Draw Your Own Line … Then Step To The Other Side

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

You know how something can be both good and bad at the same time? Like ice cream. I love ice cream. So does the bathroom scale. It welcomes each and every new pound with a flashing red light that says, “Hey, fat boy!” Okay, that was actually my grandson. He’s four. If my scale could speak, it would probably use a few other words. And it’s old enough to know better.

I have an office in my basement. That’s where I work every day. My car is getting like three months to the gallon. Seriously, it’s still got the same gas that was in it in December. The basement is quiet, for the most part, and pretty free of distractions. But it’s cold. Have you ever heard that cold air seeks the lowest point in the house? It’s true. I’ve done the research.

One of the nice things about working in the basement is I can tend to the laundry. When a buzzer goes off, it’s time for a short break. On the other hand, working in the basement means I can tend to the laundry. I’m already here, so that excuse goes right out the window.

I realized last week that, for the past two months, I’ve been working six feet from a refrigerator with four bottles of water and 32 bottles of beer. I think my priorities are a little messed up, especially since most of that beer has been in there at least three years. Does beer have an expiration date? I think as long as it foams up and doesn’t taste like vinegar, it’s okay.

Life is a matter of choices, not only in the things we say and do, but in the way we view the world in which we live. Take beer, for instance. I like beer. Beer likes me. What’s not to like? You know, aside from the extra calories, the feeling of sluggishness, and the fact that you’re not allowed to drive? So, we make responsible choices. We wait till bedtime so we can wake up refreshed. Right.

Okay, now you know why that beer has been sitting there for three years. Priorities change. It seemed like a good idea when I bought it. Kinda like ice cream. Except around here, ice cream doesn’t last three years. It lasts about three days. But I can down a whole bowl of ice cream in six minutes flat, and drive to the store for more. I just have to keep buying bigger pants.

For most things we do, there are benefits and consequences. The benefit may be nothing more than satisfying your taste buds or sipping a cool drink at the end of a long day. And the consequences may be nothing more than a slightly larger waistline or waking up with a mild headache. It’s all about balance. A little of the fun stuff mixed with equal parts of self-control.

That self-control may come in the form of two scoops instead of three, one beer instead of six, or letting the laundry sit until the meeting is over. It could mean mowing the lawn before you head to the lake. It might mean helping the kids with their homework when the big game is on. And it could mean getting out of that recliner to build a little more enjoyable future.

You can have anything you want, as long as you’re willing to give something up for it. And what you have to give up is pretty much in line with what you hope to gain. I was talking to a young comedian years ago about the challenges of income on the road. He said, “Sure, I want to be a star, but I’m not willing to live on the road if it means giving up my hair mousse and gel.”

Okay, for most of us the trade-off is a little more realistic, but it’s still a part of everything we do. I can build a better future, but that means I have to work. And I can sit on the porch and watch cars drive by, but that means giving up that brighter future. I can make either of those choices, or I can create a mix of my own. But I can’t have all the good with none of the work.

And even then, we have to accept the good with the bad. I love my new RV, but it takes work to keep it on the road. I love my job, but it means working when I’d rather take a day off. And I love my business, but there are parts I’d gladly pay somebody else to do.

The secret lies in finding that balance in which you give up just enough to have the things you want. It’s a line only you can draw. And once you step over that line, things begin to happen. Just make sure they’re the things you want.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Good Health Doesn’t Just Happen – You Have To Want It

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

For the first day in a week, I woke up relatively free of back pain. That’s “relatively” in the sense that my first car was relatively free of dents. You know, after I hit the open tailgate of a parked pickup truck. Most of the car was fine, but that one headlight pointed to the stars. It didn’t hurt the truck a bit. Naturally.

I’ve got a condition doctors refer to as degenerative disc disease. I don’t think it’s a disease as much as the fact that the discs in my lower back are trashed. And every now and then one slips to the side enough to let my spine sit directly on a nerve. They say the Latin term is hurtus alotus maximus. I’m not so sure about that, but I do have some pretty juicy French terms for it.

I’m told it’s just part of aging. You know, in the sense that I packed on a bunch of extra weight and it’s been sitting on my spine for the better part of thirty years. It’s like driving around with sacks of concrete in the trunk of your car. Sooner or later, you’re gonna wear out the tires. Come to think of it, I need to check them. They’ve been carrying this weight a while, too.

