Thursday, October 30, 2014

Love, Loyalty, and a Winning Attitude (more life lessons from Buddy the WonderDog

A couple of years ago, I started thinking about a companion for our then two year old son. We wanted a gentle dog he could grow up with, that would always treat him well.

A friend recommended we try a Golden Retriever. After some research we started looking around. There were a lot of them available from breeders, especially down South, but nothing up here. 

Then one day, we came across a little Buddy, just 3 months old. He was such a cute little thing, and he was definitely on his best behavior. He did all the things dogs in that position do, that say "Pick Me, Pick Me!" So we did. 

Somehow, it never crossed our minds that 14 months later, our cute little Buddy would become a 70 pound Big Buddy. But that's what he's become. Now he's more than twice the size of our now four year old. 

Fortunately, for such an exuberant dog, Buddy's also developed a strong sense of restraint when they play together. He's amazingly strong. So it's doubly amazing what he lets the kids get away with. He really loves those kids. 

He lets them pull him around, hang all over him, and generally do lots of mischief guaranteed to start a fun fight. But he just takes it with a grin. It's almost as if he understands that "this one, you leave alone." Now that's loyalty. But man, if I get down to wrestle or play chase, it's "Game On, No Mercy."

I also love his attitude about things. Some dogs are whiners. We've all seen them. Talk about annoying. They're never satisfied. But Buddy just waits patiently for the next opportunity to come along. If we're not ready to roll with him, he just says: "Rokay" and lays back down until we get with the program. 

He's not too pushy when we're trying to eat, either. Don't get me wrong, it's amazing how fast he inhales anything that happens to hit the floor. I watched him scarf Michael's entire sandwich one time when he accidentally dropped it. We'll have to work on that.

One of thing the coolest things about Buddy is his Indomitable Spirit. This is one of the five tenants of martial arts, that basically means "Never quit, never give up. Ever." He's got this in spades!

He's never caught those birds that take off out in front of us. Not one time. But every day, it's on! He's also never caught a vehicle going away from us, but every day, it's on! 

When it's all over, and he comes up short (again), he doesn't cry about it, or quit trying. He just moves on to something else temporarily. The next time we flush out a bird or two, he announces he's coming and watch out! Now that's a winning attitude. We can learn a lot from our little Buddy!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Do You Know What You're Eating?

Do You Know What You're Eating?

For Biggest Losers, Week One was about getting moving and tracking how MUCH they ate. Week Two was about turning up the intensity of their exercise, and improving WHAT they ate.

Regardless what diet you're on, or what company's supplements you take, the best results always come from the most committed people. Whatever you do, if you stick to it, and work hard, you're bound to get results.

Personally, I'm convinced the best diet is NO diet. You simply choose to eat better. I've noticed that most diets and nutrition supplement companies still have two things in common. Whatever the product or protocol, you're also supposed to: 1) stop eating junk, and 2) exercise. So I think we should at least do that, right? Quit eating the junk and get plenty of exercise.

Now I'm not a nutritionist, but over the years, many Biggest Losers have gotten great results with normal meals that have a serving each of Protein, Starch, and Fruits or Greens. Here's why that matters.


Protein is for building muscle and bone. But most people don't get enough protein in their diet. Good sources of protein include low fat dairy products like milk, yogurt and cottage cheese; lean cuts of beef, pork, poultry, fish, nuts and some beans. Many active people find it helpful to supplement their protein intake with protein shakes.


Starches are complex carbs that take awhile for your body to break them down, so they give you long lasting energy. They also have lots of vitamins and minerals. Good sources of starch include high quality whole grain cereals, oats, breads, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pastas (whole wheat),  rice (long grain wild), and some beans.

Be careful with these, as starches have a large effect on your insulin levels, especially if you have diabetes. If you do, check with your doctor. Most of us eat way too much starch, especially processed, and refined carbs (junk foods). These are basically simple sugars with almost no nutritional value. Avoid these and focus on high quality complex carbs. Even so, try to limit yourself to just one serving per meal.


Fruits are obvious, and provide great quick energy and lots of vitamins and minerals. We typically don't eat enough of them. The more variety the better. Have one for breakfast, and another as part of a healthy snack.

Greens are all those vegetables we tend to avoid, but they're very important to good health. They provide lots of vitamins and minerals and have lots of fiber too. Try to eat at least a serving or two a day!

