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Focus on your health, beat the surveys

There’s been a good bit of news lately concerning the health and well-being of West Virginians.

Several studies have commented on the weight of our state’s residents, saying a large percentage of us, young and old, tend to be unhealthy and have higher weights than we should. In fact, they say we are some of the most obese in the nation.

Maintaining a particular weight and health ideals can be difficult for anyone. When you look at modern life, there are many factors which affect us, including the types of demands we face from home and work, the types of food options available and the amount of money one might have.

I recognize that I’ve been fortunate in many ways, including that, for most of my life I really haven’t had to go without nourishment. Even during some of the more difficult times, we found a way to get by.

But, my weight hasn’t always been the healthiest and I’m not exactly what one might consider physically fit.

My weight has fluctuated, and it’s affected me mentally and emotionally.

A few months back, at a particularly low point, I found myself not really being able to focus on much of anything. I wasn’t happy and I just didn’t feel good about myself.

I had put on some weight, and I thought maybe that was part of the issue. I decided to try to change up my diet, eating more healthy foods.

It’s something I’ve been through before, with varying results, as I’m sure most have experienced.

A few years ago, several of us here at the newspaper took part in a competition, a type of “Biggest Loser” thing but without the professional coaches and living in a house cut off from the rest of the world where the diets could be controlled and measured. We were on our own.

I watched my diet and put together an exercise program, focused primarily around a video game series published by a certain sports-oriented company for a particular Japanese entertainment company’s console which used motion controls.

After the competition period, I had lost 25 pounds. For several years after, I was able to maintain that lower weight, but it did start to creep up.

This time, when I made my decision to start watching, I had inched closer to the 200 pound mark than I prefered. My clothes weren’t fitting well.

So far, I’ve just been watching my diet to see how that goes. I’m not big on the fads, so I just look at healthy options. I did cut down on carbohydrates, but did not eliminate them entirely. I increased the proteins and vegetables and tried to stay away from the sweets.

I’ve also not had a high focus on weighing myself; maybe going to the scale once a month. I don’t want this to turn into an obsession.

I’ve done pretty well. The last weigh-in, I was down just over 10 pounds from the starting point. I haven’t put together an exercise program, but that’s probably going to be the next step. Right now, I just want to try to learn how to maintain a better diet for me and my needs.

Here’s the thing, I am in no place to give advice on how to do this. It’s just something that, so far, has been able to work for me. It’s not going to be the same for others.

We are each in control of our own health. If you’re not happy with it, consult a doctor, make some changes and concentrate on what can help you have your best life.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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