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

Politics and Society

The Walmart Effect

Fresh off a debate/argument with a relative, I decided to take to the keyboard, before the discussion devolved into fisticuffs (my cousin looked like he was about to break a chair over my face, Jon Novin style).

I won’t beat around the bush. I love Walmart. I love everything about the company, from the stores to their business practices and ethics. It’s come to a point where I actually get offended when someone speaks ill of the retail giant, and there have been more than a few times when I have felt compelled to come to its vehement defense, as evidenced by the aforementioned arse-beating I narrowly avoided today.

As a consumer, I feel like Walmart is ‘fighting for me.’ They are like a big-box big brother, always (“always!”) looking out for my best interests, always ready to step in if and when they have to.

Major retailers will fight to the death!
Major retailers will fight to the death!
Without sounding too much like a commercial, low prices rule at Walmart. Dave (my cousin) took issue with the pricing system, alleging the company ‘tells’ manufacturers what they’re willing to pay to showcase products in their stores. He said it’s “like a punishment” and that smaller companies can’t compete, so they have to give into the “blue Devil.” I can’t speak to the accuracy of the comments, but even if it were true… so what?

Say you like Coca-Cola. Coke knows a lot of people who like their stuff also shop at Walmart. So when they price their products at, say, $1.75 for a two-liter bottle, and Walmart says they’re only going to accept a price of $1.25, Coke is faced with a dilemma.

Do they stand firm and risk not having their drinks in Walmart stores — knowing it would cost them thousands in revenue — or do they ‘take the cut,’ understanding that 50 cents is not worth losing all that potential cash?

Dave says this makes Walmart the bully, but consider this: the other day I noticed that Coke was $1.60. It means they pushed back and won. Coke is a huge company, too, and they have more than a little bargaining power. I wish I could have seen that negotiation. It probably would have been like an old sci-fi movie of Godzilla and Mothra.

So in this case, Walmart had to decide if they were going to let Coke walk out the door, or pass on a few extra cents to the consumer. Since I love Coke (and I can still get it cheaper at Walmart than anywhere else) I don’t mind paying a bit more now. I know by summer the price will be back down to normal. Everything’s cool.

Sure, in this scenario smaller companies may have to “take a hit” (as Dave says), but it’s in their best interest to have their products in Walmart, since most people (myself definitely included!) aren’t going to go traipsing around town to a bunch of specialty stores, when they can do a ‘one-stop-shop’ at Walmart and be done with it.

And once enough shoppers try and like your products, then your company grows, and eventually you’ll have the pull of Coke and you can work out a better deal. After all, everyone has to pay their dues.

What I won’t accept is paying out the nose for products that aren’t worth it. Nike, for instance, will have you shell out $90+ bucks for a shoe that costs them about $3.50 to make. I don’t play that kind of greedy marketing, and neither does Walmart.

Look, Walmart isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and neither are loyal shoppers like me. Whether you like it or not, more and more companies are adopting the discount model, and making deals on price point, instead of just accepting whatever bloated costs the manufacturers decide on.

That free ride is over. The consumer is now king. And Walmart is our Camelot.

 by Paymon West | Editor | Residential Life Magazine 


Think About It

The soda man was here today, and he must be very trusting, because I noticed he walked out to his truck and left the vending machine door wide open! This might have been a mistake, or he might have had a co-worker watching, or a security camera… who knows?

Of course, I would never even dream of stealing something, and I’d like to think no one else here would, either. That’s why I (and another fellow) just waited for the guy to come back and finish stocking the machine, so we could buy our sodas for the day.

Nothing in here is worth your job.
Nothing in here is worth your job.

But it got me to thinking of what would happen if someone did walk by and decide to pull a “five-finger discount.” Believe me, with the way this guy was parked outside, it would have been entirely possible to stage the ‘perfect crime’ without him knowing (unless he had a camera or something, as stated earlier).

In situations like this, you have to do a quick ‘cost-benefit analysis.’ For me, the cost of stealing — even if you don’t get caught — outweighs any benefit you might get. I will admit that, as a youth, I stole some candy from a store, and once took a cassette tape from my friend’s room. The tape I gave back (and got a punch in the mouth as a reward!), and the candy I never told anyone about, so got off ‘scot-free,’ except for a guilty conscience that remains to this day. My lesson has been sufficiently learned.

The point is, that kind of stuff is never worth it. If someone had walked by and swiped a drink, I wouldn’t have hesitated to tell someone about it. I wouldn’t even worry about being a ‘tattle-tale.’ They would most probably get fired, and that would start a domino effect in their lives.

So, for the price of a 75-cent can of pop, they would face months (maybe years!) of turmoil (at their own hand, of course). And with the tight job market and sluggish economy today, who wants to hire someone with such poor judgment?! This person would have set themselves up for failure, and they would have to live with their misguided actions for the rest of their lives.

I’m not on some “morals” soapbox here, don’t get me wrong. I am not perfect. Never claimed to be. I just thought it was an interesting concept how any decision, even one so seemingly insignificant as a soft drink, has the potential to become an life-altering event. Makes you think.

by Hector “Stevie” Sambulogento | Residential Life Magazine 

Work and Occupation

You Say It’s a Biscuit…

Today at lunch, one of my friends was talking about how their mom made biscuits last weekend, and this other guy kept calling them ‘muffins,’ for some reason. He may have been trying to be gross.

Anyways, my friend got so mad! She was, like, “They’re biscuits, not muffins.” This guy has been on her case for a while. I guess she was just sick of it.

So then the guy started copping a really bad attitude, like it was some insult or something. He was getting all red and stuff! It was sooo funny.

He was all “What’s the big deal?! What’s the difference?!” And my friend got right up in his face! I don’t even know what she was thinking today! lol 😉

This is not a biscuit.

First she said it was like Coke and Pepsi, and I guess I made a funny face or something (she told me later), so then she’s like “It’s the difference between a hot dog and an Italian sausage.” And these boys started laughing, and one guy started making a rude gesture. He got removed from the lunchroom by the monitor. I hope he gets in trouble.

Anyways, then the other guy, the one my friend was talking to in the first place, was all “You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re just trying to make stuff up to make your point.” And she totally flipped out!

She was like, “You just don’t know how to compare things. You need to go back to second grade.” And a whole bunch of people starting laughing! It was great. The guy was pissed! He went on this whole tirade about how he doesn’t eat breakfast, or something, so he wouldn’t know what things are called. He was totally trying to dig himself out of the hole!

My friend was like, “Well, you need to listen better.” And the guy told her to shut up and walked away. He punched the soda machine on the way out. I’m pretty sure the monitor saw him, ‘cause she walked out after him. If he damaged the machine, he might have to pay for it. Or maybe his parents.

But the whole thing is that he picked on the wrong girl today! I mean, I hope he doesn’t get suspended or anything. But he needed to learn a lesson. He has a chip on his shoulder. I’m glad my friend stood up for herself and didn’t let him make a big scene.

Just another day of drama! Ha! :-p


by Chelsea Abrahams | Residential Life Magazine