Why are people addicted to junk food?

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 

Recently, I was a guest speaker to a group of high school seniors. One student asked me my thoughts of why people become addicted to junk food.

The following reply is my explanation of why there’s an obesity epidemic that plagues our present-day society.

You see, back in the early days, there was only one parent working which was typically the father. The mother stayed home bearing all the responsibilities of raising children and house work.

Most all meals were prepared by mom using fresh vegetables and fruits from the garden or the local grocery store. All meats and fish came from area farmers and lakes. Eggs and dairy came from grass-fed cattle and chickens.

Now, I’m not saying all of mom’s meals were completely healthy because there was a lot of flour and grease used for cooking back then. But, it still wasn’t processed foods.

Fast forward to present day, and our American society has drastically changed. Now you have both parents working to create better financial security. Mom and dad put in a full day’s work and cooking becomes too great a chore. It’s much easier to grab precooked processed foods on the way home.

Your kids probably have multiple activities after school like dance rehearsals, baseball practice, karate lessons and so on. Both parents are going in multiple directions trying to accommodate the needs of each child. “Honey, you get food for Billy, and I’ll grab something for Suzie. See y’all later tonight.”

Also, present-day children’s lunchboxes are filled with foods that come in wrappers, boxes and juice packets. All these are loaded with sodium and sugar. Read the labels and you’ll be upset with yourself.

Lastly, I told the group of high school seniors, when you were kids, how often did you attend birthday parties on the weekends? Because we live in such crowded cities along with multiple activities, kids will have tons of friends. Which is fine, but they are probably eating birthday cake and ice cream almost every weekend.

So, how do we change these destructive eating habits in our crazy busy parenting lives?

You already know the answer. You must grocery shop and meal plan for the entire week. This includes breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Give your kids a variety of veggies, fruits and nut treats to find out which are their favorites.

Parents, I know you’re busy and tired, but you must take a step back and teach your kids a healthier diet. You’re setting them up for a better quality of life.

“The Power of You”

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 

My sister Karen Tepera Franklin is a very successful business woman in the apartment management industry. Each year, Karen hosts an annual conference she created called WAM — Women’s Asset Managers.

Over the past few years, WAM has grown from three women to nearly 200, and has become a nationally known and recognized conference.

This year’s conference theme was “The Power of You.” Recently, Karen was in town visiting, so I had an opportunity to pick her brain about the theme.

Karen explained that all of us have a story that empowers us. Almost all successful people had dealt with tragedy and failure. It’s during these times we truly find ourselves and the will to power through it.

Now, how true is all that statement? I’m sure each of you, at this very moment, is reflecting on past or current struggles. Most common struggles are healthier lifestyles, occupational changes, relationships and self-worth.

Here’s how Karen and many others have used “The Power of You” to enhance their lives and accomplish goal setting.

You have to take on the mindset of a gladiator. In case you don’t know, the true term of a gladiator is a warrior that goes into each battle knowing that if you don’t give your all, you’ll die. This means you’ll empower determination to focus on a target and not stop until it’s been conquered.

Have you ever heard the phrase “burn the boats?” It’s when you land on an island to build a new life. You burn the boats so there’s no escaping and returning to failure. You’re forced to work and fight every day if you want to survive.

The beauty of this type of determined behavior is the final reward. You’ll win each day and be one step closer to your target. Even the days you get knocked down, you’ll learn from it, regroup, re-strategize and come out swinging.

One of my dad’s favorite quotes is, “It’s not that I want to. I had to”.

Make it a great day

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Recently, I was listening to a radio interview with Troy Aikman, Hall of Famer and former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Aikman was asked about his former wide receiver Michael Irvin. His response was how Irvin can turn an average practice into a great one with his enthusiasm and work ethic.

Let’s all think about how we can apply that same mentality and turn our average days into something great.First, start by recognizing and being thankful for everything you already have. I sometimes remind my kids that there are thousands of other kids who would love to trade places, so appreciate what you have.

Take your average day at work: complete unfinished projects, help a colleague or decide to treat others with more respect and make everyone’s day better.

Maybe when you get home this evening, instead of plopping on the couch, take a brisk walk and enjoy the outdoors.

Take the family to the park, their favorite restaurant, get ice cream or just find time to interact with them. Kids want parents to listen to them and be loved. I sometimes try to be sillier than my kids. They think I’m the biggest dork, and I love it.

When’s the last time you surprised your spouse with a random heartwarming hug along with a passionate kiss? Look at them and say “just because,” then walk away and leave them in shock. This could be your lucky day — wink wink.

Listen, we all battle the brutal world during our average days. Don’t let yourself get caught up going through life just making ends meet while being stuck in the same old routine.

Tap into your creative mind and start thinking outside the box. Find what you truly have a passion for and apply it into your daily life.

I have a passion for many things, but I get the biggest kick out multiple acts of kindness throughout my day.

I typically work in a variety of hospitals each week. So, I interact with complete strangers all day long via parking garages, elevators, offices and operating rooms. I always hold the door and greet people with a smiling, head-nodding hello.

At least I know, for one brief moment, that person had an opportunity to smile. They might be having a bad day, and that one smile helped them get back on track to a great day.

Now go for it and make it a great day, too.

Let’s hit a walk-off home run

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Tuesday, October 4, 2016

As a batter in baseball, there’s not a more compelling hit than a walk-off home run. I’ve never accomplished that, but it has to be the most amazing feeling to know you’ve won the game with one powerful hit.

It’s a moment of glory as you stroll around the bases while the fans, family members and teammates are celebrating you as the game hero.

It’s truly amazing that so many years of hard work, determination and patience can be rewarded in a split second. If you think about it, we’ve all had a moment of a walk-off home run feeling.

As we go through life, there are many situations we battle trying to accomplish success. Maybe you were diagnosed with a major health issue and conquered it.

How many years does it take to reach a high school diploma, a college degree, buying a house, job promotions, retirement, and so on?

All the late nights of studying, long hours of work and never letting negative influences keep us from accomplishing our dreams.

Life will constantly throw us curve balls trying to get us off course. We’ve all been knocked around, bruised and punched. But because of our strong will and pride, we get back up and kick the world’s butt.

My son Dylan has been training for six months for his first physique contest which is in a few weeks. He spent the summer months before his senior year of high school training and eating like a champion.

How difficult do you think that was for a teenager, giving up time with friends and eating junk food? Not Dylan, because he stayed focused with a “win and take all” attitude.

Remember, there’s no situation or person who can stop you. You’re on a mission to improve your life and swing for the fences. So flip the bat, shake your fists and scream at the top of your lungs because you made it.

Of course, hopefully, you had a support system of family members and spouses to be thankful for because they will be the ones cheering as you round the bases of success.

Now go ahead, strap on your helmet, step up to the plate and hit a walk-off home run because you’re the game’s hero.