points program, and Rosemary Conley’s Eat Yourself Slim diet, were all equally effective. (1)

Other studies comparing other popular diets have come to essentially the same conclusions. For example, a study that compared the Atkins diet, the Ornish diet, Weight Watchers, and The Zone Diet, found them to be essentially the same in their ability to take weight off after one year. (2)

Recall what I said about the number one reason diets fail, which is a lack of compliance. The lead researcher of this recent study stated:

“Our trial found that adherence level rather than diet type was the primary predictor of weight loss”(3)

Translated, it’s not which diet they chose per se, but their ability to actually stick to a diet that predicted their weight loss success. I can just see the hands going up now, “but Will, some diets must be better than others, right?” Are some diets better then others? Absolutely. Some diets are healthier then others, some diets are better at preserving lean body mass, some diets are better at suppressing appetite – there are many differences between diets. However, while most of the popular diets will work for taking weight off, what is abundantly clear is that adhering to the diet is the most important aspect for keeping the weight off long term.

What is a diet?

A diet is a short term strategy to lose weight. Long term weight loss is the result of an alteration in lifestyle. We are concerned with life long weight management, not quick fix weight loss here. I don’t like the term diet, as it represents a short term attempt to lose weight vs. a change in lifestyle. Want to lose a bunch of weight quickly? Heck, I will give you the information on how to do that here and now for no charge.

For the next 90 to 120 days eat 12 scrambled egg whites, one whole grapefruit, and a gallon of water twice a a day. You will lose plenty of weight. Will it be healthy? Nope. Will the weight stay off once you are done with this diet and are then forced to go back to your “normal” way of eating? Not a chance. Will the weight you lose come from fat or will it be muscle, water, bone, and (hopefully!) some fat? The point being, there are many diets out there that are perfectly capable of getting weight off you, but when considering any eating plan designed to lose weight, you must ask yourself:

“Is this a way of eating I can follow long term?”

Which brings me to my test: I call it the “Can I eat that way for the rest of my life?” Test. I know, it does not exactly roll off your tongue, but it gets the point across.

The lesson here is: any nutritional plan you pick to lose weight must be part of a lifestyle change you will be able to follow – in one form or another – forever. That is, if it’s not a way of eating you can comply with indefinitely, even after you get to your target weight, then it’s worthless.

Thus, many fad diets you see out there are immediately eliminated, and you don’t have to worry about them. The question is not whether the diet is effective in the short term, but if the diet can be followed indefinitely as a lifelong way of eating. Going from “their” way of eating back to “your” way of eating after you reach your target weight is a recipe for disaster and the cause of the well established yo-yo dieting syndrome. Bottom line: there are no short cuts, there is no free lunch, and only a commitment to a lifestyle change is going to keep the fat off long term. I realize that’s not what most people want to hear, but it’s the truth, like it or not.

The statistics don’t lie: getting the weight off is not the hardest part, keeping the weight off is! If you take a close look at the many well known fad/commercial diets out there, and you are honest with yourself, and apply my test above, you will find most of them no longer appeal to you as they once did. It also brings me to an example that adds additional clarity: If you have diet A that will cause the most weight loss in the shortest amount of time but is unbalanced and essentially impossible to follow long term vs. diet B, which will take the weight off at a slower pace, but is easier to follow, balanced, healthy, and something you can comply with year after year, which is superior? If diet A gets 30 lbs off you in 30 days, but by next year you have gained back all 30 lbs, but diet B gets 20 lbs off you in the next 3 months with another 20 lbs 3 months after that and the weight stays off by the end of that year, which is the better diet?

If you don’t know the answer to those questions, you have totally missed the point of this article and the lesson it’s trying to teach you, and are set up for failure. Go back and read this section again…By default, diet B is superior.

Teach a man to Fish…

A well known Chinese Proverb is – Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

This expression fits perfectly with the next essential step in how to decide what eating plan you should follow to lose weight permanently. Will the diet plan you are considering teach you how to eat long term, or does it spoon-feed you information? Will the diet rely on special bars, shakes, supplements or pre-made foods they supply?

Let’s do another diet A vs. diet B comparison. Diet A is going to supply you with their foods, as well as their special drink or bars to eat, and tell you exactly when to eat them. You will lose – say – 30 lbs in two months. Diet B is going to attempt to help you learn which foods you should eat, how many calories you need to eat, why you need to eat them, and generally attempt to help teach you how to eat as part of a total lifestyle change that will allow you to make informed decisions about your nutrition. Diet B causes a slow steady weight loss of 8 -10 lbs per month for the next 6 months and the weight stays off because you now know how to eat properly.

Recall the Chinese proverb. Both diets will assist you to lose weight. Only one diet, however, will teach you how to be self-reliant after your experience is over. Diet A is easier, to be sure, and causes faster weight loss than diet B, and diet B takes longer and requires some thinking and learning on your part. However, when diet A is over, you are right back where you started and have been given no skills to fish. Diet companies don’t make their profits by teaching you to fish, they make their money by handing you a fish so you must rely on them indefinitely or come back to them after you gain all the weight back.

Thus, diet B is superior for allowing you to succeed where other diets failed, with knowledge gained that you can apply long term. Diet programs that attempt to spoon feed you a diet without any attempt to teach you how to eat without their help and/or rely on their shakes, bars, cookies, or pre-made foods, is another diet you can eliminate from your list of choices.

Diet plans that offer weight loss by drinking their product for several meals followed by a “sensible dinner;” diets that allow you to eat their special cookies for most meals along with their pre-planned menu; or diets that attempt to have you eating their bars, drink, or pre-made meals, are of the diet A variety covered above. They’re easy to follow but destined for failure, long term. They all fail the “Can I eat that way for the rest of my life?” test, unless you really think you can eat cookies and shakes for the rest of your life…Bottom line here is, if the nutritional approach you use to lose weight, be it from a book, a class, a clinic, or an e-book, does not teach you how to eat, it’s a loser for long term weight loss and it should be avoided.

