Hard Work; A Lesson Learned From My Youth

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I wasn’t an athletic youth, but I always participated in sports related activities.  As kids we didn’t have video games, Facebook, computers or five hundred cable channels to occupy our time.  We played outside; in the parks, in the streets or in vacant lots — anywhere we could find a spot, we played sports.  Football, baseball and basketball where the big three.  But we also made up games that involved physical activity, we even had our own neighborhood Olympic Games.  Being overweight, I wasn’t the best,  I was often picked last, but still — I participated.

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

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Over the summer between eighth and ninth grade I decided I was going to go out for football.  No matter how ridiculous it sounds in retrospect, I was going to play for the Pittston Area Patriots, Penn State Nitnany Lions and finally I would play in the National Football League.

Summer program was the first step along my path.  My mom dropped me off at the front entrance to the high school.  Instead of turning right and going into the gym, I went straight. Beyond a second set of glass doors my gaze was fixed on the trophy case.  Little statuettes of championship seasons stared back at me, but it was the center item that had my full attention — the number 44 jersey worn by Jimmy Cefalo.

I daydreamed about playing on the gridiron wearing the Pittston red, white a blue.  I didn’t see nor hear anything else. Suddenly my day slumber was broken by a large hand that had fallen over my shoulder, it was that of legendary head football coach Bob Barbieri.  “You are going to be part of this son.”

I just nodded my head.  It was as if the hand of God himself had touched me.  He continued, “Jimmy was the best, a natural talent, but do you know what made him great?”

I couldn’t speak.  I simply stared at the jersey and then the coach.  “He worked and practiced harder than anyone else.”  He paused for a moment,  “In his time here he set track records as well as football, but no matter what he did, he didn’t rely solely on his natural abilities.”  Still awestruck I said nothing. Coach Barbieri led me down to the gym.

I only was on the team for two seasons.  I never started, heck I barely played, but I worked hard and enjoyed the game.  However, I took from those two years valuable lessons about hard work, maximizing potential and that winners were more than born — that even the best still had to practice.

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If you live or lived in Northeast Pennsylvania and are around my age then you are acquainted with the names Jimmy Cefalo and Bob Barbieri.  I never knew Jimmy Cefalo beyond a handful of meetings,  but in addition to being Coach, Bob Barbieri was an teacher at the school.  His lessons extended beyond the football field and beyond the classroom, they extended into life.  They are lessons I used getting through boot camp, college, business and in overcoming obesity.  His words about Jimmy Cefalo echoed in my head when I began my journey  from Fat Then to Fit Now and I was determined to achieve my goals and work harder than anyone else.


Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book; Fat Then Fit Now;  A life beyond wight loss.

He is available to speak at no charge to any school or any youth group. He will make himself available to any talk radio, internet podcasting or television outlet. He has appeared on Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Lisa Davis’ Your health radio; Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast; Hank Garner’s Podcast.



Rush “Lazy” Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh at CPAC in February 2009.

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{What I am about to write does not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions.}

Once again, the formerly fat radio windbag Rush Limbaugh, I’m going to assume he has kept off the weight he lost last year.  I haven’t seen any pictures since his wedding photos were release and old Rushbo looked kind of chunky then. Either way, one thing that hasn’t changed, fat still remains lodged in his brain, at least when it comes to genuine health and fitness information.

Limbaugh started his show today discussing some nutrition professor from the midwest who went on a snack food diet. To summarize, this academic, decided to test a hypothesis that it doesn’t matter what you eat, it is just about total calories and caloric deficit.

I don’t think anyone in health care, or those like myself who promote weight loss and fitness, would argue that a caloric deficit will cause weight loss. It does. However, why the hell would anyone want to get by on a meager 1800 calories a day? And honestly, why would anyone want to eat chemically enhanced sugary stuff all day?

Furthermore, Rush claimed the guy did not exercise much. Well looking at the class room lecturer’s  picture, that is kind of obvious.

So,  once again, Rush Limbaugh, radio talk-jock extraordinaire, is attempting to branch out from being a radio entertainer and  trying to discuss a topic beyond his intellect.

The referenced academic has demonstrated some short-term results and benefits over something like two months.  I discuss my improvements in blood work and vital signs over an eighteen month period, not a month or two. Also, I conquered genuine obesity. I started off weighing in at over 340 pounds. Dropping a few pounds, on a short time calorie restricted diet, really isn’t much to crow about.

Anyone with any intellectual honesty is not going to promote a snack food diet as a healthy way of life. Shoveling junk into one’s gullet is not going to provide for a fit and healthy body.

Common sense and true fathers of fitness are prime examples. Bernarr McFadden lived into his 80′s without ever seeing a doctor. Jack LaLanne is still out promoting fitness in his 90′s. Those who have dedicated themselves to a life of health and fitness may live longer, but what is more important is that they live better.

Yes you can lose weight without exercise. Yes you can lose weight via limiting caloric intake. However, will you be healthier? Will you be more fit?

Do I really need to answer? Okay, I will. NO!

Think of the pure junk you are introducing into your body every time you ingest a snack food. Read the label. Try reading it out loud and see if you can pronounce the garbage with which you are polluting yourself.

The lazy among us desperately try to take exercise out of the equation. They suggest that simply losing weight is enough. Dropping poundage is a start, but if you want to genuinely improve your health, it is not the sole portion of the equation. Exercise,  both progressive resistance and endurance, must be part of your daily life.

What concerns me most about Limbaugh, is that his misinformation will be spread to many who take what this radio hosts says as gospel. We are desperately trying to reach obese adults and children and trying to save their lives. To give them an improved quality of life. Yet, with Limbaugh’s reach more can be harmed in one segment of his show via his misinformation.

Rush Limbaugh, bloviating buffoon that he is,  claims he likes to stir the conventional wisdom pot and then claim to be right. Well the fact is that he is wrong. Rush claims weight loss is influenced only by what you eat and exercise is irrelevant. Again, you can just lose weight, but you will not reach optimal health and wellness.  You will not make long term changes to your weight.  You won’t achieve a fit human form.

Rush claims that us on the low carb diets eat less because we lose our appetite. I’ve got news for big Rush. I don’t eat any less than I did when I started my journey. I eat five to six times a day and not what one would consider smaller portions. It is the physiologic effect that allowed me to lose wieght and it is the physiologic effect that allows me to remain fit. My appetite is not suppressed in the least.

Rush’s up and down battle with obesity is a clear demonstration of what happens when you omit the exercise portion of the equation.

So, will just cutting calories cause weight loss? Yep, you will drop weight and if you started off obese as Rush or myself, then you will look like a thinner unfit Rush Limbaugh — If I were gonna look like the thinner Rush Limbaugh, I would rather stay fat!