Lose some weight, you say? Well, thanks! Why didn’t I think of that? I’ll just get right on it. By this time next week I should be in good shape. Maybe after that I’ll go run a marathon. Oh, how I wish it were that easy. Not the marathon. I don’t run unless somebody is chasing me with a snake. Then I could outrun Jesse Owens. Only until I find a stick big enough to knock them out.

Extra body weight is a problem in this country, and in most of the world. If you don’t believe me, take a look around. Just don’t stare. Fat people don’t like that, especially if you’re skinny. If you’re fat, too, they just think you’re flirting. And fat people don’t like that. Okay, we do. We just don’t say it out loud.

The problem with body weight is that it builds slowly, giving us time to adjust. We barely notice when we need pants that are one size larger. We just blame it on the brand. “These pants must run a little small.” No, your butt runs a little big. We can say it. You’d think by the time we’re six sizes larger we’d get the hint. But no. Even then it’s only one size larger than before.

The same thing happens with our general health. We don’t really notice when we find ourselves running a little slower or waking up more tired each day. “It’s just a normal part of aging.” Well, maybe. But I think we accept that excuse a little too easily. We compare ourselves to people who are much older and decide this is normal. “We’re all headed that way.”

Well, sure. We are all headed that way. But that doesn’t mean we have to accept it without a fight. Losing weight is harder as we get older. The same is true of maintaining our health. The difference is, one comes from how much we eat and the other comes from how much we don’t eat. Sure, the gas tank is full. But if it’s full of sugar, you won’t be going very far.

Doctors tell us to eat a balanced diet with all the right nutrients. Well, guess what? In order to get all the nutrients your body needs, you’d have to eat several pounds of the right foods every day. And that’s if you could even find those foods. Most of what we can buy in the supermarket is seriously lacking in nutrients. Even fresh produce. Ever heard of soil depletion?

That’s not to say we can’t make better choices, but even a strict vegetarian has vitamin deficiencies. On the other hand, vegetarians are more likely to use supplements, because they’ve done the research and they know. As a result, most of them stay reasonably healthy later in life than the rest of us.

Our bodies were designed to convert nutrients from a broad variety of foods into the chemicals we need to thrive. Not survive – thrive. And the longer we cheat ourselves of those nutrients, the sooner we’ll feel the effects of age. Meanwhile, we’ll probably get some bigger pants to go along with it. Kinda like that hidden surprise in your cereal.

It’s all about choices, compounded over time. And right now, I can imagine there are a lot of people wishing they’d done a little more to maintain good health. There is no vitamin or supplement that’ll keep you from getting sick. But starting off healthy can make a world of difference in your recovery.

We can’t lose weight overnight, and we can’t get healthy in a day. Choices compounded over time. The sooner we start making the right choices, the longer we’ll be able to enjoy a reasonably healthy life.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Relationships are Complicated – Choose Your Food Wisely

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Weekends are a time to get caught up on all the things we let stack up during the week. Oh, we tell everybody we’re not doing anything – just sitting around the house and getting a little rest. But we know better. Rest is what we do in between errands. You know, when we’re not putting away groceries from the first errand or planning the next one. There’s never any shortage of things to do.

Grocery shopping usually tops the list. I’m sure some of you have figured a way around that. You go online, click the items you want, trust a minimum-wage employee you’ve never met to get them for you, and then just arrive at the appointed time so they can load your purchase in the car. Voila! If you trust the kid down the street to pick out produce you’ll actually eat, you’re a better man than I am.

I guess I just like the act of shopping. There’s something about sifting through the strawberries, picking the perfect steak, or checking dates on dairy products. I mean, is yogurt supposed to fart when you open it? I’m sure it’s just a sign of active cultures, but the same can be said for curdled milk. I like to know what I’m buying is at least supposed to be fresh.

Besides, if you shop online, you’ll miss all those extras that are strategically displayed throughout the store because the retailer knows you’d never think about them otherwise. And that’s where we blow both the grocery budget and our diet. It’s been estimated that Americans spend an average of $5,400 a year on impulse purchases, and 71% of those are food. Well, in a strictly literal sense.

I’m not sure a lot of that stuff actually qualifies as food. Just because you can eat it, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Every product we pick up has nutritional information on the label. That’s required by law. As if that would stop us. You could put a label on potato chips that says, “This product will clog your arteries and make you even fatter than you already are” and I’d still buy them.

Doctors have suggested we should have a healthy relationship with food. Well, if love is the basis of a healthy relationship, then food and I are on solid ground. I talk a lot about health, and I do believe we need to focus a lot more on nutrition. But when somebody invents broccoli that tastes like a bacon cheeseburger, we’ll talk. Until then, I’ve just agreed to know my limitations and work with them.

For me, that means trying to eat at least one healthy meal for every piece of junk I eat. Which is probably why my weight never comes down. I’m eating a lot of healthy stuff, but I’m eating a lot of junk to go along with it. A protein bar doesn’t do a lot of good if you wash it down with glazed donuts. I take supplements – good ones. I keep them in the cabinet next to a bag of M&Ms.

Okay, I’ve had a little fun with this today, and I hope you have, too. The bottom line is that, if we hope to live to a ripe old age without becoming overly ripe, we need to pay a little closer attention to the things we put in our body. That begins at the grocery store, when we’re deciding what choices we’ll get to make in the coming week. Go in with a healthy mindset, and those choices will be good.

That’s not to say you won’t yearn for a chocolate bar during the week. So, instead of finding one on the candy aisle, look for something a little healthier. Maybe something with mixed nuts and berries, bonded together with a little chocolate. You can find them in stores but read the labels. Many times, they’re no better for you than a candy bar.

I’ve found some healthy alternatives online. And the beauty of shopping there is I don’t have to walk past the potato chips and candy bars at the checkout line. You know, things that cost half as much and make you twice as fat. And when it comes to nutritional value, there’s no comparison. Sure, I love a good candy bar as much as anyone. But the older I get, the more I realize they don’t love me back.

A healthy relationship with food means it loves you as much as you love it. And long after the taste is gone, your body is left to deal with the choices you make. Keep that in mind as you walk through the store or make your selections online. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. With the right choices, you can enjoy an incredibly tasty meal and hang around to tell your grandkids about it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

A Healthy Future Begins With the Choices You Make Today

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Well, April is over. Did you accomplish the things you’d planned during the month? I got started, if that counts. I guess it depends who’s keeping score. But you know how that works. Still, May is less than 24 hours away and, just like a brand-new week, it’s another chance to start over and get some things done.

Yesterday I mentioned how productive I was Sunday. I also mentioned that instead of the fifteen-minute sprints I’d recommended, I cleaned for a few straight hours, and then mowed the lawn. I felt pretty productive. But yesterday morning, my lower back decided to make me pay for it. By noon, I was in agony. It happens. And if this morning is any indication, today won’t be any better.

There are consequences for the things we do to our body. In my case, it’s a combination of age, weight, and too many years of treating my back like it was made of steel. Bad posture, poor lifting, and all those endless hours bouncing down the road in a vehicle with little to no lumbar support. Sooner or later, you have to pay the piper.

And of all those things, the only one I can do anything about today is my weight. It’s really a simple concept – the more weight you carry above your lower spine, the more that weight presses down on it. And the discs at the bottom get all the abuse. Lose the weight, and there’s less for the spine to support. Voila!

If only it were that simple. Anybody who’s ever tried to lose weight knows how hard it can be. I’m on a program that works, when I stick with the program. I’m back on it, and the results are beginning to show. But all it takes is a few days of hot lunches and the next thing you know, nothing but a hot lunch will do. Ice cream before bed becomes a habit just as quickly.

But as I said, there are consequences for the choices we make. Some are good, some not so good. Beyond just our weight, our body’s physiological health is largely determined by what goes in our mouth. And too much of anything just isn’t good. Especially when that “anything” isn’t good for you to begin with.

You’ve heard the term “empty calories.” It’s how we describe food (I use the word loosely) that’s rich in calories and devoid of any redeeming nutritional value. Twinkies would be at the top of the list, followed closely by donuts, potato chips, and a whole host of other items we know we shouldn’t be eating. But we do it anyway. And then we do it again. After all, nobody can eat just one.

That advertising slogan from the early 1960s hit the nail on the head. It was almost a challenge. “Betcha can’t eat just one!” And the truth is, your body is engineered to take that challenge and prove them right. Unless it’s a flavor you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, every one you eat makes you want at least one more. Next thing you know the bag is empty and you’re stuffed.