The missing link for long term weight loss

We now make our way to another test to help you choose a nutrition program for long term weight loss, and it does not actually involve nutrition. The missing link for long term weight loss is exercise. Exercise is the essential component of long term weight loss. Many diet programs do not contain an exercise component, which means they are losers for long term weight loss from the very start. Any program that has its focus on weight loss but does not include a comprehensive exercise plan is like buying a car without tires, or a plane without wings. People who have successfully kept the weight off overwhelmingly have incorporated exercise into their lives, and the studies that look at people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off invariably find these people were consistent with their diet and exercise plans. (4)

I am not going to list all the benefits of regular exercise here, but regular exercise has positive effects on your metabolism, allows you to eat more calories yet still be in a calorie deficit, and can help preserve lean body mass (LBM) which is essential to your health and metabolism. The many health benefits of regular exercise are well known, so I won’t bother adding them here. The bottom line here is, (a) if you have any intentions of getting the most from your goal of losing weight and (b) plan to keep it off long term, regular exercise must be an integral part of the weight loss strategy. So, you can eliminate any program, be it book, e-book, clinic, etc. that does not offer you direction and help with this essential part of long term weight loss.

Side Bar: A quick note on exercise:

Any exercise is better than no exercise. However, like diet plans, not all exercise is created equal, and many people often choose the wrong form of exercise to maximize their efforts to lose weight. For example, they will do aerobics exclusively and ignore resistance training. Resistance training is an essential component of fat loss, as it builds muscle essential to your metabolism, increases 24 hour energy expenditure, and has health benefits beyond aerobics.

The reader will also note I said fat loss above not weight loss. Though I use the term ‘weight loss’ throughout this article, I do so only because it is a familiar term most people understand. However, the true focus and goal of a properly set up nutrition and exercise plan should be on fat loss, not weight loss. A focus on losing weight, which may include a loss essential muscle, water, and even bone, as well as fat, is the wrong approach. Losing the fat and keeping the all important lean body mass (LBM), is the goal, and the method for achieving that can be found in my ebook(s) on the topic, and is beyond the scope of this article. Bottom line: the type of exercise, intensity of that exercise, length of time doing that exercise, etc., are essential variables here when attempting to lose FAT while retaining (LBM).

Psychology 101 of long term weight loss

Many diet programs out there don’t address the psychological aspect of why people fail to be successful with long term weight loss. However, quite a few studies exist that have looked at just that. In many respects, the psychological aspect is the most important for long term weight loss, and probably the most underappreciated component.

Studies that compare the psychological characteristics of people who have successfully kept the weight off to people who have regained the weight, see clear differences between these two groups. For example, one study that looked at 28 obese women who had lost weight but regained the weight that they had lost, compared to 28 formerly obese women who had lost weight and maintained their weight for at least one year and 20 women with a stable weight in the healthy range, found the women who regained the weight:

o Had a tendency to evaluate self-worth in terms of weight and shape

o Had a lack of vigilance with regard to weight control

o had a dichotomous (black-and-white) thinking style

o Had the tendency to use eating to regulate mood.

The researchers concluded:

“The results suggest that psychological factors may provide some explanation as to why many people with obesity regain weight following successful weight loss.”

This particular study was done on women, so it reflects some of the specific psychological issues women have – but make no mistake here – men also have their own psychological issues that can sabotage their long term weight loss efforts. (6)

Additional studies on men and women find psychological characteristics such as “having unrealistic weight goals, poor coping or problem-solving skills and low self-efficacy” often predict failure with long term weight loss. (7) On the other hand, psychological traits common to people who experienced successful long term weight loss include “…an internal motivation to lose weight, social support, better coping strategies and ability to handle life stress, self-efficacy, autonomy, assuming responsibility in life, and overall more psychological strength and stability.” (8)

The main point of this section is to illustrate that psychology plays a major role in determining if people are successful with long term weight loss. If it’s not addressed as part of the overall plan, it can be the factor that makes or breaks your success. This, however, is not an area most nutrition programs can adequately tackle and should not be expected to. However, the better programs do generally attempt to help with motivation, goal setting, and support. If you see yourself in the above lists from the groups that failed to maintain their weight long term, then know you will need to address those issues via counseling, support groups, etc. Don’t expect any weight loss program to cover this topic adequately but do look for programs that attempt to offer support, goal setting, and resources that will keep you on track.

“There’s a sucker born every minute”

So why don’t you see this type of honest information about the realities of long term weight loss more often? Let’s be honest here, telling the truth is not the best way to sell bars, shakes, books, supplements, and programs. Hell, if by some miracle everyone who read this article actually followed it, and sent it on to millions of other people who actually followed it, makers of said products could be in financial trouble quickly. However, they also know – as the man said – “there’s a sucker born every minute,” so I doubt they will be kept up at night worrying about the effects that I, or this article, will have on their business.

So let’s recap what has been learned here: the big picture realities of permanent weight loss and how you can look at a weight loss program and decide for yourself if it’s for you based on what has been covered above:

o Permanent weight loss is not about finding a quick fix diet, but making a commitment to life style changes that include nutrition and exercise

o Any weight loss program you choose must pass the “Can I eat that way for the rest of my life?” test,

o The weight loss program you choose should ultimately teach you how to eat and be self reliant so you can make informed long term choices about your nutrition.

o The weight loss program you choose should not leave you reliant on commercial bars, shakes, supplements, or pre-made foods, for your long term success.

o The weight loss program you choose must have an effective exercise component.

o The weight loss program you choose should attempt to help with motivation, goal setting, and support, but can’t be a replacement for psychological counseling if needed.

Conclusion

I want to take this final section to add some additional points and clarity. For starters, the above advice is not for everyone. It’s not intended for those who really have their nutrition dialed in, such as competitive bodybuilders and other athletes who benefit from fairly dramatic changes in their nutrition, such as ‘off season’ and ‘pre-contest’ and so on.

The article is also not intended for those with medical issues who may be on a specific diet to treat or manage a specific medical condition. The article is intended for the average person who wants to get off the Yo-Yo diet merry-go-round once and for all. As that’s probably 99% of the population, it will cover millions of people.

People should also not be scared off by my “you have to eat this way forever” advice. This does not mean you will be dieting for the rest of your life and have nothing but starvation to look forward to. What it does mean, however, is you will have to learn to eat properly even after you reach your target weight and that way of eating should not be a huge departure from how you ate to lose the weight in the first place. Once you get to your target weight – and or your target bodyfat levels – you will go onto a maintenance phase which generally has more calories and choices of food, even the occasional treat, like a slice of pizza or whatever.

Maintenance diets are a logical extension of the diet you used to lose the weight, but they are not based on the diet you followed that put the weight on in the first place!

Regardless of which program you choose, use the above ‘big picture’ approach which will keep you on track for long term weight loss. See you in the gym!

