The Danger of Auto-Pilot

06-13-16 (2)_edited-1The Danger of Auto-Pilot

“Those moments during your day when you are not really
directing your thoughts and behavior.”

Mel Robbins – interview with Success Magazine

Truth be told, Patty and I both are still held captive by our jobs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful, but for a large percentage of the population, their job won’t get them to retirement. For most people they just don’t see a way out. And when they complain to me and I offer to show them some options that Patty and I have discovered, usually the door slams shut. That’s the danger of auto-pilot.

Just last weekend as we enjoyed the summer weather and music at one of our favorite hangouts. The gentleman at the next table commented that his Teamster pension will run out in 10 years. I recently spoke with new neighbor who was forced to downsize because his pension was cut.

Work and work ethic is honorable. However blind loyalty to a company can be disappointing. Patty had to start over after 36 years of loyal service to her company. I’m advising my children and the young people I meet continue to work hard, but have a Plan B. Go to college, get a good job, work 40 hours (or more) a week for 40 years and retire on 40 percent of what you formerly had to live on…  if you are lucky. Or you can make your own luck by owning a business.

So Mike if you’ve made to retirement, I celebrate your journey and success. According to the United States Census 2013, a lot of baby boomers won’t be able to retire… and I would add, as long as they stay on auto-pilot. But everyone can make the choice to take the helm back again with a little open mindedness and adventurous spirit.

Speak Your Onions

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Stop Screwing Yourself

screwThe Title Speaks for Itself

How To Stop Screwing Yourself

This is twenty-one minutes of common sense that might just flip the switch for you.

Inspiration and Fun...

You might be asking yourself what does inspiration and fun have to do with weight-loss and health. It's the garnish and spice to optimal living. Communicate with me privately (immediately below) or publish your thoughts on the web in the "Speak Your Mind" box at the bottom of the page.

Teetotaler Looking For Liver Transplant

obesity-fatty-liver-diseaseEvery chemical that makes it into your bloodstream – be it through your lungs, stomach, or skin – meets up with your liver at some point. Since your liver is your body’s best defense when it comes to filtering out all those toxins, you need to treat it well.
– Suzanne Somers

Teetotaler Looking For Liver Transplant

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease caused by obesity. The headline in the St. Louis Post Dispatch begs the question, ‘What causes obesity and how do you fix it?” Don’t ask the question and you might have to get in line for a liver transplant.

It is rather ironic that a clean living church going person can suffer from the same liver disease that alcoholics are best known for, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, and their only sin is that they are obese. Even worse, this condition can show up in children too.

Dr. Mauricio Lisker-Melman from Washington University believes awareness is important because obesity is on the rise, (I think it’s obvious – just look around) and recommends lifestyle changes for those wishing to avoid or mitigate such a condition while admitting lifestyle change is rare and difficult to achieve.

There is much debate as to the genesis of the obesity epidemic, but I think the doc nailed it when he used the word “lifestyle”. My research leads me to believe that in most cases it is not sloth and gluttony, it’s not genetics, it is lifestyle which includes our culture, our agriculture, our environment at work  and home, stress, education, economic social and political influences – bottom line it’s life in 2015.

I am not a doctor, I’m a coach and as such assist the people I engage in becoming intentional about their weight loss. Once we make progress there, add an education and support that will fuel a lifestyle change. One of the top hospitals in the country, The Cleveland Clinic came up with this list of benefits as a result of intentional weight loss (they offer bariatric surgery).

Benefits of Intentional Weight Loss

As you can see, simply losing the excess weight could considerably improve this and other conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure to name a few regardless if you choose surgery, Weight Watchers, NutriSystem or my program achieve your goal.

To our own detriment, we as a culture have accepted obesity as the norm. The solution comes with the realization that obesity will eat you alive. Don’t delegate your wellness to your physician (they don’t have time) and don’t leave your diet up to the closest vendor. Be intentional about your health and create awareness in those you love and care about lest you find yourself looking for liver transplant.

