[ HOW TO... ]
Have a perfect body
UNLESS you have bottomless coffers and a high tolerance for pain a la "The Swan," that new reality show that transforms "ugly ducklings" into stunning beauties via plastic surgery, liposuction and the like, there is no quick fix for your physical imperfections.
But this doesn't mean "The Perfect Body" is elusive for regular folk. We consulted with fitness trainers, a yoga teacher, a medical doctor and even a modeling school to explore the various avenues toward that goal of perfection.
One thing all the experts agree on: It takes work and commitment. They talk of changing lifestyles and making smart choices.
So read on and then decide: Is it all worth "The Perfect Body"?
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Castle Wellness and
When John Westerdahl thinks of the perfect body, he's not simply envisioning a sleek, toned shape. He sees unclogged arteries, healthy cells and healthy organs.
Westerdahl, a registered dietitian and director of Castle Medical Center's Wellness and Lifestyle Medicine Department, says what you put into your body is vital to how good you look. "Nutrition plays a critical part of a truly perfect body," he says. "If you're striving for that perfect body, strive for the perfect foods for that body."
1. Avoid fried foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol. Internally, they promote cancer and heart disease. Outwardly, they make you fat and make the hair and complexion greasy.
2. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. "We talk about having five fruits and veggies a day because they provide vitamins and minerals essential for health and well-being," Westerdahl says. "They are vital to overall health." Besides, fruits and vegetables promote healthy skin.
3. Avoid processed, refined carbohydrates such as sugar, candy, cookies, pies and pastries. These foods have the "double whammy" effect of saturated fats/cholesterol and high sugar, meaning they're tough on the arteries and the waistline. Rather, eat fruits and veggies or whole grains such as whole wheat bread or brown rice.
4. Don't overeat.
5. Drink lots of water.
6. Eat foods rich in water, such as (again!) fruits and vegetables. "In looking good and feeling good, you want to eat food with water because as we age, our cells get drier. We should try to keep the moisture with our diets," Westerdahl says.
7. Take a comprehensive multivitamin and mineral supplement. A good vitamin would provide 100 percent of the daily value for vitamins such as A, C, D, E, K, the B- complex vitamins, as well as calcium and phosphorus. Minerals in the supplement should include iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese and chromium.
8. Avoid fad diets that are imbalanced or not health-promoting. "High- protein diets are popular because people like to hear good news about bad habits," Westerdahl opines. People are able to lose weight on these diets because they're eliminating carbo-hydrates, but from a health standpoint, "it's disastrous," especially when dieters load up on animal proteins. Plus, high-protein diets promote premature aging. Look instead to vegetable sources of protein such as beans, legumes and soy.
9. Avoid soft drinks, which are often full of sugar, caffeine, chemicals and empty calories. Replace coffee with green tea, which is rich with antioxidants that protect against cancer.
10. When you want to eat something, ask yourself, "Is this going to promote my health? My vitality? My appearance? My body?"
The Wellness and Lifestyle Medicine Department at Castle Medical Center offers classes that promote the mind, body and spirit. Call 263-5400.
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"Yoga" translates to "unity," and indeed, the goal of this 5,000-year-old Indian practice is an intergration of the mind, body, heart and spirit. "Yoga is a way of life, a philosophy," says Dr. Lori Kimata, a naturopathic physician, yoga instructor and author of "Partner Yoga" (2000, Rodale Press, $19.95). "When there is alignment of the heart, body, mind and spirit, there is inner peace. So when you talk about perfection, that means feeling peaceful with whoever you are."
Kimata says yoga leaves the body strong and supple, soft and toned, rather than hard or tense. A yoga practitioner could lift their entire body with one hand, she says, but the strength comes from alignment rather than power. Here are some of Kimata's yoga tips:
Yoga has three components:
» Postures, or stretches. These are designed to lengthen, strengthen and relax the body.
» Breathing exercises. They help to relax and cleanse the body, which promotes beautiful skin, muscle tone and a lengthened, strong body.
» Philosophy. The practice of yoga teaches the mind to relax; that is, to eliminate the chaos and distractions of the mind. Postures and breathing help us to be still. "When the mind is relaxed, then everything can be aligned. And there is peace," Kimata says. "This is the practice of life, isn't it? To go on with life whether there is chaos around us or not. To be able to continue our lives in pace."
FROM "PARTNER YOGA"
The intention of yoga is to align the heart, body, mind and spirit, which will ultimately bring a sense of peace.