References

(1) Truby H, et al. Randomised controlled trial of four commercial weight loss programmes in the UK: initial findings from the BBC “diet trials” BMJ 2006;332:1309-1314 (3 June),

(2) Michael D., et al, Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets for Weight Loss and Heart Disease Risk Reduction. A Randomized Trial. JAMA. 2005;293:43-53.

(3) Comparison of Diets for Weight Loss and Heart Disease Risk Reduction-Reply. Michael Dansinger. JAMA. 2005;293:1590-1591.

(4) Kruger J. et al. Dietary and physical activity behaviors among adults successful at weight loss maintenance. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2006, 3:17 doi:10.1186/1479-5868-3-17

(5) Byrne S, et al. Weight maintenance and relapse in obesity: a qualitative study. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Aug;27(8):955-62.

(6) Borg P, et al. Food selection and eating behaviour during weight maintenance intervention and 2-y follow-up in obese men.Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Dec;28(12):1548-54.

(7) Byrne SM. Psychological aspects of weight maintenance and relapse in obesity. J Psychosom Res. 2002 Nov;53(5):1029-36.

(8) Elfhag K, et al. Who succeeds in maintaining weight loss? A conceptual review of factors associated with weight loss maintenance and weight regain. Obes Rev. 2005 Feb;6(1):67-85

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Beauty

An Interview With Grant Donovan on Varied Matters Relating to Wellness, REAL and Otherwise

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I recently asked Dr. Grant Donovan, one of the earliest promoters of corporate wellness and health promotion, questions about the early years. Here are over a dozen of the questions I put to Dr. Donovan:

1) In what ways was Australia unlike the U.S. for purposes of trying to establish a wellness movement?

2) If you had remained in the wellness business, how might you have expanded upon the wonderful concepts advanced in the early years (mid-80’s and 90’s) when you led Australian conferences, training sessions, wrote books, gave media interviews and engaged in all manner of promotional efforts?

3) Based on your memories of those not-quite-prosperous, golden or halcyon years, how would you describe the key terms of the movement or, if you prefer, the very nature, of a wellness lifestyle, REAL or otherwise as it is or should be today?

4) How much energy did you put into creating a wellness movement in Australia?

5) If you had remained in the wellness business, how might you have expanded upon the wonderful concepts advanced in the early years (mid-80’s and 90’s) when you led Australian conferences, training sessions, wrote books, gave media interviews and engaged in all manner of worksite promotions?

6) Based on your memories of those not-quite-prosperous, golden or halcyon years, how would you describe the key terms of the movement or, if you prefer, the very nature, of a wellness lifestyle, REAL or otherwise?

7) Was there any way the effort could have succeeded (by which I mean “proved profitable” and thus worth continuing)?

8) It seems that corporate and other forms of institutional wellness education has been led by medical doctors, nurses, health administrators, HRA types and maybe a few psychologists? Is there a profession not represented that should have been?

9) Is it possible that a REAL wellness focus, if it comes about, will have more success than the safe, medically based approach that continues to this day?

10) What are best and worst case scenarios for the wellness concept and movement, by any name, ten years or so down the road?

11) Do you believe most people have the capacity to shape and sustain healthy lifestyles?

12) You attended several National Wellness Conferences in the 80’s and 90’s. What is your take on this annual event?

13) Today and since the beginning in the 80’s, worksite wellness has been focused on disease prevention, risk reduction, exercise promotion, stress management, nutritional basics and the like? Is that what you were promoting under the wellness banner?

14) What are the prospects for worksite wellness?

15) When asked, “Grant, tell me please: What’s it all about,” what do you say?

16) What advice do you have for those with little time left, which I suppose is all of us?

I invited Grant to pick and choose as many or as few of these questions to address as he wished. Grant pondered and pondered and pondered. Weeks went by. Reports of pondering going on came in, week after week. Finally, about a month after sending the questions, Grant sent this commentary. In my opinion, his response addresses all the questions and a few that did not occur to me-and maybe one or two I was afraid to ask. Enjoy.

Grant Donovan’s Response

I have been looking at both sets of questions and decided to ignore them all and give you one short answer. Okay, not so much an answer as a wandering series of self-assembling thoughts.

The eighties version of Australian workplace wellness morphed into high performance through self-management. Much more catchy for the bosses. Something they understood and wanted to pay for. Wellness was too esoteric. They wanted hard performance improvements, more dollars and less new age philosophy. They would pay small fortunes for critical thinking, self-management, teamwork, empowering leadership and a range of other wellness skills but little or nothing for programs called wellness.

So we moved on, made a smaller fortune out of real wellness and never used the term once. It was all in the language. The memes.

Which makes me think that wellness lacks a precise meme. When Halbert Dunn and your good self, respectively, coined and popularized the word, it mutated very quickly to become a generic term attached to everything from hand holding and swaying to disease avoidance to alternative medicine to spiritual enlightenment to whatever definition anyone wanted to apply. The genie was out of the bottle very early and it doesn’t appear to be going back any time soon.

Your personal efforts to reset the meme with REAL Wellness is heroic and may succeed but I have my doubts. Not because your efforts won’t be Herculean but because REAL Wellness may only be for the special few. For people like you and a few friends who have the time, money and inclination to dabble. My global observation suggests the rest still need God. Someone to lean on as they slave away at just staying alive. Working hard to exist, without time to contemplate the bigger questions. And this is probably a good thing because if they all stopped to recognize the complete meaninglessness of their lives, nobody would turn up.

By meaningless, I don’t mean life is not valuable or worth living because it clearly is for many people. I personally find it fun, challenging and quirky. By meaningless, I mean it is random and pointless. Totally irrelevant. From a wellness perspective, meaninglessness is extremely liberating. It allows for a freedom of thought and action that cannot be attained through the conforming rigidity of pre-determined purpose. It allows for a rational, critical thought process that renders emotive storytelling mute and lifts scientific logic to a special place, from where we can see the behavioral expression of meaninglessness very clearly.

Okay, so meaninglessness is the answer.

Now you know what Grant Donovan thinks about the issues I raised. I asked Grant for a few lines to go with his interview. He replied: “I’m following the opposite path to Charlie Sheen, with limited or no exposure to the outside world. Your readers will already know that I’m just a good Aussie friend, who doesn’t really have much to say.”

Well, I can respect that, but just the same, here is a brief, unauthorized mini-background bio update on Grant Donovan, Ph.D. A graduate of the University of Western Australia, he is the Managing Partner at Perception Mapping in Perth, Australia and a few other market research firms, including SevenSeventeen and Workplace Global Network. He and I co-authored “Live More of Your Life the Wellness Way” and “Die Healthy” decades ago. We co-presented many times in cities throughout Australia, the U.S., Canada and even Malaysia, but our most memorable performance was a workshop at the National Wellness Conference in Stevens Point, WI. in 1994 devoted to “The Wellness Orgasm.” It was quite a hit.

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Conventional, Versus Wellness Approach, To Health

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What we consider, the conventional approach, to health, in the United States, differs, in many ways, from the way, most of the rest of the world, considers, and approaches, this concept. Many seem to believe, a conventional approach, means, using allopathic medicine, which includes, a primary emphasis on chemically designed, prescriptions, and treatments, while, in most other nations, this approach, includes, both allopathy, as well as alternative remedies, and treatments. Which way, is best for you, depends, on your specific mindset, attitude, overall health, condition, beliefs, etc. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, the different approaches, and some of the different advantages, and disadvantages.

1. Conventional approach: The disadvantage of the so – called, conventional approach, is it pays more attention, often, to the symptoms, rather than all the possible causes, etc. It treats ailments, usually, by using a chemical – drug, to reduce and treat the ailment. It is important to recognize, illnesses, and ailments, should be divided into, chronic versus acute ones, and life – threatening, versus, more common illnesses. I strongly believe, there are many acute conditions, which are best treated with drugs, but there are also circumstances, when the side effects, and potential dangers, may make it less logical. Obviously, when the ailment is life – threatening, such as cancers, severe organ issues (such as pneumonia, liver problems, etc), they need immediate, dramatic treatment, while, at other times, it might make more sense, to use, an alternative approach.

2. Alternative approach: Many use methods, such as Reiki, acupuncture, Ayuverdic, homeopathy, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements, etc, as an essential part of taking care of their overall health. These often, enhance our immunity, and what we refer to, as resistance. However, one must take care, to do so, in consultation, with a qualified, open – minded, health professional, who is able to use, either approach. Don’t abandon prescribed medications, without thoroughly discussing with your doctor! Know the risks and benefits.

3. Wellness: An intelligent, seamless, merger of both, conventional, and alternative treatments, is, often, the wisest approach. In most of the rest of the world, non – chemical approaches, are used, before conventional ones, in order to minimize over – use, and dependence, and minimize side – effects, and attempt to enhance our body’s immunity and immune system. This is the essence of a wellness program, where we proceed, and take advantage of any modalities, which might enhance and improve our overall health.

Beware, you should do your research, and consult qualified, trained health professionals, in order to use the best combination. It’s up to you!

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Predictors of Healthy Aging – Adult Health and Wellness

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There seems to be a formula for healthy aging, suggested by the latest research on centenarians and the research comparing people in their 20’s – 40’s to those in their 60’s – 90’s. Some of the predictors of healthy aging include: physical, intellectual, emotional, relational, spiritual and sexual. Maintaining health and wellness in each of these areas may not prolong your life, but it will certainly improve the quality and enjoyment of your daily existence as you age. And, you may be surprised to find your are living longer than you ever imagined possible.

Physical Predictors of Healthy Aging

A supplement to the November/December 2006 Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior presented the new MyPyramid Food Guidance System, an updated replacement of the former Food Guide Pyramid, based upon research completed over several years.

According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), a healthy diet:

o emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grain and fat-free or low- fat milk and milk products
o includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
o is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars

Tufts University researchers have updated their Food Guide Pyramid for Older Adults to correspond with the MyPyramid. This modified version of the MyPyramid continues to emphasize nutrient-dense food choices and the importance of fluid balance, but has added additional guidance about forms of foods that could best meet the unique needs of older adults. In addition, there is greater emphasis upon the importance of regular physical activity.

The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults was published in the January 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition. Added to the new pyramid is a foundation depicting physical activities characteristic of older adults, such as walking, yard work and swimming.

Government statistics indicate that obesity in adults 70 years and older has been increasing, physical activity is one way to avoid weight gain in later years and its adverse effects. Older adults tend to need fewer calories as they age because their metabolic rates tend to slow down. Even if they continue to exercise, they are often not quite as physically active as when they were younger. But their bodies still require the same or higher levels of nutrients to maintain optimal health. Regular physical activity is linked to reduced risk of chronic disease, lower body weight and improved quality of life for older adults.

The Tufts University recommendations for older adults include the following:

o Whole, enriched, and fortified grains and cereals such as brown rice & 100% wheat bread
o Bright-colored vegetables such as carrots and broccoli
o Deep-colored fruit such as berries and melon
o Low- and non-fat dairy products such as yogurt and low-lactose milk
o Dry beans and nuts, fish, poultry, lean meat and eggs
o Liquid vegetable oils and soft spreads low in saturated and trans fat
o Fluid intake
o Physical activity such as walking, house work and yard work.

Intellectual Predictors of Healthy Aging

Healthy aging requires keeping our minds active before and especially after retirement, regularly learning something new and participating in new activities, maintaining an interest in and passion for reading and current events, and often reflecting on the good things in life.

Emotional Predictors of Healthy Aging

Emotionally healthy people are optimistic, generally happy with life, rarely hostile, recover quickly from angry episodes, and tend to live longer. They cope well with stress, maintaining a good sense of humor and a positive attitude, regardless of how the circumstances in their life unfold, and they continue to develop many outlets for recreation and relaxation.

Relational Predictors of Healthy Aging

Those who remain healthy as they age tend to feel supported by a large social network of family and friends. They tend to frequently help others, have many younger friends, remain in successful marriages or enjoy a full single life, attending social functions and sharing happy events with others.

Spiritual Predictors of Healthy Aging

Spiritually connected people tend to fare better as they age. Spiritual commitments and practices, such as daily prayer, meditation, or regular church attendance, help them to maintain a strong sense of personal purpose and meaning in life as well as ongoing appreciation of the beauty and power of nature and its natural rhythms and cycles.

Sexual Predictors of Healthy Aging

Those who age successfully continue to feel joyful and passionate about life. They tend to continue to derive sensual and sexual pleasure, within their own body, in physical and emotional contact with others, and in connection with the natural environment.