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Sugar Buzz

10-27-14-sugar comparison_4web“I bought a five-pound sack of sugar. Now I just need to buy a cup of coffee to dump it in.”
Jarod Kintz

“Want a Coke?” Abra asked. “Sugar solves lots of problems, that’s what I think.”
― Stephen King, Doctor Sleep

Sugar Buzz

On March 5th this year, CBS news reported that the World Health Organization was lowering its sugar intake recommendations from 10 percent of your daily calorie intake to 5 percent. That would be six teaspoons for a 2000 calorie per day diet. Oddly enough the webpage with this recommendation no longer exists. I wonder if the World Health Organization is feeling some heat from agribusiness? After all this recommendation could have a deleterious on their bottom line because of the 600,000 food products out there, 80 percent have added sugar. We’re talking about everything from soup to nuts like bread, peanut butter, ketchup, supposedly healthy yogurt, barbeque sauce, breakfast cereals, canned fruit, supposedly healthy fruit juices, sweet and sour dishes, pasta sauce, dried fruit, supposedly healthy granola bars, energy drinks, flavored instant oatmeal, salad dressing, coleslaw (it’s the dressing), tomato soup, flavored soy or almond milks, chocolate milk (is gross), most bakery products and Halloween candy. Boo!

Besides all that, who has just one soda a day?

If Americans wise up and abide by the recommend guideline, gigantic food concerns would see a serious dip in sales. The USDA estimated in 2000 that Americans were consuming 150 pounds of sugar per year. I had to pull out my abacus to figure this one out but here goes. Since there are 454 grams in a pound multiplied by 150 pounds per year divided by 365 days in a year it appears that on average, Americans are consuming 187 grams/day, a far cry from the 25 grams recommended in the new standard, or even the 50 grams in the old standard.

So why is getting a sugar buzz such a big problem? Closely linked to obesity but also occurs in people of normal weight, the answer is metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of chronic diseases that will slowly but surely rob you of quality of life and run up your medical costs creating a burden on the system. Experts agree that most of these diseases are preventable with proper diet and life-style. The most common are type two diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, hyper tension, insulin resistance, high cholesterol and others.

I created the graphic to demonstrate how one soft drink is almost three times the recommend sugar intake for a healthy diet. Once you take into account all the rest of the meals and snacks for the day, the image would be full of sugar cubes with red dots. And if that doesn’t at least cause you to pause, take a walk through your grocery store and see what the obviously less healthy people have in their grocery cart. If your cart looks similar, it might be an indication of your future health path.

If the sugar buzz has got you down… maybe you hate the way you look and feel, the good news is there are skills and tools that can help you change and even reverse some of the damage already done.

So if you are ready to (d)Evolve™

If you are tired of the struggle and are looking to (d)Evolve...Try Coaching For a Change

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Healthy Criticism

Healthy Criticism_4webCriticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
– Winston Churchill

Healthy Criticism

I’ve been blogging for years and was proud that my last article, Right to Eat – Exercise it wisely was published in the health section of the Labor Tribune a regional union newspaper. However, when I showed the article to an esteemed coach colleague, she thought the article sounded, for a lack of a better term, “stodgy”. Ouch! No wonder the Pulitzer Prize Committee hasn’t come knocking on my door.

In person, I think I’m fun to be around and for years I’ve been billing myself as the VP of Fun and Inspiration. My goal is to be motivational, inspirational, humorous, a little pithy and insightful. But the dark images that crept through my mind regarding my writing skills; stodgy, frumpy, dull, same ole same ole panged me – in a good way. And after thinking about it some more, I admit that “eat your veggies, read labels” is boring and really isn’t news or helpful. If it was, we’d all be fit as a fiddle. Healthy criticism.

On the subject of healthy criticism, has anyone like your doctor, spouse or friend ever suggested you might benefit by losing a little (or lot) of weight? How about that person in the mirror? Maybe Jack LaLanne’s “Fit as a Fiddle Commendation Committee” hasn’t come knocking at your door. In my experience as a coach, I’ve observed a wide range of responses to this assessment from flat out denial, fear of failing (again), shame, embarrassment, confusion or maybe even a pang nudging them to consider change.

So, how would I begin coaching a person considering change? I’d say to you, “Lets first put this in perspective. Life is not a fifty yard dash, it’s a journey. There are no quick fixes or magic pills. So enjoy the ride. Breathe deep and relax. Congratulations for taking the first step and making the decision to take control of your health.”

Think about these things too.

