Elaine Doll-Dunn, Psy.D.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If that adage is true, then we can avoid a lot of “cure” by working on the “prevention” (read, fitness). Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a five foot lady who weighed nearly 300 pounds. One day she said to herself, “Why are you trying to die? You’re a smart woman, you know what to do, and you’re killing yourself.” So she set up a reasonable nutritional plan (nursing background, so a big “duh” there), began walking tiny distances each evening, and sticking positive affirmations on her mirror for consistent indoctrination. She entered a local 10K, ran/walked the distance, and, after perusing the slender crowd, told her friend on the way home, “I’m gonna have me some of those spandex tights!” And that became her focus. What a lady. It took her more than a year, but daily she saw and felt a sense of control, the power of purpose, and more definition in her body.

Not an easy journey, but a journey of life, not of death. Once she admitted to herself what she was about, she changed directions and took charge. You’ve seen her around town, a pert little blond with a great body and greater attitude. She was always beautiful, now the world can see it.

The point? It’s never too late, it’s within your control, and it’s worth doing. To live for yourself and for your family, oh yeah. Consider this. You have to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat. At 100 calories a mile, you only process 2,620 calories in a marathon! But….if you look at a steady progression over time, say 10,000 steps a day (equating to 5 miles), that’s 500 calories a day that you wouldn’t burn if you weren’t exercising. Food is fuel, exercise is energy. Fuel in, energy out. Do the math.

So calories do count. Carbs are addictive and eating a ton of them just makes you want more, which your body will then dutifully store if you don’t put them to work on the road. Diligently, I might add, and even if you eat reasonably for a few days but don’t exercise, the storage process takes place anyway. Very efficient bodies we have. My rancher mom used to say, “Whoever said it had to be fat cows and skinny women?” Good point. Only I don’t think we’re ever going back to a ‘Reubenesque’ society, and even if we did, the life span would again match the era. We just don’t need all that avoirdupois to function efficiently. The heart is a tough ole muscle, but give it a break. Can’t expect a Volkswagen motor to keep moving a semi.

A handy device to assist in this is a pedometer. Stick it on your belt in the morning and just see what a motivator it becomes…with a goal of 10,000 steps a day, one becomes more concerned with walking instead of driving, e-mailing, or taking the elevator. As the Walk For Life people say; “Wear a pedometer…no carbs, no fat, looks great on your waistline!” In fact, check out They have the coolest pedometers and the folks there are very helpful. An easy program to implement.

As long as we’re addressing the pounds thing, take a look at the new food pyramid. Or, better yet, don’t. It’s confusing. Just eat fewer carbs, more protein, lotza fish, olive oil, and skip the white stuff, such as flour, rice, sugar, potatoes, and pasta. Watch the portion size, drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, and keep a positive outlook. Eat less, move more. Makes dieting obsolete.

Fitness by the Numbers
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Alphabet of Fitness
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