The Formula for Healthy Aging seems to include:

o A large supportive social network of family, friends, and neighbors
o A daily spiritual practice and faith in a higher power
o A healthy lifestyle including exercise, nutrition, rest, sleep and play
o An active imagination, intellectual stimulation, and a passion for learning
o Emotional well being, an optimistic outlook, and a good sense of humor
o Passion for life, sensual and sexual aliveness, and appreciation of nature

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A Nussentials Third Party Review – Just Another Health And Wellness MLM?

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If you are looking into the Nussentials MLM opportunity, here is some information that may prove helpful. Nussentials is a true MLM company, meaning it is not some sort of pyramid scheme or other scam. The president is Phil Mims. Mr. Mims has extensive Network Marketing industry experience, having built organizations of hundreds of thousands of people. If your passion is health and wellness, Nussentials is more than just another health and wellness MLM. It is worth a serious look.

It is still a fairly new company. It was started in Texas in 2006. If you are going to be in the health and wellness niche, you need medical credibility. Nussentials has this credibility. Their Medical Advisory Board has some serious credentials, and they are detailed on the website. This medical experience is an excellent marketing tool for Nussentials. You can’t just say your products are healthful. You have to be able to back it up.

Nussentials offers a wide range of products based on all-natural stabilized rice bran. Rice bran is the layer of the grain right under the husk. Most of the rice we eat doesn’t have the bran. 60% of the nutrients in rice are found in the bran. If you have eaten brown rice, it is easy to tell the difference between it and white rice. It’s light brown and has a nutty flavor; it is also chewier. In processing white rice, the bran is made into animal feed and other products. A great deal of natural nutrition is being used for other purposes. Antioxidants, essential fatty acids, B vitamins, Vitamin E with tocotrienols and tocopherols, and much more is lost in this processing. Nussentials makes it available in its products.

Their product line is not a traditional line of vitamins and minerals. With Nussentials everything is based on all natural rice bran. This could be a Unique Selling Proposition, something most MLM businesses lack. The product line includes an energy product called Alert!, a heart healthy cardiovascular fortifier called Cardio!, a weight management product called Less!, plus skin supplements, healthy coffee, a pomegranate drink, and more. The product line seems to be of high quality, and their website shows the science behind the products documented by third parties.

There are multiple income sources with Nussentials. There is upfront bonus income, and the other basic category is residual income. The compensation plan is a variation on the forced matrix. This one is a 3×8. This means that there are only 3 slots available directly under a distributor on the first level. Anyone else you sign up has to go in the organization of one of these three people. This is called “spillover” in MLM comp plan geekspeak. Because of this spillover, you can actually earn money from distributors that are placed below you by people above you. This is a good thing. The 8 in the 3×8 means that the matrix goes down to 8 levels. As with many MLM comp plans, the larger commission rates are down a few levels. With Nussentials you’ll make the highest commission rates in levels 4 and 5. If this puts you off, you probably don’t want to be in a Network Marketing company. Large income earners have organizations much deeper than 4 or 5 levels.

For someone looking at a health and wellness MLM, this all should sound pretty good. But it isn’t enough. A solid, reputable company is very important, but you’ll need more. Your level of success will depend on your ability to attract new reps to you and your business. How do you plan to generate leads when friends and family run out? Answer this question right and you’ll be on your way.

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Aging is Inevitable – Adult Health and Wellness

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Aging is Inevitable

Although aging is inevitable, how we look, feel and cope as we get older, is not. Aging affects each of us at different rates and in different ways. Even within the same individual, each organ and organ system ages differently, influenced by genetics, environment, lifestyle, attitudes, social networks, spiritual connections, and overall health and well being.

In infancy and childhood, we can be fairly accurate in predicting physical growth and development at different ages and stages. But as we age, there is no uniform timetable. Chronological age is notAging is Inevitable

How Do You Know When You Are Old?

Stereotypical Signs of Aging

• You get dizzy when you stand up or bend over

• Your joints and muscles ache all the time

• Your skin is itchy, spotty, wrinkled and dry

• Your body fluctuates between constipation and diarrhea

• You have poor muscle tone, tire easily, and often feel weak

• You are often irritable, grouchy, depressed and generally unhappy

• You can’t remember what you did an hour ago

• You’ve stopped learning or trying new things

The above symptoms are generally considered to be inevitable effects of aging, but these are actually signs of lifestyle deficiencies, injury, and disease.

Physiologic Changes and Aging

Past research about aging has focused on patients suffering from illness and disability, observed in doctors’ offices, clinics or hospital settings. What we have believed about aging, it seems, has been a reflection of the effects of disease process and unhealthy lifestyle. Studies are only beginning to focus on active seniors and the normal aging process.

• Aging is NOT Disease

Physiologic changes that occur with aging do not necessarily cause disability. Aging does not inevitably lead to declining levels of cardiac functioning, bone density, muscular strength, cognitive ability and memory, sexual desire and activity, physical and social functioning, nor does aging insure rising levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and anemia. But aging does decrease the body’s ability to withstand and respond to stress. As we age, we are less able to regulate pulse rate, blood pressure, oxygen consumption, blood glucose, serum sodium, and blood ph levels under stress. Aging leads to greater difficulty reacting to injury and the probability that the stress of injury will lead to acute or chronic illness over time.

• One Percent Rule

From age 30 onward, most organ systems lose roughly one percent of their functioning each year. The percent of loss does not increase as we age.

• Body Organs Age Differently

The physiologic state for any organ in our body is affected by the rate of change that organ has experienced multiplied by the number of years that change has occurred. As we age, changes in one organ does not predict changes in other organs.

• Dementia is NOT Part of Normal Aging

Memory decline with age is common, but does not inevitably lead to dementia which is an illness. Dementia-type symptoms include hearing loss, confusion or disorientation, difficulty performing simple tasks and making every day decisions, as well as changes in mood and loss of interest in life activities.

* Remaining Healthy is Often a Lifestyle Choice

Scientists and wellness experts alike are discovering that we are more than our genetic makeup. We do actually influence our own aging processes through diet, exercise, stress management, rest, sleep, social activity, positive mental thought and spiritual connection. Remaining healthy is often just a lifestyle choice and the choice is yours.

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Wellness International Network (WIN) Home Business Review

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In October 1992, Wellness International Network, Ltd. (WIN) became a reality. WIN’s Founders, Ralph and Cathy Oats saw the potential for the health and wellness industry and knew they could make a positive mark by providing others with a vehicle to achieve total wellness: mentally, physically and financially.

