Control obesity with smaller food portions

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2015

There’s no secret, America is the fattest country on earth. Our obesity rate is skyrocketing, and it’s one of the many reasons medical insurance is costly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third or 78.6 million U.S. adult citizens are obese. It’s estimated that the annual medical costs of obesity was $147 billion in 2008 and has now climbed to $300 billion.

Now, I’m not going to list the variety of reasons for this atrocity, but will focus on one aspect all of us can control.

For some reason, Americans are obsessed with large food portions. We search for restaurants known to dish out oversized platters. Look around and you’ll see the explosion of buffet restaurants. Typically, for less than $10, you can stuff your face and feel like you ate your money’s worth. But, what really happened? You overloaded your body with probably low-quality food cooked in large amounts of sodium, unhealthy grease, and saturated in butter.

When tourists from other countries visit America, they are shocked on the size of our food portions.

What’s happened is we are all programed from childhood to finish off the food put on our plates. Our parents taught us not to leave or waste food. This thought process has been passed down since the Great Depression of the 1930s. And now, through current era, we are all accustomed to overloading our plates with the learned pattern of finishing it.

I’m not one who measures food portions and more than likely, neither are you. If you question yourself about food portions, then lift up your shirt. There’s your answer.

Here are a few tips:

1. Use smaller plates, bowls and cups

2. Eat salads, soups and veggies first, meats and proteins second, and carbs last.

3. When eating out, ask for an extra plate and share meals. It’s cheaper, plus you can have dessert.

4. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when satisfied. I eat six to seven times a day.

How many of you have heard the words “wow, have you lost weight?” If not, it starts with smaller food portions.

Go from good to great in your life

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

During my kids’ sports seasons, we had a serious discussion. I wanted them to recognize their potential skill level in order to improve their game.

I let them know that they are really good players like most of their teammates. But, now it’s time to separate yourself and become one of the great players. 

Great players fight to the end, no matter what the score reflects. Even if your team is getting slaughtered, you should be the leader that never gives up. Be the player who wants the ball with seconds left, and defend like your life depended on it.

You want to walk away knowing you put in every effort possible. That my friend, will earn you respect from players and coaches. 

We should all take that “great” attitude into our adult lives in order to truly accomplish goals. Are you a good or great employee, spouse or parent? 

If you’re trying to improve health, do you exercise and diet sometimes or every day? 

Who’s the leader in your family, work place or community? 

Challenge yourself, step up your game, and attack each day with full focus on the tasks at hand. Develop the habit of winning and not accepting defeat. You only fail when you give up. 

When life becomes a challenge, it’s your opportunity to develop strong character. 

Don’t tip-toe through life and settle on being just good at something. Learn to go from good to great. 

As the late, great Zig Ziglar always stated, “see you at the top.”

Seek a mentor and accomplish your goals

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 

Do you want to lose weight, start a business, write a book, or accomplish something completely out of your knowledge?

We all have a specific set of goals needing attention. The problem is, sometimes, we really don’t know how to get started.

I found the best path to reaching my goals was to find a mentor. There’s always someone who’s been down your path that has mastered your goals. 

Seek out that person, tell them your passion, and ask for advice. I promise, everyone enjoys feeling like the expert, and will gladly give tips and pointers. 

Now, don’t make the mistake and ask someone to take you under their wing and show you the ropes. That old “saying” needs be thrown away. Nobody has time for that. You should only ask a mentor for a few tips or one big piece of advice. Make sure, your very next step is exactly what they advised you to do. Otherwise, don’t bother them again. No one wants to keep giving advice to someone not putting their words into action. 

I desperately needed help when first starting my column for The Daily News. Sports editor James LaCombe became my mentor. He helped adjust my writing skills to format a newspaper. Believe me, in the beginning, he had to correct plenty of mistakes. Now, he barely has to correct any, if at all.

James told me it takes lots and lots of practice, so that’s what I do. I practice writing my columns every day. I’ve actually written many others that may never get published.  

How passionately do you really want to accomplish your goals? Seek out a mentor and pursue your dreams. Get out of your comfort zone and have the life you want and deserve.

Don’t waste time in the gym, add intensity

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2015 

I have several friends who are competitive body builders, fitness and figure professionals. It’s quite remarkable to watch them prepare for an upcoming competition show. The intensity, dedication and extreme diet they go through is almost indescribable.

My friend Frances Field, NPC Figure Champion, happened to be training and preparing in the gym recently. I typically strike up a conversation with Frances and her husband, but that day was not the day. She would have eaten me up.

Frances was frantically performing speed drills on different cardio machines, then sprinted through the gym, followed by push-ups and jumping jacks, then sprinted back to the cardio machines, only to repeat the process over and over.

I promise, everyone, got out of her way, for she had the “eye of the tiger.”

Her intensity, made me think about my own workouts. I sometimes find myself just going through the motions, watching the clock, not putting in much effort and practically wasting my time.

