I have been thinking from a leadership prospective about the health care argument going on in Washington. I have had some ideas, posted a few articles on my blog over the summer, but until now, I have not been able to find an answer to the health care reform. By the way, it is not what the policians in Washington are proposing!
In my travels throughout the nation, I have been blessed to meet several good citizens and leaders. One of them is Dave Hubbard, as well as his wife Melinda. If you recall Dave and Melinda took the dog Darlene that I rescued last year when I was travelling through Northern Georgia touring Civil War sites. Since then, we have forged a friendship, and they and Darlene have been blessed with each other (See my post “Saving Darlene,” September 2008).
Dave Hubbard, former NFL Offensive Lineman, Minister and now a Fitness and Motivational Expert has just published a book that provides a blue print for America’s health care crisis, called Fat to Fit. Dave gets at the heart of what I have been trying to say, but have not found a way to say it-that health care reform as the politicians want to do it will make our own health (mental and physical) worse. We must start with ourselves to reform our health care.
How, other than that everything big government gets involved in is mismanaged and the burden of its costs is/will be put on the backs of the middle class and our children, will it get worse?
More centralized health care in the form of big Government takes more ownership of decisions away from the individual and places them on someone else, higher than you in the chain of command or whatever you serve or work-for most of us that is at the Federal level. People become more and more dependent on the government for more and more of their decisions on how they live and work, while “we the people” have less say on those decisions made by people far removed from the issue. In Dave’s and my opinions this will occur particularly with dire results through health care. People will find more excuses and place responsibility on the government for their own health care. The obesity crisis we are currently in will become detremental to our nation’s strength if the government manages health care.
The nation already has an obesity epidemic, and as Dave points out, it is not due to our intense life styles or how much we eat (we actually are eating less he points out), but due to the fact that we have been led to believe that society and government can provide a quick fix to everything or bail us out of the bad choices we made (just like everything else). Just take a pill and watch the pounds come off to paraphrase many commercials we are bombarded with daily.
Additionally, we have the government and corporations already making excuses for us that it is our high intense lifestyles that leave us no time to work out. Then there is risk aversion, or are growing addicition to law suits, to the point that public schools limit physical activity for children, and what type they can do, out of fear that someone will put the blame on the institution and not themselves for a accident. The public education dollar largely goes to a bueaucracy to protect itself from these lawsuits instead of directly to teachers and on the children.
I say Bullshit to all of these excuses. I am one of the busiest people around, and I have made working out and exercise a mandatory part of my life, alongside self study, eating and sleeping.
Dave’s soluton to health care reform (which I call health care reaction) is not with the government (he tells Michael Moore that before he spouts more about health care for every citizen, he needs to lose a hundred pounds-lead by example baby!), but with ourselves. As adults and citizens, we must take responsibility for our own health care, as well as for our children. I go further, we also take responsibility for our fellow citizens. I stay healthy, eat right and work out daily for my family, but also because I don’t want to be a burden on my fellow citizens as I grow older.
My Father, who I love dearly, was vastly obese, and as he reached is sixties, he was constantly in and out of the hospital. Over a years time, before he past away four years ago, he medical bill was close to a million dollars. The bill was fully taken care of by Medicare, but who really footed the bill? WE did, the citizens of this country. While there were some complicated medical issues behind my Father’s weight, it was also on him. I remember he did not eat well at all, and exercise just did not happen. He worked very hard, went to school at night when I was growing up, all to take care of us, provide us a decent living, but he did not devote care to himself. I believe if he did follow them, well, he might be around longer and not cost his fellow citizens a million dollars for health care that only extended his life five years. While my Father set a lot of attributes, such as honestly, self study, and character I want to emulate, I also learned from the bad example with his health-what not to do.
Dave’s approach and recommendations are sound, and I am using them myself. They consist of two areas, how we eat and how we exercise. None of them are expensive or complex. There is just one issue, they require self discipline. Self discipline is the basis for everything else we do and to do it well.
The first one, how to eat, does not prescribe a diet, but what not to eat-avoid all process foods. Dave contends, and as my wife has told me for years the same thing, if you go on a diet your only going to gain more weight back when you go off of it. Additonally, eating right is not hard, it is just changing habits. I say again, self discipline! Dave got me to thinking with what he said in his book, when you go to the supermarket, go toward the sides, and avoid the middle (where most of the process foods are). Process foods are foods cooked at very high tempatures, for preservation reasons, so they can be shipped, stored and fed for our large population, but in the course of doing this, these foods are high in fat and salt, with little nutritional value (it has been cooked out at high temperatures). Dave prescribes some recommendations, but I love the simplicity at the heart of his first recommendation-avoid process food (all or most of fast foods are processed).
The second one is dealing with working out and exercise, two different areas by Dave’s approach. A small percentage of us in the overall U.S. Population exercise, but do we really workout? Dave defines through great stories about himself and his dogs a workout similiar to what animals do constantly in nature (and when I watched my six dogs on their walk with me after reading the book, I saw Dave’s wisdom) intense, short bouts of running, jumping, turning, etc…as they do when they really have to use these abilities to survive and eat. Then they rest for short periods, and again return to short, intense bouts of activity. They build and sustain muscle. The incredible thing Dave mentioned as well about animals, is that they do this constantly. My dogs get pissed at me if I don’t get them out for their hour and half walk. We went on a two week string where we were out every day. Not one day did they not get excited to go when I said the words “go walk” or “outside” and grab their leads.
So Dave has patented a workout machine called Quick Strength Trainer, that a person can use 10 minutes a day for an intense workout. I am getting mine today, but since I have read Dave’s book last Thursday, I have modified my own workout to do what he recommends (I have a small gym in my basement with all the gear I need to adapt).
Then there is exercise, which Dave relates with the Aerobic fad of the 80s and 90s. Exercise is also what some of us consider a workout (even me), which is like a good walk or run (Dave does not say these are wrong, but solely on their own do not do what people should be seeking, good health through strong muscles). Building and sustaining muscles, along with eating right is the key. I already can tell the difference after a few days.
How does this relate to leadership?
When I taught the Gettysburg residency at the Georgetown Executive Masters in Leadership (EML) many of my students would ask me the same thing as I led them walking all over the Gettysburg battlefield for three days on foot. Of course I had already been saying this in my lectures before we went to Gettysburg in June of the last four years. No matter what your specialty, a healthy in shape leader (or manager) is more productive and sets a better example to their people (all studies done over the last few years support what I have known for years). This in turn makes for a better organization that is more effective and adaptive when its leaders are healthier in turn makes their morale higher, less down time from illness and fatigue, as well as more alert-attention to detail.
Dave Hubbard’s Fat to Fit is recommended by me as a way to solve our healthcare crisis, cheap and beneficial for all that follow it, as well as a book for all leaders and citizens of this country to read and follow. Not only that but the book is well written and fun to read. Dave’s use of stories to exemplify key points makes for a great book.
You can order the book for ten dollars by going to www.buyfattofit.com
You can also visit Dave’s web sites at
His book is at the lower right hand side of this blog page.
Okay, lets got on with it.