Sweet Obsessions

Wellness gurus have faults, too

Occasional indulgence
is OK for fitness followers

(December 2011)
Read previous Heather Foy columns!
Heather Foy

Fitness Fanatic – Wellness Expert – Health Nut. In an odd way, I guess you would say I am proud to have these titles attached to the name Heather Foy.
I appreciate, in a small town like Madison, Ind., the fact that many local residents know that I am passionate about a healthy lifestyle and hope that by leading by example and teaching others, I might inspire others to prevent disease, instead of waiting to treat it.
I thought growing up as a “PK” (Preachers’ Kid) often felt like I was living in a glass house. I guess any teenager living in a small town worries that eyes are watching. Typically, those judgment-filled eyes are watching for mistakes, not successes.
As an adult, I live a public life that most would consider Healthy I wonder if my career now forces watchful eyes to view my grocery cart and my lifestyle choices. Just because I remind others about the importance of exercise, or teach someone how to build a healthy dinner plate, doesn’t mean that I make perfect choices 100 percent of the time.
Referring back to my “small-town situation” – is this why I pass former patients in the grocery store who inspect items in my cart and smile when they see cookies? I actually thought a fitness center buddy would pass out from complete shock when she saw me coming out of the doughnut shop (yes, with a white box in my hand).
A small part of me wonders if moving to a bigger city would provide the opportunity to enjoy fried, not grilled chicken, at a restaurant and have no one I know question my choice?
The following list might astonish you. But I expect that each one of us has a secret list of junk-food confessions. Yes, I have the knowledge that foods high in saturated fat will elevate cholesterol levels. Having this knowledge does not mean that I have never consumed a fast food French fry.
I confess: I love Alfredo sauce.
I confess: I wish peanut butter was a vegetable.
I confess: There is a box of Little Debbie’s in my pantry.
Coming out with my confessions remind me that no one makes the Healthy choice 100 percent of the time. Just because the word “wellness” is used frequently behind my name doesn’t mean that I cannot enjoy my favorite food – which happens to be ice cream! Yes, I have consumed a Blizzard (several over the years). The big picture or moral of the story is that I do not have to give up or eliminate ice cream. I just have to make smart choices – at least 80 percent of the time.
A favorite college professor during my tenure at the University of Louisville was Dr. Bryant Stamford. My local small-town community is now blessed to have Stamford sharing his knowledge with students at Hanover College as a professor of Exercise Science. As a student, you hope to soak in a portion of Stamford’s knowledge.
A “rule” that I distinctly remember him teaching in class is the 80-20 Rule. I often share this concept with others during wellness programs, classes I teach, and speaking engagements. My hope is to convince other to follow this simple plan to sustain good health.
The concept is simple: Make healthy choices 80 percent of the time. If you faithfully follow this rule, in most cases, you should be able to enjoy a treat, indulge, or splurge in small ways 20 percent of the time. It’s what you do most of the time that is important.
I recently contacted Stamford for a follow-up thought on the 80-20 Rule. He reminded me that this rule is ideal if people are “satisfied” with their current weight, blood lipid levels or overall health status.
“With this said, if you are struggling with your weight, for example, you cannot afford to indulge 20 percent of the time because it would be a step backward for you,” he said.
“Work to get to where you need to be and know that from that point on you longer have to exist on cardboard and bean sprouts, but can enjoy rich foods on occasion.” (This is good news for my rare amusement for a very small portion of Alfredo sauce.)
Stamford reminds others that the more you concentrate on eating healthy foods, the more you retrain your taste buds. “Perhaps in the past you needed a huge splurge of goodies before being satisfied, but now, after eating healthy for many months, you’ll find that a much smaller dose of rich foods will do the trick.”
The facts are, that everyone – no matter how healthy he might appear – faces food temptations and days when they might not have the go-get’um desire to jump out of bed and face the treadmill. I, like every other adult, cycle through periods of time when I lose motivation or run low on will-power.
Remember that doughnut box? The truth is, that I ate one, just one. The rare treat to the doughnut shop takes place once every couple of months for my family. We know that we cannot eat them every morning.
I traditionally exercise six days a week, pledge to never super-size, and make dietary choices to improve, not hamper, my health 80 percent of the time.
Every American knows that an apple is a smarter snack choice than a candy bar. The question is, Can we choose the apple eight out of 10 days and enjoy a bite-size (not a king-size) candy bar the other two days?

• Heather Foy is a 20-year coach and group exercise instructor in Madison, Ind., who has been in the Wellness field for nearly 20 years. Email her at hnfoy@yahoo.com.


Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Ketnucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta