Tag Archives: obesity

Overcoming Obstacles in the New Year

Fit forever curls
On my quest to becoming fit forever I have discovered that we all have the potential to accomplish much more than we give ourselves credit. That’s right, regardless of our age, genetics, or body type; we have what it takes to succeed. All we need is a passion and desire to drive us to our goals.

Too many times we let obstacles discourage us from attaining our goals. What I’ve learned on my journey is that obstacles are just a part of the landscape. How we react to those obstacles is a key to achieving success with our health and wellness.

What do I know about obstacles? In the next few paragraphs I’m going to be transparent and share some challenges that I wake up with each day that could keep me from attaining my fitness goals.

When I was in my 20’s I noticed a 2 inch increase in my neck size. Little did I know that there was a large fast growing tumor fused to my thyroid gland. This was causing a whirlwind of symptoms: elevated heart rate, uncontrollable sweats, fatigue, and massive weight fluctuation. Not something the average person wants to deal with in the midst of life and stressful work demands.

I experienced these symptoms for months. The doctors had difficulty trying to detect what was causing these problems. By the time that the condition was diagnosed my thyroid gland was damaged to the point of needing to be removed. Radiation treatment was required to remove the tumor and my thyroid.

Without a thyroid gland, I would need to be on replacement medication for the rest of my life, and was told by my doctor that weight control would be a constant struggle. His words were, “Those without a thyroid are destined to struggle with weight the rest of their lives.  Really?  From that moment on it was my goal to prove this Houston doctor wrong!

I made a decision that with God’s help and the proper balance of nutrition and exercise, I would get in the best condition of my life and stay that way. I would be FIT FOREVER! (That title sounds somewhat familiar).  Now, more than 30 years after that doctor’s prognosis, I am still proving him wrong! Every day I have the chance to set the course for my destiny the rest of my life.

This situation is not easily dealt with, as pounds will pile on if I choose not to stay active and exercise. But guess what?  Everyone has obstacles of some kind to deal with.  It’s time for me to stop the excuses and to get my tail in to Colorado Athletic Club and do the work!

Now is the time to hit our obstacles head on.  No more excuses!  If not you, then who?  If not now, then when?  Today is a brand new day of a fresh New Year. Get started on the path to health, strength, and happiness.


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A Tribute to Jack LaLanne, A LEGACY OF HEALTH

Jack LaLanne, a forefather of health and fitness, passed away yesterday at his home in Morro Bay, California.  He was 96 years of age.

As I think of the impact that he has made over the years, I think of a two words: LEGEND and LEGACY.   He was legendary in embracing the idea that Americans should work out and eat right to retain their youthfulness and energy.  Jack LaLanne found ways to motivate Americans to get off their couches and into the gym way before it was cool.  And he was still pumping iron and pushing fruits and vegetables decades after most people retire.

Mr. LaLanne believed that eating well and exercise were the two absolutes to feeling great and looking young — and he made it his mission to help people attain that lifestyle.

According to the LA Times LaLanne was the spiritual father of the current health movement, opening what is commonly believed to be the nation’s first health club, in Oakland in 1936.  This blossomed into a national craze of weight rooms, exercise classes and sports clubs creating a positive environment for health.

In the 1950s, he launched an early-morning televised exercise program tailored to housewives. He and his dog happy encouraged kids to go get their moms out of bed and exercise in front of the TV.  He proposed the then-radical idea that women, the elderly, and even the disabled should work out to retain strength.

Full of passion and exuberance LaLanne saw himself as a cheerleader, motivator and in some cases a life saver when it came to helping people be healthy, feel younger, and live longer.

What a man!  We will miss his strength and enthusiasm.  He leaves each of us a legacy of health to carry on in an age where obesity is winning the fight.

In spite of big shoes to fill and the challenges before us, I’ll be the first to say count me in!  The question is: Who will join me in my quest in helping people be FIT FOREVER one day at a time?  If not you, then who?  If not now, then when?

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The latest favorite Fair food


And we wonder why we’re  one of the unhealthiest nations in the world…


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Let’s Get Moving!

“My idea of exercise is a good brisk sit.”   Phyllis Diller

…A pretty funny line, but the Surgeon General thinks otherwise.

According to his report, here are his major conclusions:

  • People of all ages, both male and female, benefit from regular physical activity
  • Low levels of activity, resulting in fewer calories used than consumed, contribute to weight gain and the high prevalence of obesity
  • Significant health benefits can be obtained by including a moderate amount of physical activity on most days of the week
  • Additional health benefits can be gained through greater amounts of physical activity
  • Physical activity reduces the risk of premature mortality in general, and of coronary heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and diabetes mellitus in particular
  • Physical activity may favorably affect body fat distribution
  • Physical activity also improves mental health and is important for muscles, bones and joints.

