Search For the Fun Stuff

Do what’s fun!  Regarding food and exercise, eat the foods and participate in the activities you enjoy—those things that excite you and leave you feeling fantastic. This was the main idea in my last post.

However, it’s not always easy to find the foods that make your mouth water and the types of exercise that resonate with you. Sometimes, it takes a little work, along with trial and error. There are likely many healthy foods and varieties of physical training out there that you find dull, boring, or just plain dislike, and that’s okay.

I’d like you to understand, though, that it can sometimes take several exposures to a food or activity before you begin to enjoy it. Yes, it is possible to dislike something initially but then grow to appreciate it over time. Moreover, I’ve read that it can take eight to twelve exposures to a new food before you begin to savor it. A few tips: trying new foods as part of recipes can create a more pleasurable experience. Additionally, engaging in physical activities with friends can make them much more gratifying.

What happens if you have tried something many times and still dislike it? Well, that’s okay. Continue to be flexible and try something else. There are countless options for healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds) and so many different forms of exercise that you can try. I encourage you to explore and experiment until you find the right things for you. 

When I began my journey into healthier living, I started adding broccoli and peppers to my diet. At first, I was not a big fan and didn’t really care for their taste. However, I knew they were good for me, so I gave them a chance. I persisted in eating them once or twice a week and soon found that I was genuinely enjoying them. Now, all these years later, I am still eating and savoring these vegetables. 

So, as I mentioned above, explore and experiment with the innumerable choices available until you find those that are perfect for you. And when you do, go out there and relish them!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and found it informative. Please feel free to pass it on to anyone you feel might benefit.

Photo Credit: Michail_Petrov-96/

The Healthy Stuff is Not Only Good For You…It’s FUN!

“Eat your veggies because they’re good for you.” 

This statement has probably been heard repeatedly by children of all ages as their parents firmly encourage them to clean their dinner plates. 

Anyone who reads my blogs consistently also knows that I speak a lot about the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. It’s an essential truth—fruits and vegetables are some of the healthiest foods we can eat. I’ve also written a lot about the importance of regular physical activity. However, I read an article recently that has prompted me to realize that a shift in my perspective would be beneficial when discussing such matters. 

The article “Can Exercising and Eating Healthy Be Fun and Indulgent Instead of Boring and Depriving? Targeting Mindsets About the Process of Engaging in Healthy Behaviors” discusses a few studies on mindset. One of the studies focused on food and had two groups of adolescent participants. Each group was enrolled in a different class on food. One group was told of the incredible health benefits of eating wholesome foods, and the other group was told about the social benefits of sharing good foods as well as the pleasurable flavors that good foods can have. In other words, they emphasized that healthy foods are fun to eat. When the food choices were analyzed, the “food is fun” group chose healthy foods more often than the “food is healthy” group.

The article also looked at a similar study on exercise. Again, the study divided participants into two groups. One group had the fantastic health benefits of exercise explained to them in a short presentation along with a handout, and the other group was given a presentation and handout informing them of how enjoyable and relaxing exercise can be. As with the study on food, the “exercise is fun” group chose to exercise more than the “exercise is healthy” group.

This enlightening article presented a key concept that should not be overlooked. Mindset is essential in all things, especially when making choices pertaining to lifestyle—what we choose to eat and how much physical activity we give ourselves. Suppose we see healthy foods as bursting with flavor rather than just being good for us. In that case, we will be more likely to eat them. By the same token, if we perceive exercise as making us feel fantastic instead of just something that should be done to improve health, then we will be more likely to do more of it.

I eat healthy foods because I love the way they taste, and I exercise because I love the way it makes me feel. The fact that these activities are good for my body is a huge benefit.

Mindset is key. Change your mindset about your habits, and your habits will change.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you have enjoyed it and found it informative. Please feel free to share it with anyone who might benefit from it.

photo credit: Alexander Drummer/

Does an Occasional Inconsistency Really Matter?


We often behave based on incentives and anticipated consequences. If a specific behavior will have a positive effect, we will likely move forward with it. Conversely, if an action is expected to have negative ramifications, we will most likely refrain from it. In my last post, I discussed immediate and delayed consequences, noting that our actions will often be based on immediate rather than delayed consequences. For instance, if a person is presented with the opportunity to experiment with a recreational drug, he may only consider the here-and-now pleasant experience rather than the possibility of lifelong addiction. 

I would like to provide two points of clarification. Within reason, it is what you do most of the time that counts. Doing something once or twice will not have a major impact on your life. I qualified this by stating “within reason” because many times, performing reckless behavior, even once or twice, can create catastrophic, lifelong repercussions. In addition to the recreational substance example, deciding to drive while intoxicated only once can produce irreparable damage for your entire life.

