Podcast #3 Childhood Obesity

In this podcast Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi discusses childhood obesity. His anger at what is going on becomes apparent.

Be sure to click the below link to listen.

Podcast #3 Childhood Obesity

livin’ la vida low-carb interview

This is an old interview I did with low-carb blogger extraordinaire Jimmy Moore.

If it doesn’t start playing just hit the expand player arrow on the left and then hit play!


Don’t Quit On Being Fit


Lately, life has been throwing me some heavy-duty, rib-breaking body blows. Compared to many I am blessed, but sometimes I don’t feel that way. The reality of owning a business in these current economic times can impact us all. I feel much like I did a few years ago. Similar situations caused apathy, which in turn, led to laziness. The result was my weight ballooned to a ponderous, pachydermian three hundred and forty pounds.


This morning when the alarm clock sounded, for the first time in a long time, I had the desire to shut the buzzer off and roll back over. Awakened by my current mood, my inner demons reared their ugly heads.


Thoughts of pancakes, home fries, doughnuts and waffles for breakfast started bubbling to the forefront of my brain. Later, I could go for a pizza and a nice pot of pasta. Then in the evening maybe a pie and a pint or two of ice cream. The comfort foods would work their soothing magic.


The demons screamed into my skull:

Why exercise?
Why eat right?
What is the point?
Think of how nice it would be to sleep, on a full belly, an extra three hours each morning.


I knew that the combination of sloth and gluttony would once again isolate me from the outside world. The calming influences of empty calorie, carbohydrate loaded foods would help me sleep. The lack of exercise would convert the excess consumption into a protective layer of fat, thereby insulating me from the rest of the human race.


I looked up and studied the proverbial rope that is keeping me from plunging into Hell’s fires. The repair jobs from the previous occasions life almost took me down were once again frayed. The results of gremlins hacking away revealed they were now more than half way through.


Would the rope give all together? Would my life and future plummet into a great abyss? It may very well. When it desires, life can be a cold bastard. The big question is:


Will I embrace my inner demons thus hastening my demise?


I stayed in bed and wondered what it would be like to have had a charmed life. How different would it have been if my father hadn’t been forced on to disability by a life altering injury? How would it have been if my parents could have afforded to send me straight to college out of high school? Was my judgment to enter the Navy and alleviate the burden of at least one child to care for the correct decision?


Yes, the self-doubt and self-pity of despair were being cheered on by the demons. Much like talk radio hosts, my inner mischievous sprites were the harbingers of doom — joyfully fanning my flames of despair, discontent, doubt and disillusionment.


How easy would it be to embrace their self-destructive message!
How simple would it be to return back to my former indolence!
How effortless would it be to add a hefty burden to the rope!

As these thoughts ran through my head, a truck driver outside my window slammed on the brakes. As the tractor-trailer came to a very loud halt, its cargo violently shifted and I was jarred by a thunderous clang. My still sleeping brain interpreted the clamor into the clang of iron plates being dropped onto the gym floor.


Thoughts about clanging and banging iron sent a familiar shiver through my body. I jumped from my bed and the demons hid in terror. I would not give into their cursed cheering.


There is no time for self-pity.
There is no time for self-sorrow.
There is not time for self-destruction.

The rope is starting to show threads.
I am not sure how long it will hold out.
I will not increase its burden by adding weight to my frame.


As much as we tend to think otherwise, there is very little in our lives over which we have control.


Well run businesses fail everyday.
Bad, at times awful, things happen to good people.

Politicians pass laws regardless of the actual outcomes.
Hard working, loyal employees often find themselves without a job.


The one thing we can control is ourselves.

We can control our mental attitude.
We can control our fitness level.
We can control what we eat.


By being physically fit and strong, if that rope does give out, I will be powerful enough to reach up, grab the secure end and support myself.


Don’t quit on being fit!


Extreme Obesity

This morning I was introduced to a disturbing new term; “Extreme Obesity.” I couldn’t believe my ears. Have we now taken obesity to a new level?!  After doing research I learned the term is not that new, but it is still disturbing. According to a Kaiser Permanente study “extreme obesity” affects 6.4% of our children.

What is going on here?

The rise in childhood obesity and obesity in general appears to have really taken off in the late 1970’s and early 80’s.

Two changes occurred during that time frame. Soda and food companies moved away from expensive sugar and replaced it with cheaper, chemically alter corn known as high fructose corn syrup (HFC). HFC is a primary sweetener in many of the foods now consumed. Though there is conflicting data and reports, we can not dismiss the timing of the introduction of this dietary additive as a potential contributor to the ballooning of the nation’s collective girth.

