Monday, August 16, 2010

Quick Fixes Don't Work - My Column in yesterday's paper

WARNING: The following may step on some toes. 

We have become a "quick-fix" society. Some of the best selling books in bookstores have titles like: "How to Lose 20 Pounds in 20 Minutes"; or "Make a Million Dollars While You Sleep"; or "How to Look, Feel and Be Younger While Eating Fried Chicken and Watching Football on TV."

One day it dawns on us that we've gained too much weight, or maybe our joints squeak when we stand, and we want it fixed -- NOW!

But there is a problem with this quick-fix philosophy -- it doesn't work. 

Our bodies begin to deteriorate naturally with age. This process speeds up when we don't care for our ourselves. 

Some book publishers might say this is blasphemy, but we don't get fat, broke, or stove up overnight.

And there are no magic pills, diets, or get-rich-quick schemes to fix these conditions quickly. 

Oh sure, when you're hurting you can take pills that will mask the aches and pains, but you sometimes drool on your pillow when you sleep, and the problems remain.

What's sad is a lot of people get hooked on pain medicine, and their lives often begin a downward spiral. 

You don't believe me? Take a look at the number of people entering drug rehab, or worse, look in the obits in the local paper. An alarming number of people are dying too young. 

When it comes to back and joint issues, there are some people who are candidates for surgery, but according to several folks who have gone under the knife, that's no picnic and positive results are not guaranteed. 

I'd be willing to bet there are a lot of people out there like me, who would feel much better by changing their lifestyle.

These days, Jilda and I get up a few minutes early each morning and take a brisk walk. Believe me some mornings that's tough. But after we get out in the fresh air and start to move, something remarkable happens. The aches and pains diminish dramatically. 

A simple yoga routine can also be very effective in reducing knee, back and hip pain.

Exercise does a couple of things. It brings blood flow to those aching areas and it helps to keep the pounds off our backsides.

If you were to buy a brand new car, park it out in the weather and never drive it, after a few years, it would become rusty and undrivable. But if your drive it right, and care for it, chances are it will last for years. 

These days, a lot of people treat their cars better than they treat themselves. That's evident by the recent findings that Alabama is one of the biggest states in the country. I'm not talking land mass here but the size of our rear ends.

The reasons seem clear to me. We're getting too much junk food and too little exercise. 

In years past, we bought into the fallacy that fast food helped us cope with busy schedules because it was cheap, you could get it quickly, and eat it on the run. 

The truth is, fast food is neither fast nor cheap anymore. Especially when you factor in the long term healthcare costs resulting from years of bad habits. Disclaimer here: there are some fast food places that have healthy menus, but most of them don't.

What's troubling is we are passing these bad habits on to our children. Instead of feeding our kids fresh fruits and vegetables, we're stopping off on the way home and getting pizza.

Too many of us are letting the TV and computer do our babysitting for us. The combination of a sedentary lifestyle and too much junk food will make us sick.

Jim Rohn, who is an excellent self-help author and speaker puts it this way: "Over time, a few good habits, repeated daily, can make you successful. A few bad habits, repeated daily, can make you a failure."

I think the key words are, "over time". This means there are no quick fixes. But most anyone can take a ten minute walk today and maybe increase it to fifteen minutes tomorrow. Stop by the produce stand and buy some fresh apples. The old saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", has survived through the years because it's true! 

You won't lose twenty pounds in twenty minutes, but if you replace bad habits with good ones, over time you will begin to see a difference in the way you look and feel.

In the long run, I believe you'll be very happy you did.


  1. I don't care for self-help books.

    I like to read a lot of stuff and it's all out there as to how to live a better life.

    I figure the only way I can loose 20 lbs in 20 minutes is to remove a body part slowly with a rusty blade; which will not happen!

  2. excellent points. too bad more don't subscribe to the philosophy of personal responsibility.


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