  • There is no one right way. There are principles of good nutrition and health are universal and how you use them will be unique to your journey.
  • The benefits. Many people who get to a healthy weight are able to reduce or eliminate medications (for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and others), have improved self-image, become more productive, feel better with more energy and simply become more fun.
  • Realize that you bring value to your family, community and work place and that your investment of education and discipline will pay huge returns.

Finally consider the future. Picture yourself enjoying your passions whether they be family, community, fishing, travel, retirement or whatever. All of it will be more enjoyable with your improved health.

So if you are ready to (d)Evolve…

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Right To Eat – Exercise It Wisely

cp-ss-fatguy-2Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health…. He lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived. -Unknown

Right To Eat – Exercise It Wisely.

Life didn’t always come with the guarantee of three squares a day. Our earliest ancestors were hunter gatherers. The human body, the survival machine that it is, kept the species alive by hoarding calories. If you were fortunate enough to eat more in a day than your body required it stored it as fat because tomorrow just might be lean and you could live off your fat until the next kill or find.

Even after evolving into agricultural age of farming and domestic livestock, the right to eat still wasn’t guaranteed. Bad weather could wipe out your crop for the year or disease could infect your herds. Still our calorie hoarding survival machine bodies worked to keep up alive.

It wasn’t that long ago that fresh fruit was a seasonal part of the human diet. You ate it in the fall and added a layer of fat which got you through the winter. Now fruit (and fruit sugar) is available all year around and your body will hoard those excess calories anticipating the coming winter and scarcity – which never comes, at least here in America, so you keep packing on the fat. This is not only a local or national problem but has become a world wide epidemic.

“Once just a problem of wealthy nations, obesity now impacts countries at all economic levels, bringing with it a wave of ill health and lost productivity.” – Harvard School of Public Health.

Living in America, the greatest nation on the face of the earth, pretty much guarantees you the right to eat. But with every right comes a responsibility and consequences for our choices. The consequence for ignoring your health is that it will go away and with it, everything you’ve worked for and fought to acquire.

Solving a national problem can be difficult. But what about the ill health and lost productivity that may affect you personally? There are answers that can improve the quality of your life and changes that you can implement beginning today that can improve your health outcome.

In closing I’d like to suggest that you think about the important things you have; family, faith, property, wealth and health and to ask yourself if you’ve focused enough on your health then re-balance your priorities if you need to.

Here’s three tips to help you wisely exercise your right to eat.

  • Learn to read food labels and cut back on sugar. Of the 600,000 food products available, over 80% have added sugar.
  • Begin to eat more meals that are lean and green. Lean protein and green vegetable. A steak and potato is less than ideal. Try a steak and broccoli (at least sometimes).
  • Eat less processed foods (and more whole foods). These foods are typically high glycemic (which I’ll will cover in a future article).

Fourth and finally, if you are ready to (d)evolve and trim down that calorie hoarding survival machine that you inhabit, try coaching for a change.

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More Important Than The Goal

GoalsWhat you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

– Henry David Thoreau

More Important than the Goal.

On June 17 I wrote a blog entitled “60 the New 50” and that I intended to meet my son in Wyoming in July to see if could scamper the two mile 2000 vertical feet to the top of Medicine Bow Peak 12,013 above sea level, in under 2 hours. On July 25 we arrived at the summit in an hour and fifty minutes – not to bad for a 60 year old guy coming from Saint Louis about 500 feet above sea level.

Summit Success

Summit Success

Having Reached My Goal, Now What?

This is where people that I coach get tripped up. More important than the goal itself is what comes next? Let’s just say a person has a goal to lose 50 pounds. Once they achieve that goal what usually happens? They think they are rewarding themselves and revert to their former poor dietary habits. It’s called yo-yo dieting and is very unhealthy.

How would it sound to you if you knew I’d been training for this hike and climb for 2 months, then once achieving my goal, become a beer drinking couch potato?

What is more important than the goal is to take some time to reflect upon what achieving it has caused you to become, and what is next for you in your life.

When it comes to weight loss, what have you become? Stronger, healthier, vibrant, confident and more energetic? So the important thing to do is to is to discover “your why” for living. Are you alive on this planet for a purpose, to complete a mission or to fulfill a divine destiny? What is your passion? Maybe it’s service to your fellow man, or travel or philanthropy. All of which will be enhanced your your good health or hindered by your poor health.