The second change? In the that time frame the ground work, for what would later became known as the food pyramid, began to rear its ugly head and from it’s mouth a fountain of misinformation began to spew.

Fat, in all forms, became public enemy numero uno. Food producers, looking to increase profits unleashed a barrage of low and no fat products. There is a dirty little secret; to make up for the fat and to increase palatability, the sugar and HFC content were amped up. They even took it a step further and started labeling existing; sugar shocked junk as “low fat foods,” absurdly insinuating that the product was “healthy.”  The mindset evolved into sugar be dammed, as long as it doesn’t contain fat — eat it to your hearts content and, as we are discovering, eventual damage.

We went from eating balanced diets, to eating carbohydrate saturated foods. Please realize, no matter how complex the carbohydrate; once digestion is over — it becomes a simple sugar. In turn we went from a relatively small amount of obese folks, to now having more people classified obese, than simply overweight.

Dietary considerations are only part of the problem. When I was a youth I was excited to receive a football, baseball, basketball or any sports related, activity encouraging, item. Today’s youth often are showered with sloth inducing products; video games, smart phones, computers, etc… The concept of going outdoors to play and socialize has been replaced with sedentary instant messaging and texting.

Schools are just as culpable. They serve nutrient lacking foods, allow empty calorie dispensing soft drink machines in their lobbies and, because of standardized academic testing, arguably see the need to restrain activity.

Recess is a thing of “the olden days.” Gym class is either cut back or dropped. In some cases youngsters have gym for a set number of days and then not again until it returns in a cycle.

For the health and well being of the children — gym class must be daily.

As the extreme obesity generation passes into adulthood, diseases that do not usually show up until humans are more aged will start making appearances in people as young as twenty.

Will this be an acceptable burden on the nation’s health care system?

Ad campaigns claim, age wise, “60 is the new 40.” That may be true for my generation, but it looks like for succeeding generations, 40 may turn out to be the new 80.

Kevin Smith and Southwest Airlines

I just read in the newspaper that the exceptional director Kevin Smith was bumped from a recent flight because, it was reported, that he is overweight. According to other reports that may have not been the case, but either way it made me reflect on my super heavyweight days.  I recall having boarded a plane plenty of times, holding my breath, waiting for those dreaded words, “You are too obese to fly.”

Back in my morbidly obese days most of my flights were not solo. I was usually accompanied by my significant other, so lifting the armrest and spilling into her seat was not an issue. However, I vividly remember for take-off and landing, with the armrests down,  I could manage to squeeze into the seat. However,  my extra padding spilled into the other seat. It would push the armrest over and mold itself over the top and the bottom. So the claim that one can sit in a seat with both armrests down doesn’t mean they actually fit in the seat.

I said I flew with someone most times.  There were times I flew alone and on those occasions I was always concerned about making some traveler unfortunate enough to sit next to me uncomfortable. I would even sit in the front row if both seats were open, but I was not very comfortable. In the front seats the trays are not attached to the seat-back in front, because there is no seat-back in front. So they came from the middle armrests  and because of that placement it is not possible to lift the armrest. I could still sit in the seat, but trust me I didn’t fit. However,  I would rather be uncomfortable myself, then force someone else to tolerate being seated next to me. It wasn’t fun for me either way, but my bulk left few options.

It is reported that Mr. Smith had purchased two seats, but was able to board an earlier flight. On the earlier flight two seats were not available, so he would have to sit next to someone else. Mr. Smith, it has been reported, has stated that he knows he is fat, but he is not too fat to fly.

I haven’t seen Kevin Smith lately, but in every picture I have seen he definitely appears more than just a bit overweight.  I know back when I was three hundred and forty pounds, I never thought I was that fat. In my case and in many of those whom I work with to overcome their obesity issues, we never see just how overweight we actually are or in my case were.

There are those who have metabolic and/or underlying medical conditions that cause obesity

The following  statements are not intended for those individuals

There is a much displayed self-absorbed logic that implies if one is overweight or obese that is just the way it is and everyone else will just have to deal with it. I am sorry, I do not agree with that logic.

I do agree that one has the right to weigh however much one wants. I was in the morbidly obese category myself and while I did not say, “Hey I want to weigh 340 pounds,” it was still my choice. Through slothfulness and poor food choices it was my choice to allow myself to almost reach the 350 pound mark. So, with that said, if a person is one of the many who choses an obese lifestyle, then one also must accept the responsibility for the limits obesity imposes.

