Thursday, November 20, 2014

It is SO Expensive to Get Fit and Healthy, Diet Pills and Shakes and Memberships, OH MY!!!

We live in an age of ultra-consumerism.  It is a well-documented fact that each day the average American is subjected to close to 5,000 advertisements.  A significant section of these ads tend to be directed towards those looking to make a healthy change in their life.  Ads for nutritional supplements, shake mixes, diet pills, fad diets and gym memberships represent just a few of the types of health and fitness based advertisements we are subjected to each day.  No wonder the commonly held perception that it is too expensive to live healthily persists.

The problem with many of the products and services that are sold to us through popular media is that many of them make claims that could never be substantiated by science.  Often times diet pill retailers over promise and under deliver on results.  Fad diets are usually debunked and shown to cause more health problems than they correct.  Gym memberships trap you for a contracted length of time, so whether you use the facility or not you are forking over your hard earned money for as long as two years.  As for shake mixes and nutritional supplements, some of them deliver on the nutritional promises they make while others fall flat.  Even for the products that deliver on their promises they are often too expensive to keep purchasing for a long term.    

Given the inundating nature of advertising in our society it can seem impossible to see a path to health and wellness when the horizon is clouded with misleading billboards and electronic marquees.  However, the path does exist and it does not require an expensive gym membership or hundreds of dollars per month in pills, shakes and supplements.  The way forward becomes clear through the acumen of information.  Many people ask me what my most valuable advice would be to someone just beginning a journey to wellness and consistently my responses include; learn to cook your own food in your own kitchen and become informed about nutrition and the social forces that drive us to keep living in the fast food lane.  

Recipes and home workouts are easy to come by online, all it takes is a quick search.  And for those who are concerned with the additional food cost in eating a healthful diet, this concern becomes much easier to manage once you realize that the good, whole foods you are eating (costly as they may be) are much less expensive than your blood pressure medication, insulin shots, Metformin, or allergy medicine. 

Running, cycling, tennis, cross-fit and simple walks are all great examples of activities that are free or nearly free that you can become engaged in that will propel your physical activity and the more you learn about cooking and nutrition the less you have to rely on “Shake-ology”, supplements, and claims of “eat all you want and still lose weight”.

Make the decision to begin and each day make the decision to continue.  Once the decision is made you will find a way via becoming knowledgeable to accomplish your goals. 

Happy Running!!

Rob and Jess

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Keeping the Lights On in the Fog

It is 3am on a red-eye flight from New York to Denver an there is heavy fog settled over the Mile-High city. The biting cold of the pre-winter air provokes the escape of ominous seeping clouds of mist from the warmer streams, estuaries and lakes across the Front Range.  As the pilot makes his approach, he is on edge as he knows that the runway lights are not visible and he is keenly aware that his booked flight is carrying 176 souls of all ages.  His nerves are soothed and his focus narrows as he executes a series of actions directed by a community of air-traffic controllers.  The aircraft breaks the ceiling and the runway lights become visible just seconds before the rubber of his landing gear make their shrieking embrace of the indifferent concrete. 

Without a built in system to support his efforts, it would be considerably more difficult for the pilot to remain calm in the face of uncertainty.  Sometimes, it is too much to ask that we trust our own skills and experience to get us through the challenges that present themselves each day.  Even the most capable of us experience moments of doubt, pain and fear.  Our fears, however, are as indifferent to our feelings as the concrete is to the planes safe landing. 

We are not all so fortunate to come equipped with a transportable system of support like our pilot.

Single mothers and fathers tend to be resulted from an upbringing at the hands of a single parent.  As many of us have learned from 60 Minutes, Nightline or 20/20, problems within the family institution tend to be repeated generationally.  As children grow into adults and succumb to the self-fulfilling prophecy of struggle they find themselves without a strong support system.  It would surprise most of us though to hear that this problem, of being without a strong support system, is not relegated to single parent families.  The demands of society require that as individuals we work irregular hours, more hours, for a greater number of years, and at a lower wage relative to our cost of living than the previous generation.  As a result young families (single parent or not), who at one point had parents/grandparents who were retired and able to provide support through their contribution of time, have very little physical support from family. 

Families today can and do offer emotional and symbolic support.  However, there are times in life that we need more than a cheerleading section to help us make our way, and given the demands of society it is becoming harder for individual units within a family group to support themselves much less offer time or material to members outside of their household.

Conditions exist at any given time for your own runway to become clouded, your path in life to become littered with distractions and refuse.  But only when you have a strong community surrounding you, one that is devoted to talking you through the fog and keeping the runway lights on, is it possible to see and maintain the path to which your feet have been set. 

The best way to discover your own support network is to become part of a system that is working to support others.

Happy Running!!!

Rob and Jess