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Diet fads, diet pills, diet drinks… they’ve been around for ages. Most experts agree that they are a quick fix (often effective in the short-term, but are not sustaining). And now, the latest trends for weight loss are wraps and powders. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel good about yourself and be happy with what you see in the mirror. The problem, however, with quick-fix products such as these is that they often give the consumer a cosmetic solution. You’ll like what you see. But this is not a healthy solution. Too often those who buy into these fads don’t learn about sustainable healthy food choices—how to shop, meal prep, and cook with lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. And consumers sometimes replace these quick-fixes for something essential to the long-term health of the human body: exercise.

How many times have you seen weight-loss products advertised as a substitute for exercise and healthy eating? “Never work out again!” “No exercise necessary!” “Eat whatever you want!” Even Oprah said on her show a few years ago that a magical weight loss pill had been invented. She was thrilled because she hated to work out and viewed this supplement as a solution. This mindset is a problem.

Did you know that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women? That it is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined? While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease. Those statistics alone motivate me to improve my eating and exercise habits. No product out there beats eating your veggies and working your heart muscle.

I am no fitness buff. I am not a coach or a trainer or even much of an athlete. But I do exercise 5-7 days per week. I run, walk, kick-box, lift weights, do yoga, pilates. I enjoy a variety so I don’t get bored. Because working out isn’t always fun. It’s hard to fit in to my life of being a mom to three kids. I don’t have a gym membership or a treadmill. In fact, most days I run outside or work out to some DVD I bought with a Groupon in my living room. I join exercise groups with friends to make us accountable and motivated. I sign up for races and train so I know I will at least be able to cross the finish line (that’s winning in my book). 

I want to chase my grandkids someday. I want to push them on the swings and sit on the floor with them to do a puzzle. I want a strong heart that sustains me for a long life. I want to visit Alaska with my husband. And maybe Australia. I want strong bones and muscles that allow me to walk cobbled streets and hike ancient ruins. 

A wrap may tighten my stomach. A diet drink may take a few pounds off of my thighs. (Or my boobs, because let’s be honest—we all know that’s the first thing to go!) I mean this when I say there’s nothing wrong with trying a wrap or some new powder to reduce hunger. As long as that’s not all we do.

I’m not perfect. I like pizza. And cookies. And beer and wine. But I do make sure to squeeze in veggies and lean meats and lots of water every week. (This way I feel okay about ordering pizza on Friday night!) And it’s because of splurging on occasion that I’ll probably always have some flab on my belly (well it’s really because of my three kids, but I’ll blame the pizza). 

I don’t condemn the use of supplements or products like powders or pill or wraps or drinks. More power to the girl who can afford them and feels better about herself after using them. But they are no substitute for working the muscles. We are all going to be wrinkly when we are 70. At some point, no product will be able to help us look 25. But wouldn’t it be great if we could dance with our husbands at a wedding? Or take our grandkids to Disney World? Saggy neck skin and all? 

I want to live a long time. I want to have energy to enjoy all that life has to offer me over the next (hopefully) 60 years. So I’m spending my time, my energy, and my money on my health. And the more that I exercise, the more I do like what I see in the mirror. I see endurance. I see strength. I see my daughter standing next to me, looking at her mom who takes care of her whole body so that she can keep standing next to her for many years to come. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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