After observing Frances, I decided to kick up my intensity a few notches. I was lifting weights, so I added heavier weights with less rest in between sets. Within a few minutes, sweat was pouring out, my heart rate was up, the endorphins were kicking in, and I was feeling like Superman. Well, maybe more like Superman’s father. I am getting a little older, but you get my point.

Next time you’re starting any type of exercise, try using competitive intensity, and psych yourself up with a purpose of accomplishing goals.

One famous philosophy of the great Jhoon Rhee, father of American Tae Kwon Do — “It’s not how much time you put into it, but how much you put into the time.”

Think about it.

Accomplish goals using power of attraction

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I once had the opportunity to judge the long-jump event for track and field day at an elementary school.There was a very athletic fifth grade girl named Jackie, who was expected to break the school record.

After her first attempt, Jackie landed about four inches shy of the record. She asked me to show her where the school record was located and to mark it. Jackie starred at the marked record for a few seconds then prepared for her next jump. She eventually smashed the school record by nearly seven inches.

It took me a few years to understand how Jackie accomplished that feat. We all have mental goals for different parts of our lives. But, unless we can truly see them and feel them, our goals typically won’t be accomplished.

What are your goals in life? Be that of ideal-weight, running a marathon, dream job, life partners, or maybe an expensive house or car. Everyone has a different list.

Write down your goals, find pictures of them, and place them on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, dashboard of your car, and on your office desk.

You need these as constant reminders of what you want to accomplish. Do not look at them as a want or wish list, but produce the feeling as if you have already accomplished them. Walk through your daily lives as if you own those possessions, have that dream job, or ideal body weight.

When you can feel the presence of each goal, you will attract them into your lives. Don’t worry about how and when it will happen, just know it manifests through your intense power.

There’s a young lady named Cortney, who wanted to lose weight. I had her cut out pictures of herself when she was much thinner and place them around her house as a constant visual reminder of what she really looks like. Over the past several months, Cortney has lost over 20 pounds.

Use your “power of attraction” and place your goals all around you. I bet you’ll fly through the air and smash records like a fifth grade girl named Jackie

A lesson in focusing on task at hand

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Late last year while exercising in my local gym, I noticed a woman, probably in her 40s, training a young lady who had to be around 20 years of age. It was obvious that the younger lady was mentally challenged, for she never smiled, never talked or made eye contact with anyone.

Because of my curiosity, I struck a conversation to enquire about their situation. The older woman’s name was Vickie, and she told me that she had recently become Sarah’s guardian. Vickie also mentioned that since she regularly worked out in the gym, she decided to start taking Sarah with her.

Well, about five months had passed before we crossed paths again. Oh my goodness, I was in complete shock. Sarah had transformed her body into what looked like an Olympic athlete. She had lost most of her body fat and replaced it with muscle.

I expressed my surprise and joy to Vickie, then asked how Sarah, under her circumstances, was able to accomplish this transformation?

Vickie’s reply was that due to Sarah’s disability, she can only focus on one task at a time and gives it 100 percent effort. This is part of her mentality that helps her function in life.

Sarah noticed I was complimenting her because she looked deep into my eyes and produced a huge smile. My heart melted, and all I could do in return was to nod my head with a warming grin.

There are two “take-aways” from Sarah’s story. First, if we could all learn to give 100 percent focus on the task at hand, how more productive and organized our lives would be — be that occupational, educational, projects, relationships, spiritual, fitness and diet.

Second, I don’t have a PHD, but how many other mentally or physically challenged people would benefit from the use of a gym?

One thing I do know for certain, getting yourself in better shape produces confidence and endorphins.

Because of my crazy workout schedule, I haven’t seen Vickie and Sarah since then. But, the lesson learned from Sarah, will last me a lifetime.

You can’t outwork a bad diet

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 

I believe it was Steve Weatherford, punter for the New York Giants, who said “you can’t outwork a bad diet.” How true is this?

I’ve been training in the same gym for over 10 years. I’ve observed people who’ve been training the same amount of time and have not made any positive body changes. Obviously, the only reason is due to a bad diet.

There is one particular very overweight gentleman, who kills it on the treadmill and then plays at least an hour of competitive basketball. He is typically soaked in sweat when he leaves the gym.

Maybe, he is content with his high body fat percentage, but just a few positive tweaks of a diet would help him lose excessive weight.

How about you? Most people think if they perform lots of cardio, they can continue loading up on bad foods. Quit fooling yourself, you will stay fat.

The only plus is your legs will get strong because they have to support all that fat you’re carrying. Notice how most obese people have big strong calves. So, when they do decide to lose weight, they’ll have beautiful muscular legs.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I applaud everyone putting their bodies in motion to be healthier. But, if you’re trying to lose weight, then a proper diet is the only way.

Cardio exercise will boost metabolism, which helps the body shrink fat cells. But, loading up on greasy fried food, chips and cookies will fill them back up.

Why take the time and effort to put your body through vigorous exercise if you’re going to blow it all on bad foods?

