By Sheila Yonemoto, PT
(First published in
The Rafu Shimpo on Dec. 8, 2011.)


Altering your life begins with changing your thinking. So, how much  are you willing to do to create an ideal healthy lifestyle?

You can prevent more than 80% of major chronic diseases by taking charge of your own life. About 91% of Type 2 diabetes could be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Certain foods trigger more insulin release from the pancreas. causing the body to store more fat. Insulin is a hormone responsible for keeping blood sugar levels in balance. All body cells use blood sugar to make energy. Blood sugar levels need to be kept in the proper ranges.

When blood sugar is too high, the pancreas releases insulin and the excess blood sugar is converted into fat. When blood sugar is low, more fat is used as fuel.  Foods with a tendency to produce high levels of blood sugar also have a tendency to increase carbohydrate cravings and the overall appetite, creating a vicious cycle of overeating.

Approximately 33% of Americans produce more insulin than is healthy. The National Institute of Health reports approximately 60% of Americans are overweight. These statistics could be lowered by simply eating healthier foods, in order to break the cycle of increasing blood sugar, which increases insulin release, which produces fat storage and increases the appetite, which goes back to increasing blood sugar.

Avoiding foods that create high blood sugar such as candy, cookies, potatoes, white rice, sweetened cereal, soda and white bread, decreases fat production and uses up fat stores more effectively. Exercise, particularly walking, helps utilize fat as a fuel. Fat is a very concentrated fuel source and needs lots of oxygen to break it down.

Aerobic exercise is very effective in trimming fat and maintaining good lung and heart function. Weight training and other strengthening exercises do not necessarily use much oxygen, but these activities build up muscle.  It is important to include both aerobic and strengthening exercises in your lifestyle to promote a good balance of organ function and muscle strength.

Walking one mile, no matter how fast, will burn 100 calories. A pound of fat produces 3,500 calories. You burn off a pound of fat in 17.5 miles of walking. Walking 2 miles per day, you can lose a pound of fat in about 9 days. Unfortunately, for every pound lost with walking, only about 55% is fat. You also lose some muscle. It is important to incorporate strength training to build up the muscles. Eating the right foods also minimizes excess fat storage and unhealthy food cravings.

You can develop lifelong guidelines for healthy living. Start by taking the first step — alter your thinking.


Get more energy, lessen stress and rid yourself of aches and pains.  Try a no-impact “Chinese Energy” exercise class at our office. Your first class ($30 value) is free! Call or visit our website for more information. 


Sheila Yonemoto, P.T., has been a physical therapist for over 30 years, specializing in Integrative Manual Therapy utilizing a holistic approach. She can be reached at Yonemoto Physical Therapy, 55 S. Raymond Ave, Suite 100, Alhambra, CA  91801. Call 626 576 0591 for a free consultation, or visit for more information. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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