WIN is headquartered in North Dallas’ prestigious Legacy Business Park campus, while its European affiliate, WIN Worldwide BV , is located in Hoofddorp, Netherlands and its South African affiliate, Wellness International Network S.A. (Pty) Limited, is located in Johannesburg, South Africa. Heading into the company’s 16th year of business, Ralph and Cathy’s vision is ever expanding as they build WIN into a billion-dollar business.

The product line includes new protein shake, an omega-3 supplement and a new hair-care collection. Diving into the latest trend, anti-aging, WIN unveiled a skin-care line using the technology to help wipe away the signs of aging.

You can use Wellness International Network’s products with confidence, the product line ranges from products geared to help increase energy, stamina, weight loss and enhance mental function and mood to a complete line of cellular nutritional products, plus skin- and hair-care products.

WIN’s complete nutritional line is listed in the PDR® for Nonprescription Drugs, Dietary Supplements and Herbs. The PDR is distributed to more than 300,000 physicians and healthcare professionals across the United States giving them a comprehensive overview on WIN’s nutritional products.

WIN seems to have some very solid products in their line and their marketing strategy is based on sampling with the Five Step Program. This approach is focused on using and sharing the products and opportunity. With this kind of marketing you have to consume a lot of different products yourself before you can share your experience with others. That’s why people invest a lot af money before they see some results. WIN’s compensation plan is somewhat confusing and hard to understand.

To sum it up, WIN appears to be a legitimate business opportunity. The executive team is experienced in their field and have come up with what appears to be products with mass appeal. As with any business, it takes hard work and dedication to succeed. If you like marketing many different products, maybe this could be something for you. Keep in mind the possible investments of all the different products.

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Create New Fashions and Set Trends in Hair Dressing

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Fashion is a way of life that brings changes and beautiful traditions with it. So much so, more people are fascinated with fashion than with food and cooking. To say that one is hungry is not as bad as saying one is out of style. Hairdressing is an important aspect of fashion. What is it that makes this so important?

Importance of hairstyling

First, one must acknowledge that one’s hair is the best thing about a person. If the hair is not well maintained, neatly trimmed, and oiled, the person will not look attractive. Hair that does not stay in place will make that person look like a hooligan. The unkempt look will draw dirty looks and he will soon be barred from his own social circle.

Due to this, there is a renewed interest among the job seekers of today to become a hairdresser. For one thing, there is no need to invest a huge sum of money to become a successful hairdresser. One only needs a small shop and one will be set for life. One can undergo one of the many Hair Dressing Courses in Delhi and learn the needed skills from the professionals.

Things to learn in hairdressing

By taking this course, you will learn things like the basics of blow drying and volume blow drying techniques. This is needed because it is an important part of hairdressing. The next thing is you learn hair tonging and hair ironing. It will teach you how to straighten hair and set curls in it. This will take barely one week. They also teach you the latest cuts doing fashion trends now. Skills included will be Natural Inversion, Forward Graduation, and Square Layers.

The advanced course will include classic cuts and it takes 10 days. You can do this to lay the best foundation for your hairdressing career. Here the skills taught will include Transient Mid Length and Transient Length Haircut, Graduated Bob, and Transient Bob. They also teach you how to make Short Round Layers. Along with this, you can take the color course that teaches you the root level application of color to hair. You also learn the Global Color Application. This is one of the Best Hairdressing Courses Delhi.

Learn hair styling methods

Students learn safety methods in haircutting and styling. They are taught how to choose a product as per the nature of a person’s hair. The practical experience in hair waving and chemical straightening will be of immense importance for them. With step by step instructions, the students learn through actual practice how to implement the latest methods and use the latest styles in hairdressing.

It is important to fast track your career in the hairdressing business. Learning how to create highlights in the hair and achieving color corrections help students make a new path for themselves. Your tutor will instruct you personally on how to make changes needed to make a person’s hair fall in line with the latest trend. Advanced techniques like thermal straightening, wet hairstyling, and thermal curling are also taught. This will help one become a master in this art.

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Stick to a Wellness Program by Developing Your Grit

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What is it that pushes us to achieve our wildest and most improbable goals? Grit, defined by Angela Duckworth and her colleagues, is the combination of perseverance and passion for important life goals. Leaders in art, medicine, law, journalism and other fields have it. More important than the diet, exercise plan or yoga class you choose, is staying with it. Developing your grit will help you stick to your wellness program, even in the face of setbacks.

Here are some suggestions for getting more gritty.

* Find your passion. Before picking a diet or exercise plan, read, study and experiment. Nutritionists, personal trainers and other experts are good sources of information. Like to work out with a buddy? Find one. Can’t live without pasta? There are diets out there that include it. You’ll have to try different approaches until you identify something you can enthusiastically embrace. Enjoying your plan will help you stick to it.

* Emulate successful models. Talk to people who maintain a healthy lifestyle. Their success can be inspiring. Try to learn not only what they do, but how they stick to it. Some swear by the first-thing-in-the-morning, get-a start-on-the-day workout. Others prefer the structure of a class. Use only those strategies that you can be positive about and that fit with your lifestyle and preferences.

* Dedicate yourself. Dedication to a goal involves a combination of unwavering commitment and persistence to the goal over time. If you decide you’re going to walk daily or three times a week, make it happen. If eating yoghurt and fruit for lunch every day and sleeping at least 8 hours a night works, keep doing it. If you’re a novelty freak, change it up, as long as you dedicate to the overarching goal.

* Learn from setbacks. There’s no need to dwell on possibilities for failure, but don’t be surprised by setbacks. Face problems squarely and use them productively to modify your approach. Injure yourself biking or find your meditation class cancelled? Rehab, rest or substitute other activities, but don’t give up the changes you’ve already made. Using your setbacks as opportunities for growth will keep you optimistic.

* Run the marathon, not the sprint. When you start to fatigue, get bored or encounter obstacles, it’s not time to quit. If your schedule changes and you can’t get to the gym lunchtime, decide when you can get there. Don’t overdo it, but do keep it interesting. Challenge yourself by gradually raising the bar. Remember you’re in it for the long haul.

Once you reach your goals, use the grit you’ve developed to maintain your gains. A gritty approach to maintaining your program will give you a lifetime of wellness.

Copyright, 2010 Judith Tutin, Ph.D.

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Would You Dare Swallow a Hair Strand, Even in Your Favorite Soup?

