The Washington Post

Any Rooney, Heavy D and ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier inspire healthier changes

(FILES) Andy Rooney of "60 Minutes" attends a memorial service for CBS newsman Walter Cronkite at the Lincoln Center in New York in this September 9, 2009 file photo. (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images) (Jim Watson/GETTY IMAGES)

But it was the loss of “Smoking” Joe Frazier this week that hit me kind of hard. When I was a little kid, my dad would tell stories about Frazier's fights, especially the "Thrilla in Manila" with Muhammad Ali in 1975. I loved my dad's stories, which made me love boxing, and, by extension, love all of the big-name fighters of the era.  I thank Frazier for what he contributed to the sweet science and to my childhood. Frazier was 67.

Now, I don’t want to give you guys the blues today. What we all seem to forget at times is that we’re not dead until we’re dead. Every single day you wake up is a second chance to truly live. Want to chuck it all, sell everything you own and move to Costa Rica to become a degenerate writer? Why the heck not?! Go for it!

A friend and I sat on the banks of the Mississippi River a week ago, enjoying a particularly beautiful morning in New Orleans, marveling at the tourists eating beignets and drinking café au lait at Café Du Monde. Beignets have a billion calories and enough powdered sugar to put you in a diabetic coma, but that never stops anyone – even life-long natives like my friend and I – from partaking in an order or two.

We sat on the pier of the Moonwalk and began to talk about life, and as we did, I could feel myself going forward in time twenty years from now, to age sixty-one, and looking back at my decisions and actions between this beautiful day and then. And I told my friend that I didn’t want that twenty years to be filled with fear, regret and “I wish I had…”

And in that moment of clarity, I realized that the time to live is now. Right now.

Dr. Mehmet Oz has been quoted as saying, "Genes load the gun; environment pulls the trigger." That means even though your genes have a lot to do with your health, your lifestyle can be just as influential. You may be genetically predisposed to certain conditions, but your lifestyle may bring you there more quickly if you're not careful.

Pay attention to what you put in your body. Move your body. Love your body. Honor your body.  You only get one - and it’s on loan.

For the regulars, here’s my check-in:

G1: Here's a teachable moment. It's recommended that you eat no more than 30 percent of your daily calories as fat. Yesterday I went buck wild with "real" food and I also had a snack binge. Let's see how it translates.

Breakfast [7:45 a.m.] - three slices of real bacon (10.5g fat/150 cals); one serving of grits (1.5g fat/100 cals); water.

Lunch [11:30 a.m.] - one broiled chicken breast (6g fat/180 cals); one spinach and romaine salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber and carrots (0g fat/60 cals); two tablespoons of salad dressing (2g fat/40 cals); water.

Snack [3:00 p.m.] - three snack-sized bags of Doritos (24g fat/450 cals); one bag of plain M&Ms (8g fat/230 cals); water.

Dinner [7:00 p.m.] - four 2 oz. servings of Tony Chachere's shrimp boudin (20g fat/520 cals); two satsumas (0g fat/80 cals); one pear (0g fat/40 cals); water.

The total for the day was 62 grams of fat (yikes!) and 1850 calories. 1850 calories multiplied by .30 equals 555 calories. 555 calories divided by 9 (the number of calories in a fat gram) equals 61.67 fat grams.

So, for a day that is more representative of the "old" me, I was right on target and still within an "acceptable" range. However, the "new" me is not down with that, so back to 40 grams of fat and 1800 calories or less.

Teachable moment over.

G2: I pledged to complete six mile walks at least four times this week. I’ve done two and will complete the third today. Geaux-ing farther!! 

G3: The LSU Tigers are atop every major poll after their win over Alabama this past weekend. Now the fun starts. There will be watch parties every weekend. Can I overcome my nemesis, the ubiquitous hot wing? I’ll keep you posted

It's time to stop breaking the promises you make to yourself to eat right, exercise and develop healthier habits. For the next three months, from 05 September 2011 to 05 December 2011, MISSION: INCREDIBLE focuses on getting healthier one day at a time. There is only one rule: do a little more today than you did yesterday to keep your promise of taking better physical care of yourself. Follow that one rule - EVERYDAY - and the changes you see in three months will be incredible.

We're all at very different exercise levels and we all have different weight targets, but it's always nice to know you've got company on the journey. We'll focus on three goals as part of our daily check-in: G1 - diet (the good, the bad and the ugly); G2 - exercise (your physical exercise for that day); and, G3 - healthy habits (things we adopt or learn along the way that help). Join us and leave your comments below!

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