Remember, a meal is pretty good for you when it contains a serving of protein, high quality starch, and fruits or greens. Here are some great examples we've seen lots of people use over the years. They're simple, balanced, and easily available:


• Whole grain cereal, a cup of 1% milk, and fresh or frozen strawberries or blueberries.

• Oatmeal, Milk, and a Banana.


• 6" Sub on whole grain, with chicken and lots of vegetables.

• Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich on whole grain bread, and a banana.


• A serving of Meatloaf, 1/2 of a sweet potato, and a serving of frozen mixed vegetables.

• A chicken breast, whole grain pasta, and a mixed salad with low fat dressing.

Finally, don't forget to mix in 2-3 healthy snacks. A quality snack will have both carbs (for quick energy) and protein (for muscle and bone). Some good snacks include:


• Apple slices w/peanut butter.

• Fruit & yogurt.

• Whole grain crackers & cheese.

• Protein shake.

• Protein Bar

Most women will be comfortable and lose weight around 1,500-1,650 calories a day. Smaller women may need a little less, and taller women may need as much as 1,800 calories. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) says women should never go below 1,200 calories a day. This can be a problem, as many women aren't hitting their minimum calories each day. This actually makes it harder for them to lose weight. You've got to hit your "minimum."

Men will usually do well around 2,400 calories a day, and some men can even get by on 2,000-2,200 depending on motivation. The ACSM says men should never go below 1,800 calories, but that's usually not a problem, as guys tend to overeat. Watch your portions.

If things go wrong and you get derailed, don't sweat it too much, unless it's happening all the time. Most experts will tell you its O.K. to have a "cheat" meal or day once in a while. You just had it. Now get back with the program. You might add some extra cardio to catch up. Above all, remember that diets usually come to an end, but eating right will last forever.

So there you have it. Give it a try. Who knows? Maybe you'll end up as one of our Biggest Losers, too!

Our Week Two Winner for Biggest Loser "22" was Tracy Whitaker, who lost 4.4 lbs and 2.6% of her body weight. Colton Gore took 2nd place, losing 4.6 lbs and 2.3%, and Mark Clark finished 3rd, losing 5.8 lbs and 2.1%.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Don't Let Your Guard Down

Don't Let Your Guard Down.

I had a sad conversation with someone just the other day. They'd done really well and lost a lot of weight in one of our recent Biggest Loser groups. Unfortunately, just three short months later, they'd put all the weight back on.

After they finished that particular Biggest Loser, they'd had college classes to content with, along with lots of kids activities going on. Basically, they went from being really active to not moving at all.

This is pretty common. It's hard to maintain Biggest Loser levels of intensity for much more than a few months at a time. Then there's going to be a point when you have to ease up a little bit.

Ideally, that's when you go into maintenance mode. You back off a little in your workouts, and relax a little in your diet. It's normal. After a little break, if you have more to lose, you get back on the weight loss train.

Some people though, just completely let off the gas. I've known several who lost 100 lbs, only to put it back on a year later. Maybe even half the people who loss some serious weight put much of it back on.

I think it has to do with fatigue. Physical and mental fatigue. They get tired of it all. It seems easier to just let go than keep fighting and hanging on. So when life starts pressing in, they simply surrender. Later, they wake up to the realization that now they have to do it all over again.

Fortunately, the knowledge of what to do is still there. They also know they CAN do it, because they've done it before. They just need to pull the trigger on the whole thing, and get started again. But even that can be difficult because they know how hard it was the first time.

So don't let this happen to you. Once you've achieved your goals, stay watchful. Stay on your guard. If you're paying attention, you can catch it quickly when things start slipping back the other way.

Better to make some small adjustments now than having to make big adjustments later. As Ben Franklin said: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Or pounds of cure!

Work out a little longer, a little harder, or maybe even a little more often, and you'll burn off those excess calories. Or dial back your diet and deal with it that way. Even better, do a little of both. Pick up your activity level AND tighten up your eating.

However you do it, stay watchful. Don't let your guard down. Keep a close eye out for danger. You can take a little break as long as you keep doing the little things. Stay the course. It just might keep you from having to do it all over again!

Speed Bumps May Slow You Down, But Don't Let Them Stop You

Speed Bumps.

We've all experienced them. Just like with those bumps in parking lots, we've all faced some speed bumps in life, too.

You can be cruising right along, happy with how things are going. Then, all of a sudden, BAM, your undercarriage bottoms out, your head hits the top, and you have to take your foot off the gas. Frustrating, right?

