Thursday, July 14, 2011

Scottsdale woman discovers how fine she can really feel

Two years ago, no one looking at Diane Watson would have harrumphed, "She needs to get in shape."

Today, though, the difference is noticeable.

The change began when Watson signed up for a dance-exercise class led by Tiffani Bachus, a fitness consultant and registered dietitian. The new student realized quickly how disconnected she felt from her body.

Watson, 45, wasn't overweight. She was reasonably fit for a non-exerciser. But she had little energy.

"I had always been in sort of OK shape," she says. "I just didn't know what good shape I could be in. The class kind of woke me up."

Bachus became Watson's trainer, suggesting that she keep a food journal, shopping with her for groceries, surveying her kitchen and phasing in a balanced fitness routine. An early eye-opener: Watson had 15 boxes of cereal in her kitchen cupboards.

"I was totally the empty-calories girl," the Scottsdale woman says. "I could have four bowls of cereal and not be satisfied."

To start, Bachus introduced Watson to strength training, important for increasing energy and for building muscles in the abdomen and the rest of the body's core. Muscle strength in the trunk also increases stability.

Then the trainer added step aerobics and other cardiovascular exercises, along with yoga classes to calm the mind and further strengthen the body. The combination provided balance to Watson's overall workout routine and made her more aware of her body's signals.

More important, the regimen reduced the likelihood that Watson would develop health problems ranging from osteoarthritis to depression.

Watson never weighed herself, never talked about her diet. But over time, she lost about 15 pounds and a dress size. Her body is leaner and more compact, and her energy doesn't flag. She no longer reaches for chocolate in the afternoon to get a quick but short-lived boost.

"This is not just about looking good or fitting into a certain size," she says. "It's a lifestyle choice. You make it a priority, and you become addicted to feeling good."

by Connie Midey The Arizona Republic Jul. 11, 2011 12:00 AM

Scottsdale woman discovers how fine she can really feel

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