Lori Kimata's naturopathic practice is called Sacred Healing Arts. Call her at 949-4938.
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Susan Page Modeling School
Because so many of their students are teen-aged girls, Susan Page Modeling School stresses that it's important to be well-balanced in caring for oneself. "We stress to the girls that their bodies are going through so many changes," says Vanessa Buyson, the school's director. "We tell them not to diet, that it's about lifestyle." Here are some of the school's lifestyle tips:
» Everything in moderation is good. Anything in excess is not. For example, Buyson says, it's unrealistic to cut out all sweets or carbohydrates. "Lower your intake. And if you have a soda, follow that with a glass of water. If you eat a candy bar this time, eat a fruit the next time. Be well-balanced."
» Focus on a fit body rather than the pounds. "We tell the girls to exercise three times a week doing anything," Buyson says. "They could walk their dogs, rollerblade or do a sport. Anything that increases their heart rate."
» The night before a photo shoot or fashion show, stay away from carbs and clean the body with vitamin C-rich citrus. Carbs feel heavy on the stomach, while vitamin C promotes clear skin and helps a person look alert.
» Nothing beats lots of water. "Hawaii is so humid and warm," Buyson says. "I tell the girls to squeeze in some lemon. It changes the taste, and they're more likely to drink it if it has flavor."
Susan Page Modeling School offers classes on diet and nutrition for the preteen and teen. Call the school at 955-2271 for an appointment.
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24 Hour Fitness
Les Tin, fitness manager for the Kapiolani branch of 24 Hour Fitness, says the foundation for creating your perfect body requires a commitment to changing your lifestyle. Even with a strong desire to look and feel better, "if your lifestyle and habits don't support your decision," you're destined for an uphill struggle. Here's his advice, based on 24 Hour Fitness' program.
1. Make a decision to change your lifestyle.
2. Set realistic goals for your body. This means setting an ultimate goal, with little goals that work toward that main goal. "It's easier to lose one pound than 100. You want to set yourself up for success," Tin says.
3. 24 Hour Fitness believes there are five components to success:
» Proper nutrition. "Sometimes this is 80 percent of the goal," says Tin.
4. Tin has additional advice: Once you reach your goal, devise a maintenance plan.
» Proper cardiovascular exercise.
» Proper supplementation, i.e.: fat burners, minerals, calcium
» Proper resistance training
» Professional assistance,
a k a fitness trainers. The trainers do everything from helping devise fitness goals to training clients on equipment and advising them about supplementation and diet. They also tinker with clients' plans along the way to maximize success.
5. "When you reach your goal, set new goals. Always continue to set goals."
6. He also says to realize that cookie-cutter fad diets aren't one-size-fits-all. "The diet mentality is bad," says Tin. "We teach people to try to find a nutrition plan that fits their lifestyle."
Call 24 Hour Fitness, Kapiolani branch, at 951-7677.
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After many years of experience with weight-loss programs, Emily Borro says weight loss requires a lifestyle shift. "Learn a good way of life, and you'll have no problems," the manager of the Niu Valley Curves says.
Borro calls Curves, a 30-minute exercise program designed specifically for women, one such way of life. "Keep going, keep your body moving and your circulation going, along with good eating habits."
Then, when you shed those extra pounds and inches, she says, "stay with it and maintain it."
1. Work out for you -- not a boyfriend, husband, etc.
2. Be committed.
3. Believe in yourself: You can do this.
4. Make exercise a part of your regular routine. It's important to get your metabolism going and your heart rate up to burn fat.
5. Find a friend or group to exercise with. It will make you less likely to say, "I'll just not bother today."
6. Regarding food intake, always plan ahead for any special occasion or gathering. Will you eat before you go? How will you handle all the food and goodies?
7. Plan ahead with a list when going grocery shopping. Write your list and stick with it.
8. Treat yourself for your commitment to weight loss and exercise success with some jewelry or a new blouse.
Curves has branches all over Honolulu. Call Emily Borro at Niu Valley Curves at 377-8471.
ABOUT TODAY'S PACKAGE
Magazine fronts are full of cover lines promising the same things every month. You'd think all we care about is how to be rich, thin, unstressed and beautiful.
This week, we attempt to answer life's most perplexing questions, which will free us to pursue more serious thoughts.
Here comes the disclaimer: We do not promise that any of the methods and practices contained within this issue will work universally. They are guidelines. As always, when seeking answers and advice, consult experts who can analyze your particular situation and come up with a custom solution.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY KIP AOKI
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