Failure and the Weight Loss Resolution

Why are you likely to fail? You should start by asking yourself what it is that you want to achieve, and what are you willing to do to reach your goal. Once you have decided what your end goal is, the next step is developing a detailed plan because a goal without a plan is just a wish. This may include a specific diet, exercise plan, lifestyle changes, etc. Once you have made a road map for yourself, you are more likely to follow through with what you set out to accomplish.

It is also important to bring your friends and family into your weight loss journey. Some fall short of their goals because they made a promise solely to themselves. When left to our own resources, we have no problem letting ourselves down. If you promise someone that you will be there for them, you are far more likely to follow through. The same idea applies to weight loss. If you profess your path to weight loss to someone else, along with specific goals and time frames, you are more likely to succeed.

The keys to a good weight loss strategy:

  • Setting achievable, realistic goals
  • Developing a specific plan
  • Being persistent
  • Holding yourself accountable for setbacks
  • Involving others

Spring time has finally won!

We are over the long, dreary, cold days of winter.  Lawn mowers spring to life, wheel barrows are full of mulch, and everywhere you look, people are shoveling, stooping, and planting.  For most of us, our backs and knees are not as forgiving of an idle winter season as our flower beds.

Following an afternoon’s pleasure in the yard, we are reminded that we overindulged in an activity of which we were unaccustomed, and now we are suffering in our backs, knees, and all over our body.  

In a recent Gallop pole of 2,000 adults, nearly half suffer from back pain and half of those do so as a result of gardening.  Is that really surprising though?  We have spent the last several months inside, away from these activities, and perhaps away from any activity.  We are out of “shape,” and our muscles have become tighter and weaker.  We haven’t done anything to address those nagging aches and pains from last year.  In the spring rush of enthusiasm we then stay at tasks for hours bent over.  We lift heavy loads.  We twist, kneel, stand, and overreach.

So what’s a gardener to do?  The first and most important step is to give your body the same consideration you give your garden by spending a little time planning and preparing.

  1. Prepare:  Those nagging or recurring back or knee problems that limited you last year will still be with you if you haven’t done anything about them.   Just as athletes rehab their injuries and train in the off season, gardeners should do the same.  A comprehensive examination by a skilled physician is the first step to identifying the root cause of your pain and dysfunction.  The prescription will involve starting an appropriate exercise program of focused stretching and strengthening, or perhaps an injection of your arthritic knee may be needed.  Additionally, a  well designed, “preseason” training program of stretching and strengthening will often prevent or limit soreness or new problems. 

  2. Adjust: If you have back and or knee problems, raise the height of your flower beds or sit on a stool.

  3. Warm-up:  Begin every gardening session with some stretches provided by your therapist.

  4. Tools: Use the right tools, whenever possible use long handled, lightweight tools.
  5. Work Smart:  Avoid working in a single position more than 20 minutes.  For example, weed for a while, then prune for a while, now plant a few bulbs, etc…

  6. Bend Your Knees: To lift with ease you need to bend your knees. Plan your lifts.  If it looks too heavy ask for help.  If you do lift keep you back straight and lift with you legs.  Always carry the load close to your body.

  7. Water: Drink Lots of Water. Working muscles build up toxins.  Water helps flush them out and limits post activity soreness.

Back to school

A backpack is a great way of carrying the books, binders, supplies, lunches, gym clothes, and everything else needed for school. But, in order to carry all of those things backpacks have become larger and larger... but have they become too large and too heavy? How much is safe for your child to carry?


The American Physical Therapy Association recommends that your child's backpack should never exceed 10-15% of their body weight, although most packs are often close to 30-45% of their weight. When stresses placed on the spine exceed its ability to absorb them, spinal imbalances - and injury- will happen.  A heavy backpack, for example, can pull a child backward, causing them to compensate by either bending forward or arching their back. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can also cause a child to lean too far to the other side to offset the weight. Over time, this overcompensation can lead to poor posture, muscle strain and pain in the back, neck and shoulders. Backpacks with tight, narrow straps that dig into the skin can cause tingling, numbness, and weakness in the arms and hands.

What can you do?

  • Pack lightly.
  • Organize - heavier items closest to the back and use the compartments.
  • Use both shoulder straps, make sure they are wide and padded.
  • Tighten the straps so the backpack sits close to the back and in the middle.
  • Use a locker, don't care everything at one time.
  • Squat down, bend at the knees not the waist.
  • Encourage your child to tell you if they are experiencing pain.
  • Schedule an appointment with a doctor if they do experience any pain.