Good Health Takes Time – So, What Are You Waiting For?

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

It’s hard to believe, with temperatures in the high 80s, that we’re just a few weeks away from bundling up every morning. Normally by this time of year, we would be seeing some signs of cooler weather. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. Summer could last all year and I’d be perfectly happy. But here in Ohio, the reality is a little less perfect. Winter will come and it will be cold.

Winter is a time of year full of wonder and enjoyment. I love a snow-covered landscape, icicles hanging off the roof, and kids sledding down the hill.  In fact, I could sit inside a toasty house next to the fire with a cup of hot cocoa and stare at it for hours. But sooner or later, I have to go out in it. That’s when I start using words that are not pastor approved. Lots of ‘em.

I guess it’s a good thing that winter brings the holidays, because otherwise people like me would just sit around and sulk. And the more we sit around, the more we keep breathing the same germs that also don’t like the cold, so they just sit inside the house and breed more germs. It’s what doctors affectionately refer to as cold & flu season. And it affects most of us to some degree.

I’ve been lucky in that regard. When everyone around me is sick, I usually breeze through unscathed. If I do get anything, it just sideswipes me. I’ll get a bit of a scratchy throat or a runny nose and that’s about it. In the past few years, I’ve only had one good chest cold. That’s also about the same amount of time I’ve been taking a good plant-based vitamin. Coincidence? Maybe. But I’ll take my chances.

Lots of people start loading up on healthy foods and vitamins in the winter, because they know what’s coming. That usually starts at the first sign of a cold, and as soon as it’s over, the healthy stuff goes back on the shelf. A few weeks later, here it comes again. And we wonder why we can’t stay healthy.

How often do you take your car for an oil change? Do you wait until the engine starts making a funny noise and that flashing idiot light comes on? Or do you follow a schedule of routine maintenance? With colder weather approaching, you might want to have your furnace serviced. If you have a snowblower, now would be the time to crank it up and be sure it’s ready to roll.

We do these things because we anticipate the need, and don’t want to get caught in the cold (no pun intended) when the time comes. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We’ve all heard that, but do we really follow that advice? Is it easier to go to the store when you’re sick and stock up on cold medicine, or to start working on prevention now?

Unlike a car, where we can drain out all the dirty oil and replace it with something new in a few minutes, our bodies aren’t quite that simple. It takes about two months to completely replace your blood supply. Any changes you make that are intended to enhance your body’s ability to fight illness will require at least a couple of months to take full effect. Cold & flu season is two months away. You do the math.

If there’s something you’d do to prevent illness this winter, now is the time to get started. Give your body a head start so you don’t spend all winter fighting off colds and trying to get back to ground zero. Eat healthier. Exercise. Take some good vitamins. The changes you make today could have a profound effect on how you weather the storm.

And once the winter is over, keep up those good habits. If you slide back into your old routine, you’ll find yourself in the same position a year from now – racing the clock to see if you can build your body’s defenses before the first round of colds comes along. And we all know what happens when we try to beat the clock. Sooner or later, we lose.

Good health isn’t just for the winter. It’s not just for those summer vacations. It’s for life – every day, every week, every month, and every year. It’s about making the most of your days instead of spending them in bed. It’s about not only trying to live a little longer, but having the ability to enjoy those extra years.

Good health is the greatest asset to a long and enjoyable life. But like that dirty oil in your car’s engine, sooner or later it’ll demand your attention. It’s always easier and cheaper to avoid problems in the first place. Give yourself a fighting chance. Get started today. You’ll have the rest of your life to be thankful you did.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

We Change Tomorrow By the Choices We Make Today

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

I’ve found over the years that some things tend to change as we get older. I know, that’s no big secret, but it’s something I’ve tried to deny whenever possible. I think most of us do. But denying age is about like denying pregnancy. Sooner or later, it’ll catch up with you.

When we’re younger, we’re certain we’ll enjoy that youthful existence forever. We don’t think about getting old and the effects it’ll have on our body. We eat whatever we want, whenever we want it. We run, we play, we jump up and down, and that’s just during recess. If we get sick, we blow our nose a few times and all is well with the world.

But as we age, we begin to realize the impact of the choices we’ve made. We realize it in the way a skydiver realizes the ground is getting a lot bigger every second. It’s no longer a theory or old wive’s tale – it’s reality, in full living color. We can’t eat anything we want. In fact, we find ourselves eating a lot of things we don’t want. We do it because all of a sudden, health has become a priority.