I, on a fateful day, made a decision to accept responsibility for the self-made mound of flesh and fat I had become and changed my physical condition. I don’t know how much Mr. Smith’s tips the scale, but if he would like to ensure that something like what has been reported never happens again, short of buying his own plane, I will make this offer:

I will give up my practice and dedicate one year of my life to help Kevin Smith shed his excess weight and improve his fitness.

Once we agree upon an  acceptable fee then, for that year, he will be my only client. I will relocate to an area of his choosing and assist him in embracing a fit lifestyle.

I doubt he will take me up on my offer, but I make one guarantee, once I get him in shape he will love his new fit lifestyle.

A Setback or A Greater Challenge

On January 8th I wrote a post entitled Let the Fun Begin. It was my first week into high intensity training. I was moving heavier weights and increasing both my run distance and speed. I was a man on a mission. How was I to know that one short week later my training would get a little off track. In the preceding  posts, A Minor Setback — Not a Roadblock and Three Weeks from the Day, I chronicled what I was looking at as a setback in my training.

This morning something happened to change that way of thinking.

I was in the gym talking with a friend of mine. I had previously told him about my recent procedure and expressed how I was grateful nothing was wrong with my heart. He asked me how getting back into the grove was going and if I was still taking it easy. I told him good, but I conveyed to him that with the half-marathon a mere twelve weeks away and the strongman only three weeks later, I was feeling a bit unsettled about how I had lost over a month of training.

That is when I got the look.

There is one thing about weightlifting and weightlifters, when you complain, and I was, as much as I hate to admit it, complaining, to another lifter words never need be spoken. Weight training is unto itself about one thing; overcoming the pull of gravity on cold, unyielding iron. It is, every single workout, a challenge.

It is a challenge to embrace.

It is a challenge to welcome.

It is a challenge to overcome.

So when my old friend gave me that look, I realized I was complaining and simultaneously we uttered, “It is just a greater challenge!”

I didn’t have to do battle with cancer. I didn’t have to deal with a traumatic accident. I didn’t have anything really bad happen to me. I had a surgical procedure to check out my heart and it showed all was good. I am blessed.

So what? I lost a few weeks training.

So what? I lost some strength.

So what? I got a little soft.

I am healthy. I am still relatively fit. I now have a greater challenge.

Life is fun.

Life is not fair.

Life is a challenge.

Bring it on!

Keep training and remember: being fit isn’t simply about living longer, it is about living better!

Three Weeks from the Day

Today is Friday February 5th 2010.

Today is three weeks from the day that I had last gone for a run.

Today is three weeks from the day that I had last been in the gym.

Today is three weeks from the day I received the call from my cardiologist that there was an abnormal finding on my stress test and we would need to do a more invasive test.

Yesterday, I was given the okay from my doctor to go back to the gym. I was to go easy for the first two weeks, but I have healed up from my procedure and there were no restrictions, just words of caution — take it easy.

The alarm was set for six a.m., but I was awake by five; my heart was pounding, it was beating with excitement — today was the day I was going to workout.

I entered the gym doors, gym bag  tight in hand. I swiped my card, greeted the woman working the desk and headed to my locker.

I put my gear away, went up stairs to the cardio area and hopped up on the treadmill, in my head I heard the words, take it easy. I did, an easy 1/2 mile run. I was barely breathing heavy and I wasn’t even sweating, but I took it easy.

I went down to the weight area. I made a bee line to the shoulder press machine. I loaded it up, one 45 pound plate on each side, three weeks ago there were two +25, but I was to take it easy. The weights rose up and down with little effort, I did my supersets and fought the urge to add more weight.

I moved from exercise to exercise, resisting the desire to increase the poundage. I barely worked up a sweat, but I took it easy.

It was three weeks ago today I was last in the gym.

It was three weeks ago today I last felt cold, unrelenting iron in my hands.

It was three weeks ago today — I wasn’t sure if I would ever be back.

If all goes well, two weeks from today, I will no longer be taking it easy.

If all goes well, two weeks from today, I will no longer fight the urge to add more weight.

If all goes well, two weeks from today, I will be running further and harder.

If all goes well, two weeks from today, at the end of my workout  my clothes will be soaked in sweat.

Today is three weeks from the day that my life changed.

Today is three weeks for the day I promised to help others avoid the pitfalls of obesity.

Today is three weeks from the day that I knew my life’s work was to spread the word of fitness.

Today is the day I start that work.