For me, my why includes being actively around for my children, grand children, family, friends, engaging life in the sand volleyball courts and (candidly) I need a little more time to correct some mistakes I’ve made. For me, summitting  Medicine Bow Peak this year is just a prelude to a some Colorado “14er” calling my name on my 61st birthday. And having that in mind helps me make healthy choices moving forward.

How about you? Maybe you or someone you know is ready to evolve to a better state having recognized that their current path will not turn out well and will be a disappointment. If you are ready to make things different, try coaching for a change.

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A Matter of Individual Choice

Label-apple-cookies“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”
― Albert Einstein

A Matter of Individual Choice

I was hunting and gathering the other day and right at the entrance of one of my favorite foraging grounds was a whole pallet of these cookies (little devils) for only a buck a bag. So I consciously made the choice to waste a dollar in order to create this image.

The cookies look like a good deal to your genetic programming for survival; take the calories when you can because you’re never quite sure when you’ll find another berry patch. Additionally, just to survive, you’ll have to kill a deer with your bare hands today and then fight off a saber tooth tiger just to hang on to your booty.

Right about now you are thinking, “this author is being facetious” – (read a smart ass). I prefer facetious but will take either if I’ve made a point. For most of us, these calorie hoarding survival machines we call our body will be stuck at a desk for 8 hours, then in traffic for an hour, then in front of a television for a couple more hours, give or take a couple. Therein lies the problem – no saber tooth tigers giving you a work out. So intellectually, it doesn’t make sense to take the extra calories, but the hunger biologically is still there.

It’s that biological hunger that the food companies and marketeers use to their advantage to create a profit for their corporations at the expense of your health and wallet. They justify the design and merchandising of these processed foods by propounding the myth as fact that all calories are equal and that how many calories and individual consumes and burns is a matter of individual choice.

Really, your choices aren’t as broad as you might think. Ten giant corporations control ninety percent of the food in America. But you still can make the choice to control your own personal environment, thereby limiting your exposure to biological temptations and pitfalls.

For this example, choose to walk past the pallet. There are two obvious problems with the bag of cookies. First there are seven servings in each bag. ‘bet you can’t eat just one. Secondly there is zero dietary fiber which means the sugar will hit your system fast, raising your insulin levels and driving the calories to fat. It’s the survival mechanism, storing energy for leaner times. However the leaner times never come. Not in America.

Now consider the apple;more filling, full of micro and macro nutrients, 116 calories (‘bet you only eat just one), 23grams of sugar tempered with 5.4 grams of dietary fiber to slow the absorption of the sugar allowing your body to use it for energy rather than being overloaded and having to store it as fat.

The choice is simple, isn’t it?

It will take a lot of public and political will before the food companies change their ways. However if you woke up this morning and aren’t satisfied with your appearance and health. Maybe your energy is low or the type 2 diabetes is starting to take it’s toll. It’s not hopeless, there are answers.

You set your health as a priority today as a matter of individual choice by getting educated, changing your environment and getting coached. It’s not as difficult as you might think. Try it for a month and see what you can do.

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Nutrition Facts

sugar in orange juice“Education consists mainly of
what we have unlearned”
– Mark Twain

Nutrition Facts

One of the first things you should notice (in the image on the left) is that the Committee On Divine Design didn’t feel the need to put a “Nutrition Facts” label on the orange.

Next, I have a question for you. You’ve probably noticed that the orange juice has over twice the amount of calories and sugar than the original, but what’s missing from the “All American” breakfast beverage?


Fiber, both soluble and insoluble work together in the intestine to slow the absorption of sugar (and carbohydrates), and therefore allows your insulin levels to remain in a healthy (non fat storing) range.

If you want a sugar buzz, and don’t want a Coke first thing in the morning, have a glass of orange juice. But you’ll have to be willing to endure the “crash” afterward, once the pancreas and liver do their jobs. By the way, as I understand it, fructose (fruit sugar) and alcohol go through a similar metabolic process in the liver. So drinking the OJ is similar to having a beer or shot of vodka, only without the buzz. After I made this photo, I poured the OJ down the sink because given the choice, I’ll take the vodka.

sugar in cokeSpeaking of Coke, I bought a bottle and made a photo of the “Nutrition Facts” label.  (When Coke first came out, I think it was served in 6oz bottles and maybe people would have one a week – not so bad.) Anyway, there’s 65 grams of sugar in a 20oz serving of Coke now a days. After I made the photo, I gave the bottle to a friend. Hmmmmm…. Maybe I’m a lousy friend.