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Sometimes you may find a strand of hair in your soup and just decide to overlook it and swallow it together with the soup. A single hair strand is not really dangerous as it is very small and the highest possibility is that it will just pass through the digestive tract. However, the hair poses a danger when it forms a clump, which would eventually form a giant hairball in your stomach necessitating the need to see a doctor. So, what happens when you swallow hair?

Some species of bacteria may try acting on the hair, leading to stomach upsets and/or diarrhea. This scenario is, however, very unlikely.

Hair is densely packed with a protein called keratin which has a very fibrous structure. Keratin requires long exposure to extreme acidic or alkaline conditions and temperatures way above 100 degree Celsius in order to break down. The human digestive system, however, cannot contain such conditions, making it impossible for humans to break keratin down. Most hair just passes through the digestive tract alongside other materials that cannot be digested and they are eliminated in the feces. You can therefore take chances if it is only a single hair strand. However, keep in mind that too many hair strands may eventually clump up and get stuck in the stomach.

Swallowing hair is a scenario that is also very common in cats. Like humans, cats also cannot digest hair, which is fur in their case. The hair that does not make it out of their digestive system builds up in their stomach forming a firm dense hair ball, also known as a trichobezoar. Most cats eventually get to vomit the hair balls before situation gets too bad.

Humans also begin developing hair balls when they eat a lot of hair. This sometimes happens to people suffering from trichophagia, a unique disorder of eating hair. Unlike cats, humans do not vomit their hair balls. Instead, the hair just sits in the stomach, obstructing the normal functioning of the digestive system. Eating hair can greatly alter the functioning of the liver and pancreas.

Some symptoms of trichobezoars in humans include:

Vomiting

Nausea

Appearance of hair and/or blood in the stool

Poor appetite

Foul breath

Constipation

Bowel obstruction

Excessive gas

Bowel perforation

Excessive weight loss.

In extreme cases, a strand of hair ball can reach down the small intestines, a condition commonly known as Rapunzel Syndrome. The doctor can feel the hair ball by gently pushing the in the left upper and mid parts of the patients abdomen.

The hair balls can also be diagnosed using gastrointestinal X-rays, using ultrasound or looking into the patient’s stomach using an endoscope. Removal of this hair necessitates a major surgery where the doctor opens up the digestive track then pulls out the hair.

Considering all these things, you eventually realize it is not worth overlooking that single hair strand because as harmless as it may seem, it may cost you a lot. It is therefore important to avoid mistakes that can be very costly. As they say; ”to be safe is better than to be sorry.”

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The Planet Pluto, the Human Body, the NWI and Understanding the REAL Dimensions of Wellness

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Introduction

The initial title of this essay was, What Is the Relevance of the Planet Pluto, Carl Linnaeus, the Human Body, and the National Wellness Institute (NWI) Six Dimension Wellness Model for the Fate of the Wellness Movement? I was prepared to address this riveting question that puzzled no one on which I believe the movement hovers between eventual ruin and immediate acclaim.

My editor, however, would have none of it. Thus, the shorter title.

Pluto, the Human Body and NWI’s Six Dimensions

Pluto was recognized as the outermost planet in our solar system for a century before the International Astronomical Union (IAU) demoted it a few years ago. Astronomers decided Pluto does not dominate the neighborhood around its orbit, one of the three criteria that must be met for a planet to be considered as such. Now it’s officially a dwarf planet.

Bye bye planet Pluto.

The human body has three main parts (head, trunk and limbs), 12 systems (cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, immune, integumentary, lymphatic, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, skeletal and urinary) and 78 organs. (I’m not going to list the latter – it would consume too much space and besides, this is a family wellness report.)

It may be that the human body has other parts, yet to be discovered. We should keep an open mind. Who knew Pluto would get the kibosh, in time, back in the day when Percival Lowell was acclaimed for spotting this icy dwarf rock in 1905. There it was, way the hell out there, perhaps struggling mightily to dominate the neighborhood of its orbit. Yet, a revision of the planet’s status did occur. New discoveries are always been made; the human body might be next. Why should we think that all 12 systems and 78 organs are all we’ve got? Maybe there’s another part of us that has been overlooked, besides the head, trunk and limbs.

Once again, we are reminded: Keep an open mind.

Which brings me to the six dimension model of the NWI.

Criteria for Dimensions of Wellness

A dimension of wellness should identify and illuminate the broad elements, principles or requirements of a consistent philosophy or concept of living (i.e., lifestyle).

A dimension of wellness should draw a picture of what is entailed by this unique positive mindset that promotes wellbeing.

Used as a noun, a dimension in the English language refers to the property of a thing, as in the concept of wellness as a philosophy or lifestyle having x number of characteristics. The generalization of this property as having dimensions would apply to elements that it entails, such as exercise, nutrition or management of stress or emotions. Used as a verb with an object, a dimension can shape an idea or mode of functioning to fit and contain the elements pursuing specific outcomes, such as high levels of physical and mental wellbeing.

The six dimensions that NWI claims as expressive dimensions of the wellness concept do not serve such purposes. They are not dimensions. They are generic terms for sectors of life. I refer to the misnamed sectors NWI calls occupational and intellectual dimensions of wellness.

The other four (physical, social, intellectual and spiritual), as employed by NWI, also lack descriptive elements distinguishing wellness mindsets from the norm of just slogging along in these four areas. The NWI provides no standards or descriptive language that associates lifestyle behaviors or levels of functioning that enable optimal functioning in any of the separate categories (i.e., faux dimensions).

The NWI model has been widely adopted by institutions, organizations and practitioners who employ the term wellness. Some have added two other categories as dimensions – environmental and financial. These have the same deficiencies noted above in the NWI model. Sometimes, gobbledegook is tossed into the mix, as in the NWI declaration that the six dimensions derive their resources and services from this model. (No, I don’t know what that means.)

The value of any model depends upon how wellness is defined. NWI goes with this: Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.

Even someone with a dreadful lifestyle could claim wellness as the active process by which he/she has created a successful existence. Nothing in this definition or the six/eight model of the concept addresses the nature of a successful existence. Lots of overweight, sedentary, stressed out people with dreadful addictions think they have a successful existence, especially if they’re rich and powerful enough to lord it over others. Absent clear standards of a wellness lifestyle, people can delude themselves into thinking their choices are healthful and optimal. Yet, few observers would consider them healthy, or thriving in any positive sense of the word.

