Health and Wellness

True Confessions

Like many folks, I’ve struggled with my weight for years, seemingly gaining and losing the same pounds every year. But when I made a commitment to long-term health — not just the mandatory New Year’s resolution — I immediately began to see results.

I’m glad to report that I’m finally nearing my goal weight. I’m sorry to report, however, that this is the fifth time I’ve done so. But they say the fifth time’s the charm, so… 🙂

Joking aside, as recently as last summer, I was tipping the scales in the upper 200s. Prior to that (in college) my heaviest had been 180. I still have a photo where I was wearing an XXL sweater… and still not hiding my belly! So you can imagine how I felt with several dozen extra pounds. That’s like carrying around a third grader… constantly! But people can only change when they’re ready.


“Glory” Days

Moving to another location has actually helped me position myself in a better place for committed wellness. I don’t suggest moving is a requirement to weight loss, and my environment was surely not completely to blame for me packing on the pounds. But there is something to be said for the many places I had to pass before reaching my old place:

  • Burger King
  • Wendy’s
  • Taco Bell
  • KFC
  • a pizza joint
  • a BBQ joint
  • an ice cream shop
  • Dunkin’ Donuts and
  • Captain D’s seafood

The latter being where they knew me by name, and the cook was already preparing my double order of fried clams, French fries, coleslaw and two hush puppies before I even got to the counter, while the waitress had filled a bag with my two pieces of cheesecake, two slices of Oreo crème pie, banana caramel treats and two large Cokes by the time I was close enough to say ‘hi.’ I wish this was an exaggeration. I really do.

I will spare you most of the sordid details, only to admit that I got quite sick that first night (bet you saw that coming!). As I looked up — red-eyed — into the mirror, I gave the reflected man the finger and promised myself I’d never do it again. The next week, I did.

These days, I pass only one shop (gas station/convenience store) on my way home, and my thrifty side now overrides my stomach — refusing to pay $4 for a bag of chips.

I’m not saying I’m a health nut. There’s a bluegrass show this weekend, and you’d better believe I’ll be hitting the ribs! But I’ll ‘hit’ one small plate, not six heaping piles.

To Thine Own Self be True

Now I’m on a soapbox (at least it’s not an empty box of Eskimo pies!), but suffice it to say that no matter what your current environment, work schedule or other factors, there is always time to take care of your health.

No matter where you are in your wellness routine — whether you’re 10 or 100 pounds overweight — you can do it. Yes, you can.

You just need to believe in yourself and take the necessary steps to return to the fit you inside. I wish you all the best, and send my full support for your endeavors!

by Raul Lisneski
Health & Fitness Editor
Residential Life Magazine

I Love the 80s

Welcome to the 1980s

I extend a 1980s hello to all readers. This column is like, wicked yesterday. However I hope to whip up the fires of great memories of the decade with a breath of recollection to stoke the burning embers buried underneath the 1990s, and our journey so far in the 21st Century. Get out your Van Halen cassette, put it in your boom box, don’t forget the jean jacket, and travel with me.

Cyndi_LauperDepending on when you were born, the 80s may be a flashing bunch of moments, the essence of your childhood/teen years, or even later. For me, it was my childhood and teen years. Yes, that was me back in 1982, excited about the new G.I. Joe’s coming out, or going to see E.T. That was me dancing like crazy to Cyndi Lauper (She’s So Unusual, 1983).

Perhaps you consider Ghostbusters one of your all-time favorite movies? Perhaps it was the feel of the decade? Life was simpler then. That is a relative phrase of course, but compared to 2013 the 1980s look pretty darn simple. Let me just say, I wouldn’t have changed growing up during that time for just about anything.

I am a big music fan. What I mean when I say that is I have a very broad selection of taste. Call it ‘eclectic’ if you will. Bluegrass, rap, country, pop, metal, classical, if it is good, it’s on my iTunes, severely jeopardizing the help of my laptop with massive amounts of taken space.

However, my favorite decade is… any guesses? The 1980s of course. Why? The complexity of the decade is often more than most look at it. Many gloss at it as Michael Jackson and a bunch of hair bands. This is hardly the case.

In 1980, you had new wave, and the decade began with a disco beat. 1981’s “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash may be the best rap song ever written. The decade saw the birth of synth/pop, especially from Great Britain, who turned out incredible artists (Phil Collins, Def Leppard, just to name two).

The decade was a golden age for pop music — and the culmination of metal to hair bands — then giving birth to the “power ballad.” Look no further than Whitesnakes’s 1987 smash “Here I Go Again” for a great example.

The end of the decade saw rap becoming more mainstream, with hair bands very popular. Technically, I feel the 1980s could have been extended into 1991, before the birth of grunge. If you turned on the radio in 1990 or early 1991, you might as well have been in the 1980s.

poisonThat is enough ranting for now. I want to know, how many of you guys and lovely ladies out there share my love for the 1980s? I only touched upon music. Vast amounts could be said for the political situation.

We were the last to be raised under the Cold War threat. But I digress. Go listen to your favorite 80s band or song, then get out the lighters and say “more!”

Of course, you don’t really have to do that. I leave you wonderful people out there with this: I am listening to “West End Girls” by the Pet Shop Boys. One of my all-time 80s songs. I love the video, and it is a wonderful example of British Synth Pop.

Perhaps my favorite 1980s video of all is Glenn Frey’s “You Belong to the City” from 1985. It’s all footage of him walking the streets of Manhattan on a summer night. Perhaps you like these too, or don’t. Let me hear you guys and girls. Wicked Awesome.

by Jay Camp | Residential Life Magazine