Speaking of sugar, how much should one consume on a daily basis? The World Health Organization is dropping its sugar intake recommendations from 10 percent of your daily calorie intake to 5 percent. For an adult of a normal body mass index (BMI), that works out to about 6 teaspoons — or 25 grams — of sugar per day. But if you go by the Iowa normal BMI (35) you could raise the intake to 30 grams.

As parents, my wife and I didn’t believe in feeding our children cow’s milk. (That was our choice, but it drove her parents crazy and they’d sneak the kids a glass of milk when we’d visit. Oh well, they survived both our parenting choices and the grand parents meddling.) We did make sure they had calcium and vitamin D in their diet. As new borns we used breast milk, and after that healthy foods and goat’s milk when we could get it. As an adult, I’ll start drinking milk when I see a cow drinking milk (my choice, not a “fact”). As far as I know, only calfs drink milk. But that’s beside the point. Feel free to feed your kids milk if you like, but here are a couple more nutrition facts.

label-chocolate-milkThe low fat white milk has 11 grams of sugar (lactose) along with 8 grams of protein while the chocolate milk has 28 grams of sugar. When you do the math that’s 17 grams of added sugar. Another way to look at it is a glass of milk plus 5 oz of Coke. I wonder if this has anything to do with childhood obesity?

My intention was to title this blog the “5 breakfast foods you thought were healthy but aren’t”, however I’m already over 500 words and that’s about where I like to end it. To be continued though…

Feel free to “Speak Your Mind” at the bottom of this page. I enjoy hearing your thoughts – pro or con.

If you or someone you know is struggling, or just simply hates the way they look and feel, and have failed with diets and life-style changes, maybe coaching would help.

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60 The New 50

The New Healthy 60“I’m sixty years of age. That’s 16 Celsius.”
– George Carlin

“Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.”
– Chili Davis

60 The New 50

I’ve been told by some generous people that I don’t look 59 (soon to be 60). When they ask my secret I explain that I’ve spent half my money and time on women and booze. When they ask what I did with the other half I have to confess that I just wasted it — just kiddin’.

Candidly speaking, I’ve been agonizing over this milestone. I honestly don’t know how I got here or where the time has gone and I feel like there is so much more left to accomplish. After wrestling with this inescapable fact for quite some time I’ve changed my mind and decided to embrace the fact that I’ll be turning 60 next Monday. But that doesn’t mean that I plan to grow up.

Medicine Bow Peak

Medicine Bow Peak

I am planning to celebrate by meeting my son in Wyoming and see if I can still cover the 2000 vertical feet to the summit of Medicine Bow Peak (12,013 above sea level) in about 2 hours.

I’ve already gone to the doctor for my 60 (thousand mile) checkup. He asked me the secret to my youthful appearance. You already know the answer. I got the blood work done even though I’m very skittish around needles but worth it to find out “all systems are go”.

I’m going to treat myself too, by getting my bicycle tuned up, scheduling a massage, playing volleyball once or twice a week and hanging out with family and friends

One treat you won’t find at this celebration is cake and ice cream. Sorry that’s two things, and sorry – I know I’m flying in the face of everything that’s patriotic and traditional. I won’t eat it and would feel bad contributing to the delinquency of your diet. As a coach, I know that too much sugar (or anything for that matter) is bad for us. “The average person consumes 150 pounds of sugar per year–compared to just 7 ½ pounds consumed on average in the year 1700. That’s 20 times as much!” –  Dr. Oz. I know some will take exception to my remarks (bakery owners, stock holders in sugar and food companies and some other thick headed folks) but my answer to them is a statement made by the 15th century physician Paracelsus, “The dose makes the poison”. The poison in this case contributes to metabolic syndrome (read cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc) which will put you under.

Since I have feel like I have so much left to accomplish before I depart this planet I’m going to treat my body like the temple that it is in order to get the most out of the time I have left (however long it may be), and do my best to make 60 the new 50.

I personally want to thank you for taking your precious time to read my blog. Hopefully you’ll take away some inspiration or insight. I’d love to see your comments at if you care to leave them at the bottom of this page. I’ve got to stop writing for now because I have to make an appointment for my colonoscopy. Oh boy…

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