From Where I Sit: Healthy choices lead to healthy lifestyle

By: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
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Old habits die hard. When you have been doing something for 20 or 30 years or more, it is difficult, almost impossible, to stop.

I remember when I had driven a manual transmission car for quite a while. Then the next car I bought had an automatic transmission but I still reached down to shift gears for a long time. It was a force of habit.

This is probably even more forcefully true when it comes to what we eat as well as how much we eat. As a youth I could down six donuts at a time. An entire pizza was not safe. I remember eating an entire half gallon of ice cream at a time.

It all sounds so terrible now. How could you do such a thing? Isn’t that some form of abuse on your body? The thing is, every choice has its consequences. One obvious demonstration of that fact is reflected in our weight. As a general rule, we weigh what we do because of what we eat and how much we eat over decades of time.

I remember when 200 pounds was big. Then pushing 220 was an alarm. Oh for 220 now. I remember the shock when the doctor’s office scales read 250.

It is not only obesity that becomes an issue, but other ailments as well, such as diabetes or, in my case, gout. The first flare up a few years ago was scary. What is this pain in my toe and foot? Then there was a flare-up that lasted for a few days and suddenly walking became a problem.

Oh, but it didn’t stay there. It would sightsee around the body, into the knee (that was a killer), elbow and most recently my hand. Yes, that hand case posed a problem. Do you realize how many tasks require both hands? Tasks such as buckling a belt or hooking your pants.

I didn’t know how difficult it is to adequately brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. Writing was out of the question, and typing on the computer became a one-left-finger exercise.

It was quite the relief when the pain finally subsided. John Maxwell said that “people change when they hurt enough that they have to.” It is long past time to stock up on the fruits and veggies and lay aside (most of) the sweets and sodas for starters. As editor Don Chaddock chronicled in this paper, other smart choices lie ahead.

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