Now I'm not talking about those major life crises, like cancer, heart attacks, massive financial setbacks, or even a spouse saying it's over. At that point, everything changes, and it has to. In situations like this, it's going to take everything you have just to survive.

But speed bumps are designed just to slow you down a little bit. That's the kind of distraction we're talking about here. Things that just throw us off track. It could be as simple as getting the flu, or sinus issues slowing you down. Or having your kids start fall ball.

I see it all the time at the gym. People finally get their mojo going and all of a sudden, their other obligations start pressing in. Maybe they get mandatory overtime for a couple weeks. Often, it's the extracurricular activities their kids are involved in.

Right now, I can think of three of our current Biggest Losers with young toddlers. They're too old to just put 'em in a baby bouncer or portable baby carrier. Those were the days, right? Just set 'em down and hop on the elliptical. All you had to do was give them a little toy and smile at them from time to time. They're happy. You're happy.

But not now. Set em down in a kiddie corral and try to hop on a treadmill. It's like you're leaving the state! I saw this just a couple days ago at the gym. Mom put her little one in our kids area for the first time, and put the gate up.

It looked pretty good the first few minutes, but cries of "Mommy, Mommy" soon rang out. So she hopped off and went over to comfort her child (as she should have). After the toddler calmed down and knew Mommy was still there, Mom went back and tried it again, but to no avail. She'd hit a speed bump.

Another couple I know did really well with their exercise in their little boy's first year. But once he got mobile, all bets were off. They tried taking turns at the gym while the other watched their son, but it didn't really work out.

I've seen some moms pushing those souped up strollers while going out for a walk or even a run. I used that strategy too, when my son was a baby. It helped him go nite-nite.

Actually it was for his afternoon nap. I had a loop around the kitchen island, around the dining table, through the living room and bedroom, and then back again. A few laps always did the trick and I can still hear his voice asking "Daddy, ride?"

When he was a little older, I'd push him up and down our lane. He loved it and I got some cardio too. I even know a gal who pushed a double stroller, with a dog running alongside, for several miles, all at a pretty good clip. Talk about your multi-tasking.

We've all seen families go out for bicycle rides together. I know families who now run 5K's together. Recently on television, I even saw a family running a Spartan Sprint four mile obstacle course together. Now that was impressive.

It's natural to slow down a little, when you encounter bumps in the road. But if you can find a way to keep on going and quickly get back up to speed, I know you'll reach your destination!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


We just wrapped up Week One of Biggest Loser "22" and it seems like quite a good start. This is the first time for this new leaner, meaner, shortened version of Biggest Loser, and everyone's pretty excited.

For ten years, Biggest Loser has always been 12 weeks long and there've been lots of success stories. Still, I was wondering how we could be more effective, because even the best groups still had a dropout rate as high as 50%.

Most of those people drop in the first month, so I was thinking, what if we shortened it to 7 weeks? Would more people stay, figuring they could see the light at the end of the tunnel?

Biggest Loser groups also tend to morph into two smaller groups: one getting great results right away, but the other not doing quite so well. Obviously, if you were in the half doing great, the work was worth it. But if you were struggling a little bit, it was often easier to just give up.

Really, they just needed to be patient and keep doing what they were doing. Then in week four or five, things would start to click. But lots of people gave up before that happened.  So the goal was to help more people get better results sooner, so they could get some momentum going.

Since it was going to be shorter, we were going to have to step it up. I'd been experimenting with ways to kill the down time while I was presenting information. Last time out, I did some lectures while they were on the Treadmills, Bikes, Rowers, and Ellipticals. This worked pretty well so I decided to do ALL our presentations that way.

The goal for Week One was to "Just Get Moving." There they were, tromping and pedaling away, while I told them who won that week, and how much they all lost. It was pretty cool.

I also had a captive audience for our other main topic, which was "Knowing How Much You're Eating." So we talked about that while they got some interval training at the same time!

Then we used the mat time to do a quick dumbbell weight routine. During that part of the workout, we talked about the main focus of Week Two, which is "Caring about the Quality of your Foods."

Covering the material this way kept them moving the entire time, and kept the whole weigh-in and workout to just an hour. It used to take quite a bit longer because there was always so much important information to present that first week.

Finally, if we were going to help them get better results sooner, we needed to help them out more during the week. I've been posting their daily workouts for awhile now, but we decided to give them free access to all our classes during the week as a bonus!