Funny how that works. It’s like saving for retirement. If we’d all started at the age of 18 like the old folks told us to do, we’d all retire wealthy (and probably a few years early). But at that age, retirement is a lifetime away and other things are more pressing. Then the day comes when you find yourself talking like an old person – “If I could go back and change one thing in my life …” Yeah. Been there.

Well, we can’t go back and change our past, but we can change our future. If you’re suddenly realizing the ground is getting a lot bigger and you’re wondering how well you packed your parachute, you still have a backup in case the main chute fails. But you have to pull the cord on that backup early enough to break your fall.

This isn’t about skydiving. It’s about racing through life toward that age where we hope everything will slow down and bring us in for a nice, soft landing. It’s about hearing the music we never wanted to hear and having to pay the piper for playing it. And, it’s about doing what we can to negotiate a better deal before that music gets too loud.

Right now, all of us in the northern hemisphere are about two months away from cold and flu season. We’re also a few months from the holidays. Funny how those things seem to coincide every year. And few things can wreck the holidays like being sick.

Another thing to consider – the blood supply in our body lasts about two months. That’s how long it takes to flush out the impurities and replace the old cells with new ones. So, if we want to avoid sickness this winter, now is the time to do something about it.

A healthy diet is a good start, but the sad fact is most of us can never eat enough of the right foods to give our body all the nutrients it needs. That’s as much a factor of the junk we do eat as the declining nutrients in the foods we should eat. If you want to maintain your nutrient levels, supplements need to be part of your daily routine. Start with a good plant-based multivitamin and go from there.

Make no mistake – vitamins and supplements won’t cure any existing medical condition, and doctors disagree when it comes to prevention. But your body needs certain nutrients in order to fight these things on its own, so it only stands to reason that maintaining healthy levels of those nutrients will help you work through anything that does come along.

Physical health is a lot like financial health. Both take a certain amount of planning, and the choices we make today can shape our future in ways we can’t begin to imagine. I can’t go back and un-eat all those double cheeseburgers, but I can make better choices today. The ground is getting bigger, and I want to be able to enjoy my golden years instead of sitting on the sidelines.

We talk about the financial side of that equation a lot, but no amount of money can take the place of good physical health. If you’re like me, the choices we’ve made over the years are coming home to roost. But that doesn’t mean we have to accept them. Every coach knows the right play can change the outcome, even in the final seconds of the game.

Small changes, at any point in our lives, can make a world of difference. Run the right play. Make the healthy choice. The game is yours to win.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Is That You’re Eating???

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

Yesterday evening, we had to make a mid-week grocery trip. We normally have a few items to pick up here and there, but not enough to make it much of a shopping excursion. But for whatever reason, this week was different. We’re finding that some items just don’t keep as long as they used to, so we buy in smaller quantities and fill up more often. And yes, sometimes we just forget things. It happens.

In some cultures, the idea of going through a supermarket with a shopping cart filled with a week’s worth of groceries is as foreign as the thought of walking through an outdoor market full of fresh meat, breads, and produce would be to us. But that’s exactly what they do. Every morning, street vendors set out fresh food, and people buy what they need for that day. Nothing ever goes bad.

When I watch shows filmed in other countries, one thing that always catches my eye is the size of their refrigerators. They remind me of the ones we had when I was a kid – the old Kelvinators with a latch on the door and a freezer on top that needs to be defrosted with a hair dryer and ice pick every month. I’ve had one or two of those myself. What we’ve got today is a monstrosity by comparison.

And yet, we still run out of room. Every time we go shopping, something else gets pushed to the back. Then, when you need something, you can’t find it. So, you go to the store and buy more. And as you’re rearranging everything else to make room for what you just bought, you find the one that’s been sitting there all along. Except now, the expiration date has passed, and it has to be thrown out.

There’s something to be said for downsizing and only buying what we need. Freshness is never an issue, because you don’t keep things around long enough for them to go bad. Storage isn’t a problem. And it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what’s for dinner – you’re eating what you bought today because tomorrow it’ll have to be thrown out. All they really store is grains and dry goods.

And you know what? The people in those countries live longer and enjoy a better quality of life than those of us in the modernized world. They’re healthy, vibrant, and active well into their golden years for one simple reason – they didn’t allow technology to replace what nature intended.

I’ve noticed the strawberries in our local grocery store have gotten bigger over the years. I guess that could be due to improved farming practices, but I have to be honest – when I look at them I get images of a strawberry field catching the runoff from a nearby nuclear plant. It’s not very appetizing. And truly, those monster strawberries just don’t taste as good as the smaller ones anyway.