One way I’ve been unsuccessful (besides not amassing riches or having anyone I can (or want to) lord it over is in having failed to get out ahead of the pack with an easily understood explanation of wellness and, perhaps, the suggested nature of a successful existence. Of course, I offered definitions of wellness and success in High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease in 1977 and other books since, as well as speeches, newsletters and so on, but evidently I didn’t nail it sufficiently for the majority who adopted the NWI list of six dimensions.

Maybe this wasn’t possible — I’m not sure.

However, the fact that the NWI model of sector dimensions is still out there doesn’t mean I and others interested in promoting wellbeing should not promote clearer, more functional frameworks.

It’s time for all good men and women to come to the aide of the wellness concept. It’s time to challenge an archaic, dysfunctional 1980-era model. There are many possibilities for dimensions of wellness that could inform the ingredients contained within the wellness concept. Try to remember that wellness is not a product, nor is it a service. It’s a positive lifestyle that can be abetted by products or services, but wellness is always a process of functioning that individuals shape, control and manage for themselves. Each person must be the sovereign of his or her own wellbeing.

REAL wellness is a philosophy, a mindset, a set of ideas and principles consistent with embracing life in a positive manner. This is not complicated.

REAL wellness should encourage and guide people to think and function rationally, to live exuberantly, to maintain physical fitness, to dine wisely consistent with factual nutritional knowledge and to live as freely as possible. The latter means becoming liberated from cultural or circumstantial elements such as superstitions, irrational dogmas and other mental and social limitations that add constraints on personal liberties.

The four dimensions of REAL wellness are reason, exuberance, athleticism (exercise and nutrition) and liberty. Thus, the acronym R-E-A-L.

A rendition of a continuum for each dimensions illustrates the characteristics of each of the four dimensions, and the characteristics that obtain when these qualities are totally absent. (If interested, please send a request to the author and an attachment containing this morel will be electronically sent to you.)

Not to Overlook Carl Linnaeus

You might recall that Carl Linnaeus was initially included in the original long–form title of this essay, positioned between Pluto and the human body. However, due to the wordy nature of that preliminary title for this essay, the polymath Swedish botanist, zoologist and physician, the father of modern taxonomy, was cruelly edited out by my lovely editor (AKA my wife Carol).

Nevertheless, I’ll end this by giving the Great Man his due. Long long ago, way back in the 18th century, Linnaeus published a system for classifying living things. He commenced this historic undertaking by introducing just two classes of things, which he called kingdoms. The two classes were animals and plants. If he lived today, he probably would have called his classification the Dimensions of Living Things.

I do not believe he would be offended or surprised to discover that, in the modern world, there are eight levels of hierarchical classification — Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. Instead, he would probably delight and take pride in the evolution of knowledge which he inspired.

And so it is, I hope, with NWI and others who started out with good intentions and sparked new models over time. At least, I hope that will be the case.

Bonne chance, everyone.

Postscript

Experts on wellness models were asked to comment on this essay. Their remarks follow.

Bill Hettler, Minneapolis, MN

Just as in any healthy living ecology, diversity is a positive.

I am OK with your reductionistic four dimensions. But, as you know, I have always been a Y guy and thus am also OK with the YMCA’s Body, Mind and Spirit.

And, I always remember our friend and colleague Robert F. Allen who reminded us that the best wellness model is the one you actually use.

The six dimensions, which I originally wrote, were based on the written materials of many. I was mainly focusing on how people allocated their time. My selection of six dimensions (as an optimal number) was heavily influenced by my desire to have an easy way to show these dimensions in a two-dimensional drawing. You might remember that damn Ardell guy had five dimensions at one point, and I could not for the life of me easily draw pentagons. I actually played around with a three-dimensional model (I am talking drawing type here, not a mere three wellness dimensions) that was an equilateral tetrahedron.

As you recall, my original social dimension included environmental issues. Each dimension is easily expanded or contracted as best suits the purpose of the users.

Each dimension was focused on how much time people spent on activities related to that particular topic. I had an unproven bias that the more balanced one was in the allocation of their time (and therefore their life), the more likely their chances for a long and enjoyable existence.

From a programming standpoint, as pointed out by Rod Lees (below), we noticed that we might be able to interest people in activities in one area more easily than another. By intention, we also tried to promote cross referrals from one area of participation to another.

Be well Don — and keep up the good work of making people think. (That could be part of the Intellectual dimension, if one believed in that sort of thing.)

John Travis, Novato, CA

Yeah, I agree – -they ain’t really dimensions, but categories. And there’s no real philosophy. However, I can’t get very excited about it because the very word wellness has been too dumbed down, with little hope of reversing it. I admire your diligence to keep hammering away at it tho.

Your pessimistic curmudgeon friend.

Rod Lees, Noosa, Australia

I remember hearing a discussion from the academics at university here in Queensland about the differences between wellbeing and wellness. Someone even wrote an academic paper on the topic. I told them that I didn’t care what they called it. It was all about the thought process, the application and the doing.

In my presentation days, I would talk about REAL wellness and also teach the 6-8 dimensions. I did find that for those who were wanting to develop programs for staff, the multiple dimensions seemed to fit well. They could plan activities around each dimension.

So, in the end, I don’t have an opinion as to which is better. Both have value and I think that both should be used and individuals can pick up on the one that speaks to them the most. Or, as I’m guessing you might say, use REAL wellness dimensions when addressing personal lifestyles, and the NWI-like sector models for corporate or other programming.

Derek Bell, Stevens Point, WI

Ha! Love it. I think it’s a good time to assess the value of traditional wellness models. I respect those who have moved away from models like NWI’s, as well as dated pie charts which suggest equal dimensions wherein balance is the key.

I like the position you’ve taken. We need to frame wellness more by human needs and values-based thinking, less by seeking a perfect balance. Your continuum for lifestyle dimensions makes much more sense to me. Keep up the good work! The establishment needs some rattling.

Judd Allen, Burlington, VT

Thank you for sharing your concern that wellness is frequently used without adequate definition. I agree that a good definition would recognize that personal wellness requires optimizing the benefits of a multi-dimensional life.

You have your list of four dimensions and the National Wellness Institute has adopted Bill Hettler’s six dimensions. The YMCA goes with mind, body and spirit. We all define dimensions of wellness in accord with our visions, language and settings. Wellness is a full-potentials movement with multi-dimensional life perspectives. All the models recognize that a healthy, satisfying lifestyle requires so much more than fitness, such as traits of mental wellbeing, the presence of good works and time spent with good friends. Wellness is only possible when we have many such great resources in abundance.

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