However, aside from careless behaviors, it is what you do most of the time that counts. Just as eating a single cheeseburger is not going to give you a heart attack, eating a single serving of veggies is not going to turn you into the picture of health. Conversely, eat cheeseburgers regularly, and you will likely see your health decline. Eat vegetables consistently, and you will likely enjoy good health. 

The second point of clarification is somewhat in opposition to the first point. Whereas it is true that a single act will not have major consequences on your health, it may have significant effects on your mind. There is a school of thought that believes the occasional indulgence will set you back mentally and emotionally. Suppose you have been eating healthy for a while and decide to reward yourself with that one cheeseburger. This will certainly have no ill effects on your health. However, you may savor its flavors so much that you decide to have another one tomorrow and perhaps again next week. If you have refrained from smoking for many months and then experience a stressful situation and choose to smoke a single cigarette to “help calm down,” this will have no adverse health impacts. However, you might have enjoyed this small indulgence so much that you decide to come back for more.  Again, although no immediate health impacts, there may be instantaneous mental effects, which can result in the restoration of the bad habit that you worked so hard to abolish.

Although consistency matters the most, sometimes, seemingly minor inconsistencies can have significant negative impacts.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you have enjoyed it and found it informative. Please feel free to share it with anyone who may benefit from it.

Which Consequences Matter to You?


One day this past summer, I was driving a friend home, and he was hungry. I stopped at a pizzeria, and he bought a meatball parm hero that he began eating on the drive. At one point, he took a bite, and a small piece of meatball, along with some sauce and oil, dropped out of the sandwich and onto his shirt. He immediately tried wiping it off with a napkin and was understandably upset because he thought his shirt might be permanently stained. 

As I glanced over at him, a thought popped into my head. Yes, he was justifiably concerned that his shirt may be ruined. However, what about the other consequences of that meatball hero? He was eating a sandwich filled with sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Although these substances would increase his risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, he did not seem disturbed about these potential health outcomes. Why was that? Why was he more concerned about what the sandwich did to his shirt than what it could potentially do to his health?

The major reason lies in the various types of consequences. His stained shirt was an immediate consequence. It happened at the time he was eating it, was quite obvious, and thus connected to the sandwich. However, the possible adverse health consequences mentioned are not so apparent. If they are going to occur, they will likely not arise for five, ten, or even twenty years. Those would be considered delayed consequences, occurring so far into the future that it would be exceedingly difficult to link them to the sandwich. 

Immediate consequences clearly have an enormous difference in impact compared to delayed consequences. Let us imagine that the opposite was possible for a moment—that immediately after eating the sandwich, my friend suffered a heart attack. If this was the case, I could pretty much guarantee that he would never eat a meatball parm hero again. 

I realize that I’ve made a bit of a stretch here. Eating a single unhealthy meal is not going to have unfavorable health effects, even after years have passed. However, consistently consuming unhealthy foods will most certainly increase the risk of poor health. The impact of each meal will add up over time until the outcomes become apparent. 

Please remember the difference between immediate and delayed consequences and their importance in your life. Just some food for thought (pun intended).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you enjoyed it and found it informative. If you know of anyone who may benefit, please feel free to share it.

FitMinute Podcast

I had a great conversation with Gabrielle Mazar on her podcast. The episode was called “The True Impact of Lifestyle on Your Health” and a lot of valuable information was shared.

Topics discussed include the importance of awareness about the foods you eat (they may not be as healthy as you think), the pillars of a healthy lifestyle and the reasons why your genes do not control your destiny.

Please click the link below to if you’d like to listen:

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or via the Contact page of this website.

Enjoy and be well!

Closing the Gap

Pietro Saura/

Have you been a couch potato for too long? Do you want to finally do something about it? If so— kudos to you!  One of the first things you should do is set specific health goals so that you have a depiction of where you currently are (point A) and where you wish to be (point B). Moreover, it may turn out that the gap between A and B is substantial, and consequently, many changes are required in order to close this gap.

Some people in this situation may be able to successfully make significant life changes in a short time to bring them closer to attaining their goals. However, this may prove too difficult for most people, and attempting to make extensive changes quickly can easily be a set-up for failure. I submit that making gradual and progressive small changes over time is a much better way to achieve big goals and close the gap. In short, for most people, baby steps are the way to go.

I wonder how many people reading this have a treadmill that now serves as a wardrobe. You purchased the treadmill with a strong desire to exercise and become healthier, which you did at the outset. However, over time, your commitment to becoming physically fit began to wane, and the treadmill began collecting dust. Not too long afterward, it began collecting piles of clothes. It is now difficult to even recognize it as a treadmill.

What can you do? The answer is to take baby steps. If you resolve to exercise consistently, make gradual changes. Start by removing a few articles of clothing each day over the course of a week. Now take a look at it—you actually have a treadmill again. Next, use it to take a five-minute walk. Over the following weeks, take longer walks and then short jogs. Then, begin to take longer runs on your brand-new closet-turned-exercise machine. You’ll feel great, have a lot of fun, and will be doing magnificent things for your health. 

In most instances, consistent and progressive baby steps are the best way to close the gap and accomplish big goals.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope that you have enjoyed it and found it informative. Please feel free to share it with anyone you think may benefit.

What is the Key Factor That Determines Your Outcomes?


Your outcomes in life will be determined by the actions that you take on a consistent basis. 

For instance, if you are working towards a specific goal, then it is the actions you take regularly in the service of that goal that will determine if and when it is accomplished. 

Regarding health, if you consistently eat unhealthy foods, then you are likely going to go on to develop lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer. 

Conversely, if you consistently eat healthy foods, you will significantly lower your risk of developing such conditions. 

Consistency is key.

Just like eating a single slice of pizza will not cause you to suffer a heart attack, eating a single bean and quinoa salad will not turn you into a picture of good health. 

Within reason, doing something once or twice will not have an appreciable impact on your outcomes.

It’s what you do most of the time that counts. Your small actions, added up over time, will have enormous effects on your life, whether good or bad.

Consistency is king.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you enjoyed it. Please feel free to share it with anyone you think may benefit from it. 

Commercials that Raise Questions

Max Rahubovskiy/

A few weeks ago, while I was taking a break from a busy ER shift in the doctor’s lounge, the television was on, and commercials were airing. The first two were promoting popular fast-food restaurant chains. The third was an advertisement for a chocolate cookie produced by a famous cookie company. Finally, the fourth was touting the benefits of a well-known prescription medication to help control the metabolic derangements caused by type 2 diabetes (DM2). 

Watching this sequence of promotions, I was struck by how absurd and illogical this seemed. As many of you may be aware, DM2 is predominantly a disease of lifestyle—individuals develop this disease by consistently eating unhealthy foods. It is preventable and reversible by living a healthy lifestyle. And here were three commercials endorsing foods that can lead to the development of DM2, followed by a commercial advocating for a medication that can help control the damage created by DM2, which, of course, was caused by the foods advertised in the preceding ads. 

Please realize that I am not telling anyone what they should and should not eat—that is a personal choice. I share this story because it stirred my thoughts and raised questions in my mind, and I hope it does the same for you. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope that you enjoyed it and found it informative. Feel free to leave comments and also feel free to share it with anyone that you think may benefit from it.

Revel in the Journey

Krivec Ales/

In recent posts, I’ve written a lot about goals and mentioned how having positive and worthwhile objectives is fantastic. Moreover, while striving for and achieving milestones is euphoric, something else should be recognized and appreciated—the process.

Your journey toward your goal should be an enjoyable one. If you have an exercise goal and have committed to activities such as walking, running, biking, or swimming—love the feelings. Enjoy the feeling of your heart racing, of breaking a sweat, of the burn in your pumping muscles, and of that “runners high.” It truly is exhilarating. Although I work hard during an intense exercise session, I feel invigorated and focused. Even a leisurely walk with my dogs provides me with feelings of well-being and clarity. 

If you want to genuinely live a healthy life and have a goal of eating well in addition to being physically active, then eat healthy foods that you enjoy. Fill your plate with colors and flavors that make your mouth water. There are countless ways to prepare vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains into delectable meals. Eating fruits ȧ la carte is also a wonderful experience. I often bite into a juicy apple or pop some grapes into my mouth and relish a sweet and savory moment. There’s nothing quite like eating foods appreciated by both your taste buds as well as the rest of you. 

Revel in the incredible and healthful experiences that you create for yourself.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you have enjoyed it. If you know of anyone who might benefit, please feel free to share it.

Visualize It

wendel moretti/

My wife Mayra always loved to exercise and keep fit. However, many years ago, she lost her motivation and stopped exercising. Moreover, although she was upset about it, she just couldn’t seem to get started again. I had been trying to figure out ways to help her, and I came up with the idea of creating an exercise calendar.

I purchased a twelve-month schedule book, and I drew up a grading scale on the last page. On this page, I had written things such as:

“5 workouts a month: You’re on the right track. Keep Going!”

“8 workouts a month: You’re building momentum!”

“12 workouts a month: Outstanding!”

“15 workouts a month: You’re on Fire!”

Mayra began to use this calendar and started to exercise again. Each day she worked out, she would draw an “X” on the corresponding date in the calendar.  It wasn’t long before she broke free from her inertia, built momentum, and was back in the swing of things and feeling fantastic.

This story illustrates two ideas. First, if you have a goal, having a written record of your progress is a good idea. Second, having a visual representation of this progress can serve as a phenomenal motivator that will help propel you toward your goals and dreams.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you found it enjoyable and helpful. If you have and know of anyone else who may benefit from it, please feel free to share it.