“Exercise is good for your mind, body, and soul. Not to mention your wallet.”    Tom Hopkins

Different things motivate different people to make a change in lifestyle.  This one is for those who are motivated by the almighty dollar.  According to recent studies, physically active individuals had lower annual direct medical costs than did inactive people, with a cost difference of $330 per person.

According to Centers for Disease Control:

• Physically active people require fewer hospital stays and physician visits and use less medication than physically inactive people.

• If all inactive American adults became physically active, the potential savings could amount to around $76.6 billion dollars.

• Americans 15 years and older who engaged in regular physical activity (minimum of 30 minutes of moderate or strenuous physical activity three or more times a week)  had average annual direct medical costs of $1,019 versus costs of $1,349 for those  who were inactive.

This is some great motivation for us to “get moving” as opposed to the “brisk sit” that we all can grow accustomed to.

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America’s Challenge

A look at what’s at stake…

Considering one third of the children in America is considered overweight or obese most of us would agree that something needs to change.  But where do we start?

First, we must put our finger to the pulse of America’s health. This generation is the first ever whose life span is significantly shorter than their parents due to unhealthy lifestyle choices. Not only that…

Due to our fast food lifestyles more than twenty five million children are showing signs of high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.  That’s more than ever before. A recent study by the Ontario Medical Association found that three-quarters of obese kids will likely grow up to be obese adults and face heart trouble, diabetes, and other related medical conditions.

The U.S. spends $150 billion a year dealing with the issues of obesity that I have already mentioned.  Health-care premiums have risen more than three times faster than wages, largely because of the unhealthy choices of today’s society. We are one of the most intelligent civilizations ever, and yet we are blowing it when it comes to our health.

Unfortunately these problems won’t fix themselves.  They will continue to plague us until we find a way to change the patterns of “fast food” America.  These toxic habits and lifestyles will only continue to follow on to future generations if something is not done soon.

So where do we start? I like the suggestion from a Canadian Health Promotion Minister, Jim Watson, who declared “Fat is the new Tobacco.” If America’s parents and community leaders agreed with that and got on board as many have about the dangers of tobacco abuse, we might begin to see a difference.  The truth is, the war against tobacco has been very effective. Kids are taught in school that tobacco is a drug just like marijuana and cocaine, and threatens their very lives. Why can’t we come to the striking realization that fat is doing the same thing?

As I talk with people in presentations and workshops about the fact that “Fat is the Enemy” many agree that if a war were created against the killers called “fat and obesity” we would begin to see a difference in America’s health.

So what do we do?  A necessary step in this process is for families and community leaders to step up to make a difference. The only way our kids are going to make healthier choices is if we teach them and show them how to do so.

One thing that must happen is involving our kids in a healthy process for hands on learning.  This could include letting them select healthy foods at the grocery store.  Kids need to know why selecting an orange over a cup cake or Twinkies is the right choice.  Helping our children make good choices today will change the landscape of the “sick and unhealthy” society in which we live.

Kids are made to run and play! They were created by God to move, but many times the average school day, and the TV and video games that follow don’t meet that need.  Physical Education classes and after school sports definitely have their place, but we can’t expect those to fix our health dilemma.

I agree with Dr. Sasson Moulavi, of Smart For Life Weight Management Centers. He said: “My worry is some parents will sit back and wait for the government to come up with a magic plan. It is not going to happen. Parents need to realize they must take the initiative now. They have to stop waiting for a solution to fall from the sky. That’s just magical thinking.”

He could not be more right.  It’s up to America’s families to “pass the torch” of health to the next generation. Bottom line: it’s time for parents and community leaders to step up and assume the responsibility to make a difference.

So, what is the answer?  I believe a good start is finding the proper tools to educate America’s families. This is where my FIT FOREVER Book Series comes into play.  It is my way of trying to make a difference. It is designed to be a simplistic approach to helping families make healthier choices.  It is specifically written to be a simplistic, no nonsense approach for those who want to lead a healthier, more productive lives. 

FIT FOREVER is the perfect tool for parents in knowing how to help their kids make healthy choices. The first two books of this series are book one “FIT FOREVER”, and book two “FIT FOREVER The Next Step”.  Both are designed for interactive discussion for families, church small groups or discussion groups to talk about the “why’s” and “how to’s” of healthy living.

Focusing on solutions is what the great leaders of our world have always done. I agree this is a tough issue. But I’m up for the challenge! I believe that it is achievable and very doable in our lifetime!

Parents and Community Leaders, let’s get started!

What are your thoughts?   I am welcome to any feedback you may have….

To order books in the FIT FOREVER Series check out:  https://tomhopkins6.com/store/

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