By Jim Mourich

Friday night after work, my wife and I met our daughter and two grandchildren for pizza. Partway through the meal our three-year-old grandson said he needed to go potty.

“Papa can you take me potty?” Of course! How could I refuse?

He really didn’t need to go potty. He just wanted to talk. So he sat there, and I stood there, in the stall with him. He talked a lot……..

At one point he looked up at me, from just the right angle, and asked “Papa, do you have a baby in your belly?”

For the past 30 years, leading up to this momentous question, I have been a runner. I am also a bit obsessive about my diet. I have a grave family history of heart disease and I have been quite successful at managing my weight, my diet, and my exercise – thus my blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 30 years ago I lost 40 pounds when I started running daily and paying attention to my health. Something I take pride in.

The past five to ten years however, with the chronometer now reading 60 years, have been somewhat of a downhill slide – especially my weight.

How was I going to answer his question? His observation, especially from that angle, was true. I have a rather protruding stomach now.

Jim started his healthy journey by hiking areas of the Grand Canyon this fall with his wife Terri.

Jim started his healthy journey by hiking areas of the Grand Canyon this fall with his wife Terri.

Every fall, during my entire adult life, I have battled what I call “the grizzly bear syndrome”. As the days get shorter, and the nights get longer, my evening metabolism tanks. I veg out on the easy chair and fall asleep watching too much TV. In addition, in an attempt to stay awake I begin to graze; seeking every tidbit I can find in the cupboard to nibble on – as if I’m getting ready to hibernate like a grizzly bear. I usually put on 10 pounds each fall, which has been relatively easy to take off in the spring…. when I was younger. Not so much anymore.

Over the past 10 years I have gained back the 40 pounds I lost back in my early 30s. I added more, around my midsection of course, this past winter.

My annual struggle in the fall, futilely resisting the grizzly bear syndrome, usually begins at Halloween. With the Halloween candy lying around the house…..

That’s how I will answer his question! Honestly of course. Halloween was just this past Monday. The previous three evenings I had managed to limit myself to no more than 12 miniature candy bars each night!

“Papa doesn’t have a baby in his belly. He has candy bars in his belly.” I not-so-proudly responded.

Thankfully, some of us at MasterLube began working with Dr. Nich Pertuit, of Rocky Mountain College’s new Abundant Health Services department. The goal is to develop actionable, economical, practical ways for our people (especially young people, but still applicable to old farts like me) to take steps toward improved physical well-being and therefore feeling better about ourselves.

Standing there in that stall with my talkative grandson had given me plenty of opportunity to think about how I’m feeling about my physical fitness.

Our first assignment from Nich is to log everything we eat for two weeks. NO MORE CANDY BARS! I didn’t want to log them anyway.

I’m looking forward to working with Nich to develop this program. My initial interest was in developing some cooking skills, now I have additional incentive….. I have some baby weight to lose.