Wellness starts with positive attitude (and the right fats)|By JEFF HAMMOND

If your New Year's resolution was to get in shape, then, my friend, feel better because this is the year that you will finally make
Sandusky Register Staff
May 9, 2010


If your New Year's resolution was to get in shape, then, my friend, feel better because this is the year that you will finally make it happen.

To be healthy it takes a positive attitude, good diet and proper exercise. One without the others just won't do.

The first place I like to make changes is attitude. From now on no matter what obstacles you face in life believe something good will happen from it and go about accomplishing your goal.

Part of having a positive attitude is increasing the omega-3s in your diet and cutting back on omega-6s. Most studies indicate that populations that consume high amounts of omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs)-- mostly from fish -- enjoy lower rates of depression.

In a recent study published in the "Journal of Lipid Research," researchers compared the brains of rats genetically "programmed" to experience chronic depression with brains of normal rats.

Specifically, the brains of the depressed rats had higher levels of arachidonic acid, a long-chain unsaturated fatty acid that the body makes from dietary omega-6 EFAs.

Lead researcher Dr. Pnina Green of Tel Aviv University noted that prior animal studies indicate that increased omega-3 fatty acid intake may reduce brain levels of arachidonic acid, which could account for the anti-depression effects of omega-3 fatty acids.

The main sources of omega-6 essential fatty acids are vegetable oils -- especially corn, cottonseed, soy, sunflower and safflower --found in most prepared and processed foods, including margarine (in which they are hydrogenated, so their nutritional value has been eliminated).

So again I will say to be happier and healthier you need to increase your long chain omega-3s and decrease your omega-6s, but for another reason as well.

While omega-3s have been called "Mother Nature's anti-inflammatory," omega-6s are their pro-inflammatory counterpart, and compete with omega-3s in the body for enzymes needed to accomplish their many respective tasks.

Ideally, one wants a dietary balance where each is allowed to conduct their metabolic assignments efficiently and effectively.

But when, as is typically the case, omega-6s dominate the diet all kinds of problems occur.

While historically the ideal dietary ratio is thought to have been about even, or perhaps 2-1 in favor of omega-6s, presently the ratio is often 20 or even 40 to 1.

We must lower the ratio.

Now, a little about me

All my life I have been fascinated with muscle and have been involved in the wellness lifestyle one way or another.

I have always been active in sports and started lifting at 13. "Iron Man Magazine" did a feature on me called "Love at First Lift" that pretty much says it all -- I do love lifting weights.

They also did a feature on me called "Having Fun at Fifty" which, because of the age, really means a lot to me.

For more than 20 years, I coached numerous sports ranging from youth leagues all the way up to varsity softball. I hung up my coaching cap to become a certified personal trainer and did a lot of traveling, most recently to Columbus to train models. Due to the traveling I do as a photojournalist for fitness events and writing for "Bodytalk Magazine," "Status Fitness Magazine," and my Web site, I have cut back my trips to Columbus. Now I am training people at The Gym in the Huron Plaza and at Gym 24 at 419 W. Perkins Ave.

I have a personal training business called Make 'Em Sweat BodySculpting based mainly through my Web site, makemsweat.com, from which I train people throughout the country.

Jeff Hammond is a personal trainer and a regular columnist for FIT magazine. He can be reached at 419-239-1708 or jeff@makemsweat.com