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Gifts We Give Ourselves: December 24, 2012

In this season of giving, it’s easy to get caught up in the material things. But some of the best things in life can’t be bought. Including good health.

“We all want a pill to make us better,” says Dr. Sal Lacagnina, vice president of health and wellness with Lee Memorial Health System.

Dr. Lacagnina practiced internal medicine for almost twenty years before turning to health and wellness.

“The people that I would see that are older, that consistently ate in a healthy way and exercised every day, were not on medication. Didn’t have chronic disease, had weights that were closer to their ideal body weight and they were able to do more of things that they wanted to do,” says Dr. Lacagnina.

It may be the holy grail of health- the fountain of youth. Keeping fit and feeling young could be within our grasp, if people invested in their health.

“I tell people, learn how to eat healthy and make sure that you take at least 30 minutes a day to exercise. For me those two things are the foundation of healthy living,” says Dr. Lacagnina.

Amy Sweat battled the bulge for years. She once tipped the scales at 240 pounds.

“When you weigh over 200 pounds, looking in the mirror is not very fun,” says Amy Sweat.

Sweat vowed to get healthy.  She dropped the pounds and started running 5ks.

“This is total lifestyle change and now that I’m there, it’s hard to even imagine going back to, to what I did before, there’s no way,” says Sweat.

“What we promote is a permanent lifestyle change so anything that you do today or any change that you make today you have to be able to do that forever,” says Julie Stacey, registered dietitian with Lee Memorial Health System.

Stacey helped in the transformation.

“She’s really doing more fruits more vegetables. She plans out her meals. I truly believe that’s helped her be extremely successful,” says Stacey.

Eating a good diet, adding exercise and giving up smoking- are all gifts we can give ourselves.