You can lose more fat weight from dieting alone, instead of killing yourself with exercise. If you’ve been following my column, then you know you there’s no need to starve yourself to lose weight. Find my column “Eat if you want to lose weight”.

Proper equipment a must in some events

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Back when I was attending college, one of my professors encouraged me to compete in an upcoming triathlon. I was a very strong swimmer and a decent runner, so I decided to give it a try.

I was in need of bicycle, so I bought one at a garage sale for $50. I figured, like running shoes, your speed is up to the person wearing them. 

Since I was in college and working part-time, I only trained by myself. I was one of the crazy people racing down the feeder roads. My bike made all kinds of funny noises, but I didn’t give any thought.

Race day finally came. I was in great shape and ready to compete. The swimming event started and I was flying by the other competitors. Next, came the running portion, and I was still feeling confident, producing a great stride and keeping up with the front of the pack.

Well, then came the finale of the 50-mile bike ride. It was easy to find my bike amongst the other 1,000 because it was the only one with a kick-stand. I was a little embarrassed, but strapped on my helmet and took off with hopes of a medal. 

I didn’t get 100 yards and people were already speeding by me. I couldn’t believe it. How was this happening?

Then, a very much older man caught up with me, patted me on the back and said, “hang in there sonny,” and left me in the dirt. Now, I was plenty mad because almost everyone was passing me. Plus, I couldn’t hear them coming from all the noise my bike was making. 

At the end of race, I asked someone if I could test their bike. Oh my goodness, it probably weighed less than five pounds. When I peddled it, it took off like lightning.

It was obvious, if I wanted to compete in more triathlons, I would need a bike of this caliber. I asked the young man how much a bike like this would cost. His reply, “probably all these bikes are anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000.”

This was 1986 and I was a broke college kid. I grabbed my $50 bike, loaded it up in my $600 truck, and left with my tail between my legs.

So, what’s the moral of this story? If you want to compete in specific events, then you’ll probably need to invest in proper competitive equipment. 

By the way, I gave that old $50 bike to a homeless man. He was one happy fella.

Can you make Sports Center’s Top 10 plays in other parts of your life?

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 

Every day, ESPN’s SportsCenter shows the top 10 plays for all sports from the previous day. My family and I enjoy watching since some of the plays reflect spectacular feats of athleticism.

Before my kids start one of their own games, we talk about performing well enough to make SportsCenter’s Top 10.

This made me think and evaluate other parts of my life. Do I make top 10 plays as a parent, spouse, business man, writer or even with my health?

What about you? We teach our kids to perform at their best, but are you setting the example. Just know, your kids are watching your every move and making their own judgements.

Which parent are you? The one who comes home, complains about work, expects dinner to be ready, plops on the couch and yells at kids because you can’t hear the TV.

When’s the last time you got up a little earlier and made your special breakfast for everyone? How about that house project that’s been lingering around for months? Maybe it’s time to come home to your kids and play catch, kick a soccer ball or shoot some hoops.

Make a date night with your spouse, and do something you both enjoyed when dating. This will help you remember why you fell in love.

Maybe it’s time to step up your game at work and ask to take on extra projects. Show your bosses that you’re the “go to” employee.

Now, it’s time to embrace your life and make SportsCenter Top 10 plays in every aspect of it. Be the person you want your kids to become. Love your spouse and thank them for all they’ve done for you and family.

I promise, you’ll start loving every minute of every day because you stopped wasting time and have a purpose in life

Your body ready for swimsuit weather?

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Is it really Spring Break already? Are you ready for “take my shirt off” weather, or wearing swimming suits in public?

I wonder how many of you, by now, have quit your New Year resolution for fitness and diet? Statistically, the answer to that question is around 90 percent.

I can give you all the fitness and diet tips needed to get in better shape, but my advice won’t make a difference unless you take a “that’s it” attitude.

What do I mean by “that’s’ it”? It means you’re fire-blasting mad and aggressively motivated.

You’re mad, because you’ve lacked self-discipline, and allowed yourself to become a lazy, grease-eating blob. Yep, I just got in your face and told the truth, unlike the people around you. I hope you’re so mad that you punched my picture. You already know your worst diet habits, so tell yourself “that’s it — no more.

I am not driving through a fast food restaurant to and from work anymore.”

You’re now motivated because you’ve come to accept your failures, realize you can’t go back in time and will start making positive changes. Right now is what you control; right now is attitude.

When you’re mad, you get an attitude. Take that same attitude toward getting in better shape and making proper diet choices. Go at it like a prize fighter, because we all have a fighter in us. Come out swinging and kick your lazy bad habit’s butt.

There’s no better self-reward than accomplishing goals in diet and exercise.

Like I’ve written before, it’s not about perfection, its’ progression.

Today’s step is one step closer to goals than yesterday.

Now, get real, try on your swimming suit or take your shirt off. Tell yourself “that’s it, I’m going into ‘beast mode’” and will have my body ready by summer time.

Look out everyone, there’s a new hottie in town.