So for the first time ever, we had a bunch of Biggest Losers during Boot Camp Workouts and KickBoxing classes too. A few of them did 5:30 Boot Camp, walked on the treadmill from 6:15 to 7:00, and then did Biggest Loser for an hour. Wow.

I've always heard "If you've got a big goal, you've got to take big action!" They're definitely doing that, and I hope more of them are going to be happy with the results.

Some people very happy with the results are this week's Biggest Losers. Christy Henry finished first, losing 10.4 lbs and 4.5% of her body weight. Avoree Gore was second, losing 7.2 lbs and 3.5%, and Tracy Whitaker came in third, losing 5.4 lbs and 3.1%.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mark Clark Wins Biggest Loser "21"

We just finished Biggest Loser "21" on Monday night, and we also started a new one, too. As expected, Mark Clark was the overall Biggest Loser, after a tremendous run up to the finish.

The winner of many of the early weeks, Mark came on strong in the last three weeks, losing about 20 pounds. He finished first in Week Twelve, losing another 6.4 lbs and 2.3% of his body weight.

Krista Krabel finished second for Week Twelve, losing 1.6 lbs and about 1.0%. Completing the 12 weeks was especially satisfying for her. She had tried a couple years ago but had to drop out due to pressing health issues. It was nice seeing her successes every week.

Our Biggest Loser over the 12 weeks, Mark Clark lost a total of 54.2 lbs, and 20.0% of his body weight. This was even more impressive because he did it in just 11 weeks, having joined us after we'd already completed Week One. This breaks down to a weekly average of 4.9 lbs, almost 5.0 lbs a week!

Mark says that sticking with it is key. He also says he had a lot of help from his faith. It gave him a purpose for all that hard work, as well as strength when he needed it. He still has quite a way to go before he gets to his ideal weight, but now he knows he can do it.

We also started the new Biggest Loser "22" last Monday night. For the first time ever, we've shortened it to seven weeks. If people are going to drop out, it usually happens by then. Those that are left usually have the tools and motivation they need to succeed, so they're ok. They just keep doing what they're doing, like Mark did.

What I'm looking for, is to try to give the others more success. Hopefully, more people will feel like they can stick it out for at least seven weeks, and they'll have more incentive and motivation to do so.

We're going to make a couple of other changes too. Normally, I start off easy and ramp it up over the 12 weeks. With the shorter seven week structure, we've got to hit the ground running, so each workout will be a little tougher. This time, the workouts will be similar to the well known "T-25" and "P90x3" workouts, made popular by Beach Bodies, like you see on TV.

For the first time ever, we're also giving them free access to our regular boot camp and kickboxing classes. I wanted to give them lots of chances to succeed. They'll need to modify a few things in those classes early on, but it won't take long before they get up to speed. I'll keep you posted!

If you'd like to participate in this new, shorter 7-Week Biggest Loser, we still have lots of room, and you can still join in. There are several members from the Rec Center taking the class, alongside members from the gym. Everyone's welcome.

See me as soon as possible so we can get your initial weigh-in, and I can take you through the fitness assessment they did last Monday night. The first official workout is next Monday night at 7pm, so I hope to see you then!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

From Pot Bellies to Pocketbooks (Part 3)

Last week, we looked at Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps for dealing with debt and finding financial peace. This week, we're going to apply those same Baby Steps to the battle of the belly.

Baby Step One is to do whatever it takes to establish a basic $1,000 emergency fund as quickly as possible. This is a small buffer against trouble, and gives you some peace of mind. Perhaps more important, it gives you a sense that maybe you CAN do this thing.

That may be the biggest problem confronting someone with a lot of weight to lose. It can often seem impossible, especially if you've tried and failed before. That's why I like to hit the ground running with new Biggest Losers. The goal is to get them moving twice a day, right from the start. At the same time, they're looking closely at their calories.

It's kind of like working to bank some cash in a hurry. But here, they're trying to bank some calories through diet and exercise. If they can get a daily deficit of 1,000 calories going, they'll lose at least two pounds that first week. Many people lose more; sometimes much more.

When they do, it really boosts their morale, and gives them some peace about the whole weight loss thing. That makes it much more likely they'll succeed.

Baby Step Two is "The Debt Snowball." The goal is to seriously change behavior and create some momentum through "gazelle intensity."