A lot of that could be the result of selective breeding, or even some level of genetic restructuring. And it’s not just strawberries. Peppers, tomatoes, bananas, and most other produce has gradually gotten bigger. I’ve seen navel oranges that are as big as a grapefruit. But, is bigger really better?

According to the USDA and agricultural universities, the nutrient levels in our produce have dropped significantly over the past fifty years, in some cases by as much as 70%. You may be filling your belly, but you’re not doing much for your body. It’s just one of the reasons nutritionists now recommend eating 7-10 servings of fruit and vegetables each day. It’s the only way to get the nutrients we need.

But how many of us actually do that? I know I don’t. If I’m being completely honest, I probably get 3-4 servings a day. Of the good stuff, that is. I get plenty of the junk I don’t need, which is why I have to keep buying these big pants. For a nation that’s so full of overweight people, we are among the most malnourished populations in the world. We’re eating plenty. We’re just not eating right.

If we could set aside a few conveniences and borrow a few habits from other countries, we could begin to turn that around. Instead of seeing how much food we can store in our refrigerators, maybe we should try shopping for a day or two at a time. Instead of loading a cart with groceries, shop with a hand basket. And instead of filling the cabinet with canned goods, fill it with beans and whole grains.

By being more selective about the foods we buy, we’re more sensible about the foods we eat. Things don’t sit around and go bad, and we don’t have to load up on preservatives in the process. When we open the refrigerator, we can find what we need. And, over the long haul, our bodies and bank accounts will both benefit as a result.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Keeping a Healthy Perspective

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

Yesterday I had a follow-up appointment with one of the surgeons who messed around with my brain last year. I keep saying I came away with no lasting effects, but there are some who aren’t so sure. I make the most of it. Every time I forget something I just say, “That must’ve been in the part they cut off.”

Well, the verdict is in and my brain is just as intact as it was before the surgery. That, in itself, should be the greater source of concern. I’ve always been a little “out there.” The only negative effect, and it’s not from the surgery itself or even the condition that led to the surgery, is my right ear still has issues. Otherwise, I’m in pretty good shape.

I was reading an article yesterday about an interesting trend in health, or at least in our perception of health. In surveys, an increasing number of people my age rate their overall health as “good” or even “excellent.” And mind you, very few of those people are without health problems or physical limitations. Some are even battling cancer. Yet they still feel like their overall health is really good.

Younger people, on the other hand, are a little less optimistic about their health. In fact, an increasing percentage of them rate their health as “acceptable” or even “poor.” These are people who, for the most part, have never faced a life-threatening condition. Yet they don’t feel as healthy as people twice their age. Why do you think that is?

It’s all about perception. The older people aren’t any healthier – they just accept some of life’s aches and pains with a little more grace. When you reach my age, you go to bed earlier and wake up tired. Joints crack and pop. Daily discomfort is par for the course. You can’t run around the block and bending over makes you dizzy. That’s life.

But it’s something we accept, because we expect it. We know that, as we get older, our bodies won’t look or feel like the body of a twenty-year-old. So, when somebody asks about our health, we don’t make that comparison. Instead, we compare it to the perception we once had of people our age. You know – back when we were twenty and thought sixty was ancient.

But when you’re in your twenties or early thirties, and begin to feel the early effects of age, it’s all new and comes as somewhat of a surprise. You’re used to feeling perfect all the time, and sore joints, lower energy, and the occasional headache make you feel … well, old. Worse yet, you know this is just the start. And trust me, it is.

I think most people my age would pay good money to wake up each day feeling as “bad” as we did thirty years ago. But we know those days are long gone, so we adapt and make the most of what’s left. Instead of lamenting the fact that we can no longer run a 100-yard dash in 12 seconds, we’re happy to be able to walk from one end of a beach to the other.

It’s all about perspective. You’re as healthy as you feel. I’ve seen people much older than me fighting a terminal illness with full acceptance of their eventual fate, and when you ask how they’re feeling they smile and say, “I feel great!” It’s not a lie, and they’re not delusional. They’ve just come to terms with the fact that you don’t have to feel perfect – you make the most of what you’ve got.

This isn’t intended to be a slam on younger people. I remember that age, and thinking my aches and pains were a sign of rapidly declining health. Worse yet, I adjusted my lifestyle to accommodate my perceived infirmities. And, along with the physical changes, I allowed myself to grow old way before my time. I was grumpy, opinionated, and generally pessimistic about the world in which we live.