There’s a simple reason for that. When we eat simple carbohydrates, our body immediately turns those carbs into glucose. We get a mild energetic boost that we may not even notice, but it’s there. Until it’s not there, which happens in a matter of minutes. Then the boost is gone, and your body wants it back. And the cure is all so simple – just eat a few more.

I’m not even sure Frito Lay knew the science behind that slogan back in the 60s, but we know it today. And still, every grocery store has an entire aisle devoted exclusively to salty high-carbohydrate snacks.

We have choices during the day. Instead of refined carbs, we can choose more complex carbs. A piece of celery may not seem all that appealing at first, but if the only goal is to satisfy the urge to snack, it gets the job done. If you don’t like celery, try an apple or an orange. Don’t like fruit? Then maybe some sunflower seeds or a handful of mixed nuts.

We have all kinds of options at our disposal. And nobody says you can’t eat a few potato chips from time to time. It’s all about moderation and offsetting those lapses with a few healthier choices the rest of the day. We can eat anything we want and still remain healthy. We just can’t eat it all in the same day.

Healthy choices aren’t always as appealing, and they do take a little more planning. But as you age, your body will reward you for whatever choices you made along the way. Make sure that reward is something you’d choose.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s All About the Choices We Make

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

As many of you know, I’ve been on a journey to lose weight. And it’s not just a few pounds I need to lose – we’re talking about a third of my body weight. I’ve had some good days and some not so good, but overall the good days are winning. Still, it doesn’t take much to set things back. One weekend on the road, sitting in a car and eating road food, is enough to turn things around.

It seems we always look for the perfect excuse to explain why we’re not doing the things we need to do. It’s too cold outside. It’s too hot. There’s nothing healthy on the menu. The gym is too crowded this time of day. My favorite TV show is on. And my all-time favorite … it was a buffet! What do you expect when you hand me an empty plate in front of all that food???

It’s all about choices, and we make them all the time, even when we’re not really thinking about it. I always got a kick out of people going into McDonalds and ordering a Big Mac, large fries, apple pie, and a diet Coke. Nice try, but at that point, I don’t think diet anything will do much good. You might as well just go for the real thing.

When I stepped on the scale this morning, it rewarded me for a weekend of poor choices. Okay, and a couple of days since the weekend as well. Once you get out of the habit of eating healthy, even for a few days, your body is so happy to have its comfort food back that you tend to just keep on going down the same path. At least I do. And it takes effort to turn it around.

Maybe the wiser choice would have been to just stay on the program in the first place. I have healthy things I could have taken on the road with me. I didn’t have to eat fast food. I could have eaten a salad instead of a burger. Or a plate of fresh fruit with breakfast instead of hash browns. The fact is, I looked at all the tasty things on that menu and threw weight loss right out the window.

Warm weather has finally arrived, and around my house, that means it’s time to fire up the grill. My wife loves grilling out, because I do it. Somehow, she’s never figured out how to light a grill or set the perfect cooking temperature. I’m beginning to think I shouldn’t have been so eager to learn how to use a washing machine, but that’s another story.

But even with the grill, we have choices. I can cook hamburgers and hot dogs, or I can cook skinless chicken and shrimp. I can cook barbecued ribs or lean pork. I can cook steaks or salmon. Okay, that last one is just for me. I’m not even allowed to cook it in the house and nobody else will eat it. Still, it’s a choice I can make. And I have little doubt I’ll make the wrong choice a bunch of times this summer.

And that’s okay. We’re only human. But when we make the wrong choice, we should at least try to minimize the damage with some of our other choices. And no, diet soda doesn’t count. Maybe some fresh fruit as a side dish, and a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. Maybe a healthy lunch on days when I know we’re having ribs for dinner.

And maybe it’s as simple as eating a little less of the bad stuff instead of gorging. People who are trying to lose weight call that a “cheat day.” They’ll even tell you it’s important to do that every now and then. I’m not so sure about that, but even if you do cheat a little, that doesn’t mean you have to go wild. Keep it in check and balance it with some healthier choices. Minimize the damage. That’s all.

We face choices every day. At work, at home, at mealtime, in family interaction, in our personal goals, at the grocery store, driving past the gym, and dozens of other times during the day. It’s the things we choose that make the difference. They shape our being, they shape our body, they shape our relationships, and they shape our future. Mistakes are inevitable. But keeping our eye on the goal is what determines where we end up.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved