Sergeant Tony's Blog

Can a leopard change its spots? — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 2/25/2016

Thursday, Feb. 25th 2016 4:21 PM

Have you ever noticed that some people just seem to have crappy days?

You know the people I’m talking about. They start talking about their “woe is me” life for the umpteenth time today and you have to work hard not to roll your eyes. You’ve heard it so many times from them that you’re weary of it. You struggle to maintain a countenance that masquerades just how weary you are and just how badly you want to scream, “STOP WHINING AND START CHANGING!.”

They’re always broke, always sick, always bored, always angry, always in a dysfunctional relationship, always being laid off, always driving a crummy car that breaks-down, always blaming others, always in dead end jobs, always getting taken advantage of, always having some sort of drama in their lives, always nitpicking, always critical, always judgmental, always a doormat, always …

It’s always negative in their world. And they seem unable to explain why things don’t work out for them.

They’re living proof of the proverb: “the way you process the world around you determines the world you live in.”

It’s also true that the way you misunderstand the world around you, the way you misinterpret the actions and words of others, the darker and more negative your world will be.

The Law of Attraction, The Secret, The Golden Rule, and every major religion, teaches there’s a relationship between what you put out into the world and what you get back. There’s a relationship between the things you think about and the things you become. There’s a relationship between your energy and the energy around you. There’s a relationship between what you look for and what you find.

I had a friend who told me that when she meets someone new she starts out disliking them and expects the new person to disappoint her. What??? I looked at her the same way a dog reacts when it hears something new or weird, head cocked to one side. I had another friend who described themselves as mostly angry, as opposed to mostly happy. Is it any wonder that her world was mostly a dark and gothic place?

Do you know who Michael Strahan is? If you don’t know that name, Mr. Strahan was a member of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a football commentator for Fox, and co-host of a daily morning program with Kelly Ripa. I like him! He’s a fun, happy, energetic, clever, intelligent, winsome guy! (And he may have the widest tooth gap on television!) What you might not know is that he wrote a book called “Wake Up Happy.” It’s a list of his rules for waking up in a good mood.

I like that title a lot! I think there’s a message in it. As a rule, I wake up happy 95% of the time. The other 5% of the time I wake up confused, trying to figure out what that bizarre dream was all about and where in the heck did it come from?

But can people who are predisposed to be ill-tempered, grumpy, temperamental, neurotic, and angry change their orientation by reading a book and applying some rules? Can people change? Can therapy work? Self-help? Medication? (Sometimes medication is needed to address a chemical imbalance or an issue that self-help, exercise, and counseling can’t.)

Can a leopard change its spots?

I’d like to think so. I’d like to think that people can, if they are sufficiently motivated to do so, make changes for the better in their lives. Sometimes thinking so hasn’t always led to my own personal happiness. Many times I’ve invested in people who never changed and maybe never wanted to or intended to. But I held out hope that they would. I stuck around. But the longer I held out hope with no change on their part, my own personal misery index rose.

We all have a tipping point. A point that we say, “that’s it, I’m done.” I wouldn’t say that I have a long “fuse” (I don’t blow up) … I’d say that I’m long suffering. And it generally takes me a long time to get to the end. But once I’m done, I’m done.

There’s a great scene with John Wayne and Ronnie Howard from Wayne’s last movie, “The Shootist.” Wayne plays an aging gunfighter, recently diagnosed with cancer, who’s come to a typical western movie town to visit his doctor, played by Jimmy Stewart. And he also takes a young man, played by Howard, under his wing to mentor and to impart the wisdom of a lifetime. In this scene he turns to the young man and says, “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” I saw this movie for the first time in 1976 and loved the quote immediately. But it took years and years for me to put this wisdom in practice in my own life. I wish I hadn’t waited so long.

I’ve discovered that establishing boundaries is often necessary. Sometimes painfully so.

At times, our misery is a result of poor choices, lapses in judgment, stupid mistakes, or allowing toxic people to stay in our lives. Or our bad mood might be because we’re in a dysfunctional relationship with someone who’s wrong for us. We might be unhappy because we’re overweight and out of shape. Our sour mood might be the result of debt. All of those things can be changed with a plan. A written plan works best. (Of course, there are some sadnesses and dark days that we have no control over, and that visit us all. The death of a loved one. The sudden loss of a job. A debilitating illness.) But look at the source of your misery and I think you’ll see a way out.

As much as you can, as much as it’s up to you, put some positive light out there into the world around you!
Expect good things!
Look for good things!
Be a good thing!

— 30 —


80% OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EXERCISE. If someone tells you otherwise they’re either misinformed, or selling you something, or both.


by Gunnery Sergeant Ashley Holloway, Registered Dietitian, LDN
(A Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.”)

Five Common Nutrition Mistakes

#1: Thinking that you are eating less calories than you are actually consuming. If you think that the bowl of ice cream has only 150 calories and that bowl of cereal is only 120 calories, you may be sorely mistaken. The calories listed on the Nutrition Facts panel is for one serving. But are you actually eating one serving, or are you eating two, or even three? If you didn’t measure how much you put in your bowl or on your plate, you could be consuming a lot more calories than you think.

#2: Thinking that lean ground meat means low fat. According to the USDA, lean ground meat is defined as containing no more than 10% fat, which means that it is 90% lean, right? Yes, but there is a catch: the percentage refers to product WEIGHT, not the percentage of calories from fat. Four ounces of lean ground beef contains 199 calories and 11 grams of fat, but since each fat gram is 9 calories, this means that 99 of the 199 calories are from fat, or in other words this ground beef is 50% fat! So if you are looking to reduce your fat intake, think even leaner, go for extra lean ground beef which is only about 33% fat.

#3: Thinking that you need to detox. Detox diets are touted as a way to flush toxins out of your system.The specifics of detox diets can vary — but usually a period of fasting is then followed by a strict diet of raw vegetables, fruit and fruit juices, and water. Some detox diets also advocate using herbs and other supplements along with colon cleansing through enemas or colonics to further empty the intestines.

You may lose a little bit of weight from a detox diet, but it is usually temporary from a combination of being on a very low calorie diet, losing water weight, and from having empty intestines. Plus, you’re likely to lose weight and then gain it right back when you go off any extreme diet.

There is little evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body. Nor do you need to help your body “detoxify.” Your organs and immune system handle these duties, no matter what you eat. Your kidneys and liver are quite effective at filtering and eliminating most ingested toxins.

Some say that they feel better on a detox diet, but the reason why they temporarily feel better may actually come from the fact that they are avoiding highly processed foods, extra sugar, and fat. These benefits may come at a cost. Detox diets that severely limit protein or that require fasting can result in fatigue, muscle aches, and irritability. Long-term fasting can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Colon cleansing, through enemas and colonics, can cause cramping, bloating, nausea and vomiting and even dehydration can be a concern. And if the diet recommends pills, herbs, or supplements, these items are not backed by the FDA and can interact with different medications and can cause issues on their own.

#4: Thinking that all organic foods are healthy. Organic cookies and ice cream are still cookies and ice cream. An organic food (or its ingredients) is grown without pesticides, antibiotics, or growth hormones. That may be admirable, but it doesn’t automatically make it a health food or lower in calories or higher in nutrients. Read your labels!

# 5: Thinking that certain types of foods will help boost your metabolism. The whole idea of metabolism boosting foods is generally a myth perpetuated by hype and the excellent marketing teams of different diet products and services. Your metabolic rate is determined by your gender, height, weight, body composition, and age. While there are a few foods that may very temporarily increase your calorie burn such as hot peppers and cold water, these effects are so very small that they should be secondary weight loss strategies, not primary. The best way to increase your calorie burn is through exercise.


What would you do if money was not an issue, fear was not a factor, and failure was not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!



Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

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