When you tackle huge weight loss, it can often seem overwhelming. By starting with smaller, easier workouts like just walking a mile, you learn you can do it. You start gaining confidence and skill, and can then add time and difficulty to your workouts.

This means you start burning more calories, which means more pounds lost. That builds even more confidence and momentum. Suddenly, you really start to believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Finally, Ramsey's third baby step is to fully fund a 3-6 month emergency fund. This protects you against many of the different bad things that might happen.

It's kind of like losing a lot of weight, but you still have the risk of gaining it back. I've seen it time and time again. Here's where banking another 3-6 months with your routines is a good idea. It makes sure you've truly developed new habits, where you stay focused on healthy eating and lots of movement. That will protect you against ever putting that weight back on.

To help you get that early calorie deficit and weight snowball going, the new Biggest Loser will be just 7 weeks long. But it's going to be packed full of stuff! This should give you a big kick start, and everyone should be able to do 7 weeks!

For the first time ever, we're also going to open up our Boot Camp and kickboxing classes to Biggest Losers at no charge. This will give you even more chances to succeed!

The new Biggest Loser "22" starts Monday, October 13th. The class will meet Mondays for an hour, starting at 7:00 pm. For more information, give me a shout.

If you're like me, many of us need to work on our debt. A lot of us need to work on our weight too. Let's do the baby steps together and burn some fat!

The A-B-C's of Weight Loss (Part 2)

Last week, I gave you some tips based on the letters A-M, that were hopefully both inspirational and motivating. But I had several people tell me that the column fell a little short.

If I was doing the Alphabet, I couldn't just stop at M. Instead, I needed to complete O through Z too. Okaaay. So here goes. Thank God I had another week to think about it.

O is for doing Outstanding work, always. Don't compromise.

P is for Prevention. If you don't have cookies in the house, you can't eat em.

Q is for Quit beating yourself up already. I mean, knock it off!

R is for having Relationships that build you up, not break you down.

S is for Satisfy your urge once in awhile for chocolate. A cheat snack or meal here and there makes diets work better.

T is for Treat others the way you would want to be treated.

U is for Undo the chains you've put around yourself. You have to love you, and you're worth loving.

V is for enjoying the Victory. Even the small ones. You fought hard for them.

W is for hard Work. Amazing results take amazing effort.

X is for X-Ray. Try to avoid too many of these. Okay, it's not that great, but YOU come up with a good X!

Y is for Yogurt. Learn to like it. It's high in protein and good for your digestion.

Z is for Zero in on what really drives you. You'll go further if you're passionate about it.

This week's Biggest Loser was once again Mark Clark, who had another great week. This time, he lost 5.6 lbs, bringing his total weight loss up to 47.8 lbs!

Biggest Loser "22" starts next Monday night at 7pm with our new 7 week format. It's going to be fast and furious, as we give you the tools you need to succeed, including FREE boot camp and kickboxing classes! If you're ready to turn this thing around, this is your chance, don't miss it!

From Pot Bellies to Pocketbooks (Part 2)

Last week we looked at some similarities between too much weight in your pocketbook (debt), and too much weight in your waistband (fat). Both can drag you down, and if you're not careful, both can be disastrous.

This week, we're going to look at a way to fix the first problem. For cutting down our debt, I'm a big fan of Dave Ramsey's "The Total Money Makeover" and "Financial Peace University." According to Dave, you need to take personal responsibility for our money and so it "quits happening to you." Instead, we need to start "happening to it." You do this by using a step by step approach called Baby Steps."

Baby Step One is to build a starter emergency fund of $1,000 as quickly as possible. With that, comes getting on an actual budget where you "give every dollar a name and tell it where to go." This will give you some breathing room, and keep you from getting further into debt for those little "emergencies" that seem to happen all the time.

Now you start Baby Step Two, with what Dave calls the "Debt Snowball." List all debts except your mortgage, smallest to largest. Then make no more than the minimum payments on everything except your smallest debt. For that one, you're going to throw everything at it that you can.

Every available extra dollar goes toward that smallest debt until you pay it off. Then you bring all your resources to bear on the next one in line, and so on. As you start paying a few off, you start to gain confidence. You also gain momentum, because now you've freed up more resources to throw at the next one and so on. Hence, the term "Debt Snowball."

Once you have all your personal debts cleared away, (except your mortgage), you start on Baby Step Three. This is where you start building a fully funded emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses. Now you have even more resources to throw at it, because you're not having to make minimum payments on credit cards, car loans and other debt.

Once this is done, there are additional Baby Steps that cover investing for retirement, paying off the house, funding the kids' college, and then "Living and giving like no one else." But for our purposes, we'll stop with the first three Baby Steps outlined above.

Just getting that far would seriously change our lives, right? A huge burden would be lifted. We could move through life a lot easier. It would almost be like losing 100 lbs!

Now if you need to lose 100 lbs, it's going to take the same effort it takes to lose the debt. But you're going to feel like a million bucks! Next week, we'll look at the baby steps you can use to gain and build momentum in the battle for your belly.

The A-B-C's of Weight Loss (Part 1)

I've seen hundreds of people successfully lose weight. But I've also seen others fail. Over the years, I've often wondered what the difference was between them.

After lots of reflection, I believe it comes down to what I call the A-B-C's. These are things that successful people seem to have in common, in weight loss, but and also in life.

While I didn't make it all the way through the alphabet, here are plenty of ideas to get you started:

A is for an Attitude of action. Successful people DO something about it.

B is for Behavior that helps. You've got to do the right things more than occasionally.

C is for Commitment to the long haul. Without this, your dreams are just dreams.

D is for Discipline when it hurts. Nothing great ever came without some sort of pain.

E is for Exercise for the rest of your life. You just have to do it.

F is for having Fun. Learn some new ways to get moving. Find something you like.

G is for how Great you're going to feel when you get it done. Truly.

H is for having the Heart of a Hunter. If you're just sitting around waiting for it to happen, you're probably prey.

I is for being Intentional. Doing certain things on purpose, everyday.

J is for Joining a group, a club, or a gym. You don't have to go it alone.

K is for Kickstart the process. Do something designed to get you started.

L is for Learning. The more you know, the more effective you are. Really successful people never stop learning.

M is for Momentum. Once you start moving, it's easier to keep moving.

N is for Never quit. Winners never quit and quitters never win.

O is for Once again, our Biggest Loser was Mark Clark, who lost another 4.6 lbs this week. Krista Krabel placed second, losing 1.5 lbs, and Keith Borchers finished third, losing 1.4 lbs.

If you'd like to put some of these principles into practice, Biggest Loser "22" starts October 13th at 7:00 pm. With a brand new format and just 7 weeks long, this Biggest Loser also includes free access to our Boot Camp and KickBoxing classes. Sign ups are underway right now. Let me know if you're interested.

From Pot Bellies to Pocketbooks (Part 1)

Over the last few weeks, I've been fortunate to be part of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University at our church. I may be the coach, but I'm really taking the class just like the rest of hem.

Most of us are wanting to get a handle on excess debt, the budget, and creating an emergency fund. Financial Peace University is a great way to do that. It's a great program that has served us well before.

Several years ago, Kathy and I used Dave's principles to pay off lots of debt and it really worked. But unfortunately, it's all to easy to slip back into the convenience of getting things now, and paying for them later.

Staying debt free is tough, even if you've done it before. It reminds me of people who've lost weight, but then put it back on. They worked so hard to get there, but then slipped back into their old habits.

That kind of debt is kind of like excess weight. Both lead to problems. Obesity often leads to diabetes, or high blood pressure, and then other things. But excess debt makes your life tougher too.

Too much debt means excess payments that can start dragging you down. Your margin of safety starts to shrink, and emergencies get harder to deal with.

Both types of excess tend to creep up on us, too. When we get lazy and inactive, we lose muscle tone and slowly replace it with body fat. Even though our weight hasn't changed, we're actually fatter. When it finally does start to go up, it happens more quickly.

On the personal finance side of things, we get comfortable when we're able to make our payments. However, if you're like me, we see something else we'd like to do, or want to have. It might even be a good thing, but even a good thing can bring you to the tipping point.

Rather than saving to pay for it, we take the easier path (or so it appears) and finance it. We might have even paid off and closed the account, but they're usually happy to reopen it for us, up to a point. Until things don't work out the way we expect.

We figure income will always be the same, but people get downsized. Spouses get sick. New bills come in, and old ones start to mount. Just like excess weight that endangers our health, runaway debt can spiral out of control, threatening everything, too.

So what can we do about it? Next week, we'll look at the steps to gaining financial freedom, as well as freedom from fat. Interestingly, they're quite similar. Now, I've got to go start my workout. And then I think I need to take a look at the bills!