Food For Thought: Talking Nutrition, Good Health With Ford Motor Co. Employees

I am a true Ford fan, so I’m sure that you can imagine how eager I was when I found out that I would be sharing my weight-loss and healthy lifestyle tips with Ford employees in Dearborn this week. These are the types of health-focused events that I wish could take place more often; in fact, I’m already looking forward to next week when I’ll be at Ford facilities once again!

During my time there, I learned quite a lot from the employees I spoke to, most of whom I could have honestly spoken with all day long. Their knowledge of and ideas for better health fascinated me… and frankly, when I left for the day I felt that I had been highly educated — something that I didn’t  necessarily predict, but enjoyed nonetheless.

A ‘Focus’ on Health

One employee, Manu, discussed a choice of exercise that I often overlook: swing dancing. This is something that I have always wanted to learn, but for some reason I’ve never signed up for lessons. He asked if I would share the following websites, since he feels that others will enjoy this form of physical activity as much as he does: 

  • SwingAnnArbor.org “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!” The classes are held every Wednesday and there is also a free “drop in” beginner lesson that begins at 8 p.m. I love it!
  • SwingDetroit.com, which offers not only swing dancing lessons, but several other dance classes as well. Check these sites out — dancing is truly great exercise and burns hundreds of calories.

I also spoke to a gentleman who was very concerned about what he’s been reading about genetically modified (GM) foods.  This was entirely new to me as I have not read anything on the subject before. He was disturbed about what he has been learning about these food items and shared some information that I will say was slightly alarming. According to the World Health Organization, there are three issues with GM crops that are creating concern: Allergic reactions, gene transfers and outcrossing of these genetically modified foods into non-GM crops.

On Tuesday I had a nice conversation with two ladies who were not only coworkers but also very good friends with one another. We were talking about my daily food intake and one of these two ladies – I’ll call her Concerned Carrie — wanted to know if I ever skipped meals to lose weight. While nudging her friend (I’ll call her Starving Sylvia), she told her to listen to me for advice. I explained that one of the contributing factors to my past obesity was that I skipped meals all the time, feeling as if my body would just “live off of the fat” and I would be just fine.

But when I changed my lifestyle in January 2001, that mentality completely ended. I realized that I was doing the wrong thing by skipping meals. First, I explained how I learned that our bodies need fuel throughout the day to function correctly and that not eating will lower blood sugar levels and bring on cravings for high-carbohydrate, high-calories foods.

Secondly, I told them that when you do skip meals — especially going all day without food, like Concerned Carrie told me that Starving Sylvia was doing — your body thinks you are starving and attempts to conserve calories by slowing your body metabolism A LOT. Then you will unfortunately burn calories at a much slower rate, which makes it unlikely that you will lose any weight at all.

Of course, you will have to eventually eat a meal, and once you resume your food intake, your body’s metabolism remains in its slowed-down phase until it’s sure you’re not starving. During this time, most of the calories you eat get stored in fat cells, and you are likely to gain weight instead of losing it… which is what happened to me, and Starving Sylvia seemed to feel that it was also happening to her.

Love My Job

It was a sweet moment when I witnessed Concerned Carrie give Starving Sylvia a huge hug and inform her that she wants her to start eating something during the day from now on. I learned, once again, that a caring good friend can help motivate a person to make changes … changes that can create a healthier and more positive life.

I sure love the path I’ve chosen for my life and those I’m allowed to meet along the way (and my Ford that gets me there safely!). I can’t wait to see what I learn next week while at Ford — I’ll keep you posted!

Photo by jpowers65

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  1. I’m glad to see this article is focused on diet and exercise as a coordinated effort. It would also be beneficial to monitor RMR,BMI, and calories burned. Online calculators for these are available  to make these calculations easy and are available at http://howtogainweight123.com/rmr-calculation-bmr/ Typically, just enter age, weight, height and activities you have done during the day. The calculator’s will do the rest and tell you how many calories you use for the whole day and when at rest. This could help you to know how to adjust your diet to either gain weight or lose weight.

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