Now, my wife will argue that the grumpiness hasn’t completely gone away, but overall, I feel a lot more positive about life than I did thirty years ago. Since that time, I’ve had a heart attack, a few surgeries, and a lot of lower back pain. I wear bifocals and hearing aids, and when my gout flares up, I have to use a cane. And yesterday my surgeon said I may eventually lose hearing in my right ear.

And you know what? I feel healthier today than I have in decades. I know my limitations, and I adjust my lifestyle to fit within those constraints. But aside from those little aches and pains, I feel great!

It’s been said that what we perceive to be real is real. If you feel old, you’re old. If you feel sick, you’re sick. And if you feel young and healthy, you’re … well, maybe a little less old, but still healthy.  It’s all about perspective. Make yours positive!

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

Exercise is a Good Thing – Taken in Moderation

Good morning! I hope you’re all having a fantastic day so far.

For the past several days, I’ve awakened to some pretty welcome news, courtesy of the bathroom scale. It seems I’m finally in the groove and what I’m doing is beginning to pay off. And yes, the batteries in the scale are fresh, thank you. All told, I’ve lost a total of 17 pounds since I started this downhill journey, and I couldn’t be happier.

I’m using a Body Key app on my phone that tracks my weight and chimes in with virtual pats on the back and helpful tips along the way. It’s designed to take you through three phases of the weight loss journey, with the ultimate goal of weaning you off the meal replacement products and sending you on your way lighter, healthier, and better equipped to continue toward your ultimate goal.

Yesterday morning, along with a message of praise for being a good boy, the app suggested now may be the time to start mixing in some exercise. Damn. It just had to go there! All this time we’ve been getting along so well, and now it wants me to intentionally put my body through stretching and pulling exercises that have the sole effect of making me smell bad. Just lovely.

I joke about that a lot, but I actually enjoy exercise. Well, I enjoy it while I’m doing it. Getting me to the gym is another matter entirely. There are just too many other things to do. Like watching TV, surfing the internet, or standing in the front door staring at absolutely nothing. I’d like to say I have a better excuse, but that’s about as good as it gets.

Part of my issue with exercise has been my lower back. The last several times I’ve started into a workout routine, it lasted about a week before I started walking around hunched over like an old man. Okay, an older man. Much older. Ten years at least. And as soon as that kicks in, my days of exercising are over for the time being. And it seems “time being” lasts a lot longer than it used to.

It’s the classic Catch-22. My back hurts because of all this extra weight I’ve been carrying around. If I want to lose an appreciable amount of weight, exercise is part of the formula. So, I nurse my back into reasonable shape and start exercising. And then I’m lucky to walk. Can I get an amen?

Well, with the loss so far, my back is beginning to feel better. Not great, but I can honestly say it’s more discomfort than pain, and as long as I can keep it at that level, exercise should be no problem. My problem is learning how to ease into something. As soon as I get back to the gym, I want to do it all. I get frustrated that my strength isn’t what it used to be, and I want that back. NOW.

It’s important to eat exercise. And it’s equally important to listen to your body along the way. A trick I’ve learned over the years is to go in one day, do a quick routine that includes one set of everything, but a little lighter on the weights, and then rest for a couple of days before I go back. That usually helps me avoid the typical first-workout muscle pain. You know, the kind that hits you two days later when you can’t do a thing about it.

From there, I can usually get back into a routine. And I guess I need to pay more attention to exercises I can do while seated, with full back support, instead of standing there swinging weights like Tarzan. Again, we have to listen to our body. What works for one person could destroy another. At this point, I’m even scared of the treadmill. So, I’ll do what I can do and hope for the best.

Weight loss is a problem, and if you’re suffering with it yourself, you’re not alone. Obesity is a national epidemic that’s spread to much of the world. Yet we are among the most mal-nourished people on the planet, thanks to processed food and junk. I’m learning that you can’t achieve sustained weight loss simply through diet or exercise – you have to give it the 1-2 punch.

And moderation is the key to success. Each day try to do just a little better than yesterday. Or maybe each week. Remember those Monday morning resolutions? Don’t try to do it all at once, because your body will revolt and then you’ll be worse off than you were. It’s not a race – it’s a marathon, long and slow. And the goal is simply to cross the finish line, no matter how long it takes. You can do this!

That’s all for now. Be healthy and have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved