Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finally struggling through real exercise

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I've only been a member of Lifetime Health Club now for about three weeks and I finally learned what a real workout is all about. Until now, I've been power walking and jogging on the treadmills. And I thought THAT was exercise.

No. It's socializing. I have been power walking and jogging one hour each morning. I do feel great, that's for sure. But it was just helping me keep my health balance. It wasn't really moving me to slim down my waist, which is my goal. I'm 59. I'm not going to trim down into a six-pack abdomen. My goal is just to be healthier.

Exercise is when you push yourself so far that you can barely complete what you are doing. I had a trainer help me start a real exercise program. And I barely could finish what she had me start.

I've been lucky most of my life. I had a high metabolism. I rarely gained weight and was always slim. Good heart (despite valve replacement surgery in November 2010). I didn't need to exercise, although exercise never hurts. It can only help. But now, I need to exercise. The weight doesn't come off that quickly, but it packs on much faster. Suddenly, when I lived a life with no weight at all and describe as being skinny, now I was putting on the weight without any effort.

The trainer (I'll spare her the harassment of being my trainer : ) so I won't name her) was phenomenal. Very professional. And good. She had me do some basic exercises, not on the treadmill or the popular machines, but at the weights section. Halfway through the hour I had to take a break. She was pushing but she must have thought, maybe you should be on TV's "America's Biggest Loser" program. I won't take that program for granted any more.

The weight machines. The lifts. The large ball and balance. The biggest problem I had besides getting up off the ground was keeping my balance. Heels under the shoulders. Arms straight. Breathing. Keeping your face and shoulders forward. Lifting and pulling the weights.

When the hour was up, I dragged myself out of Lifetime to the car. It was a killer. But it had to be done. Next time I do the session, maybe my Trainer will even let me actually put weights on the machines.

Hey. I'm working my way up to 10 pounds! : )

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Village of Orland Park Presents Ninth Annual Taste of Orland Park Food, Music and Entertainment Highlight Weekend

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Village of Orland Park Presents Ninth Annual Taste of Orland Park
Food, Music and Entertainment Highlight Weekend

ORLAND PARK, IL - August in Orland Park means the Taste of Orland Park. The ninth annual event will showcase 18 of Orland Park’s favorite eateries, selling a variety of food and drinks. The Village of Orland Park’s three day food fest opens at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 3 and closes at 9 p.m. on Sunday, August 5. Admission and parking are free.

“The Village of Orland Park has a great weekend in store for everyone,” said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. “We have 18 great restaurants, exceptional entertainment on two stages, community wide participation and something for every age group,” the mayor said.

The Taste of Orland Park features a rich tapestry of culinary delights ranging from American classics to a variety of ethnic fare. Participating Orland Park restaurants include Baby’s Steak and Lemonade; Beggar’s Pizza; Blissful Banana Café; Burrito Jalisco; Café Gaston; Cooper’s Hawk Winery; Culver’s; El Pueblito; Hienie’s McCarthy’s; Mo’s Chinese Kitchen; Oberweis Dairy; Old Town Pizza; Orland Park Bakery; Palermo’s; Papa Joe’s; Riviera Country Club; RoccoVino’s and Rock Bottom Brewery.

Participating restaurants must be located within the Village of Orland Park and each “taste” is no more than $4 a dish. Select restaurants will serve alcohol, including beer, wine and a number of specialty drinks. All food vendors will sell pop and water.

“The village started the Taste of Orland Park in 2004 as a way to showcase the great restaurants we have in town,” said Trustee Pat Gira, chair of the village’s Recreation and Parks Committee. “The village staff works on this event for months, lining up the restaurants, community groups, the entertainment and making sure that we put on a great event for the community. They do a great job every year,” Gira said, “It’s a nice weekend to try some of Orland Park’s great restaurants, enjoy live music and see old friends,” she said. 

Along with indulging in a variety of cuisine, the three day fest includes live entertainment on two stages, community groups offering children’s activities, Kids’ Day on Saturday, a classic car show on Sunday, Bingo inside of the Civic Center both days and more.

The festival begins at 5 p.m. on August 3 with the 70s rock band, The Juke Box Band. That will be followed by the Orland Park Improv Team performing on the community stage with country line dancing instruction inside of the Civic Center. At 8 p.m., the village will host Live Band Karaoke on the community stage, inviting brave attendees to sing with a live band.  The first day of entertainment will conclude with the country and western band, Jin and Tonic, on the main stage from 8:30 p.m until 11 p.m.

Activities on Saturday, August 4 include Kiwanis Club Bingo inside of the Civic Center from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Saturday is Kids’ Day at the adjacent John Humphrey Sports Complex, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Activities include face painting, spin art craft, Thanks for the Memory Photo Booth, Pop A Shot Speed Pitch and Basketball, and “Touch a Truck.” There will also be a moon jump, obstacle course and slide for kids to enjoy, provided by Moon Jump Inc.

The annual Family Water Balloon Toss contest will be held at 2:30 p.m. at the Humphrey Complex and teams may include siblings or a parent and child. The Family Egg Drop Competition will follow at 3:30 p.m. Each team, which must include an adult and a child, must create and bring a device to catch the falling eggs. Eggs will be dropped from a cherry picker at increasing heights. The egg-catching devices must be no larger than two feet in diameter and pillows and hands may not be used. Pre-registration is not required for either of the free contests. Winners of each contest will receive a free Centennial Park Aquatic Center pavilion rental with twelve passes to the village’s pool.

A number of Orland Park organizations will be present during Kids’ Day, including the Orland Fire Protection District, Orland Park Police Department, Orland Park Pioneers Football and Cheerleading, Orland Park Soccer Club Soccer Combine, Orland Youth Association Girls’ Program, Joon Lee’s Taekwondo, the Village of Orland Park Karpov International Chess Institute and the Village of Orland Park Fencing Program.

Kids’ Day participants will also include the Bulls/Sox Academy, Independence Winter Guard, ISU FireBirds Ground Quidditch Team, Micro-Reality Stock Car Racing, Team USA Martial Arts, and Victory Martial Arts.

Saturday’s main stage entertainment includes Bopology performing at 1:30 p.m., the Chicago Tribute Anthology performing at 4:30 p.m. and the Journey tribute band, Infiniti, performing at 8:30 p.m.
The third and final day of the Taste of Orland Park begins with the Classic Double K Car Show at the adjacent John Humphrey Sports Complex from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday. Food vendors open at 1 p.m. with Confetti performing on the main stage, playing everything from 40s swing to pop.

The Orland Park Lions Club will host Bingo inside of the Orland Park Civic Center from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Sunday.  The final round of “Orland Park’s Got Talent” will be held on the community stage at 2 p.m., with Five Guys Named Moe performing on the main stage at 4 p.m. American English, the Beatles tribute band, will close the fest Sunday night, performing on the main stage at 7 p.m.

“The Taste of Orland Park is a great showcase of the Orland Park community,” McLaughlin said. “The restaurants, the community booths, the sponsors, the local performing groups, the school groups --- everyone makes it a great weekend showcasing what makes Orland Park the great town that it is,” he said.
A full schedule of events, complete with restaurant menus, appears on the Village of Orland Park’s website at www.orland-park.il.us with printed schedules available at all village buildings. For more information, call the Village of Orland Park Recreation Department at 708/403-7275.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Finally joined a health club, LifeTime, to lose weight and trim up

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You get older and your metabolism slows down. And as your metabolism slows down, you start to put on weight. Most people put on weight in "shifts." That means as you age 10 or so, your weight increases and adjusts to a new "normal." Many people try to off-set weight gain by eating healthy. But eating healthy isn't enough. Remember, your metabolism slows, so what used to be "regular eating habits" are now excessive eating habits for you. What you used to eat before, now is adding weight as the process of burning calories naturally slows with your metabolism.

So you have to exercise. Exercise helps compensate for metabolism slow-down. It actually helps boost your metabolism.

Well, in the 20s, 30s and even the 40s, my metabolism was always good. Now that I'm in my 50s, I can't rely on it to eliminate the calories and weight that I have been putting on. I reach a natural plateau in the 50s of 220 lbs. Everyone has a different natural plateau of weight. That's mine. But, when you enjoy eating the way I do, the weight starts to pack it in, and it doesn't spread around equally. For some reason, weight gain loves to hang around my waist. 

And that weight gain adds stress and the stress wears you down and pushes your metabolism down, too. It's a vicious cycle.

I tried dieting. I did the Atkins Diet in the 40s and 50s and it worked great. Sure Atkins died of a heart attack. Basically, everyone does, eventually. The Atkins Diet is great for fast weight loss but the real challenge isn't getting used to the boring daily menu of all protein for 10 days or more, but rather when you are done and lost 30 pounds, how do you keep it off.

Eventually, Atkins weight loss stops working if you do it too often. Maybe it causes liver problems or gall bladder problems, too.

I lost 40 pounds once on Atkins. I kept it off for about a year, but eventually it slowly crept back on with a vengeance. Lost weight doesn't like Atkins and when it comes back, it packs in the fat even more.

In the 30s and 40s, I used to belong to the East Bank Club downtown. It really wasn't to lose weight but to have fun. It was a power convergence point where you met clients, old and new. It was fun, more like a country club for people who liked to spend a lot of money on exercise-wear, the fashionable sexy stuff that looks great on models, people like Jillian Michaels and on TV commercials, but looks funny when on regular people. There is a whole industry in fitness clothing and now technology, too. 

Maybe I should find a fitness business for a client to help them because most really don't know how to market beyond the community demand they enjoy -- people who come to them rather than being led to them to join.

Teh Nova Plates at the EBC were great. The pool on the rooftop was the best in Chicagoland. Hot women, too. Isn't that why most men join a health club? To meet hot women? 

Maybe so. But that's before they start to put on weight.

So last week, after a decade of ignoring the physics of life, I decided to join LifeTime in Orland Park. It costs about $140 a month for a family of three, including my son.

Why not? I thought. I waste a lot of money other ways in life, especially on technology that doesn't last very long.

I have to tell you the past week has made a huge difference for me. I've moseyed on up to 2306 pounds. Yikes. I can't help it. I'm Middle Eastern and I love food. Being Middle Eastern is an advantage when it comes to healthy living. That Mediterranean Diet is phenomenal and does a lot of good. Though I had a heart valve replacement surgery several years ago, my arteries were clean and clear. Because of the extra virgin olive oil and the hummus and garbanzo beans and the Tahini. Believe it! That Mediterranean diet works and can help you clean your system.

Of course, some people are genetically inclined to bad health. My dad smoked for 60 of his 70 years, two packs of Camel filterless cigarettes a day. He lived 70 years, but probably would have lived 100 had he not smoked. (I smoked when I was in college but quit during basic training in the Air Force and never picked it up again. That was more than 40 years ago.)

In one week, I'm down 10 lbs. I went from 236 lbs to 226 lbs and I am eating the way I always eat. The only difference is I go to the healthclub every morning around 5:30 or 6 am -- sounds early but I am up at 5 am every morning and I usually sit at a computer and write for 2 1/2 hours before heading for a hectic day of managing media and political consulting clients who are ALWAYS ON THE FRONTLINES OF CONTROVERSIAL NEWS. In the media almost everyday. That's stressful, the other killer of people besides age.

I have a plan. I power walk one hour every morning. That's it. That translates into about 3 miles with the treadmill set at "3."

I was going to buy a treadmill. I found a ProForm 850 that normally costs $1,200 at Walmart for only $490. Almost bought it. Fortunately, I don't have an SUV any more so I couldn't get it home and changed my mind. The next day, I joined Lifetime.

Of course, the only problem with Lifetime is they have been doing this so long they don't care any more. The service there is pretty shabby. There's no follow-up. Just the fast-talking sign-up pitch and then pay. I was going to join anyway.

The equipment is out-of-date. So 80s. The treadmills don't connect to the technology. You can't plug in your iPod into the treadmill or any of the equipment. They told me they are going to install WiFi in September. If you have to wait that long, you obviously don't understand how important wireless is to today's society.

They have a wall of TV sets each tuned to a different channel and you can listen in to any of them by using an FM radio set to the channel. (91.1 FM, for example.) The problem is the system sucks. I don't want to go out and buy a radio. I dropped the radio and all the other technology that followed like the Walkman when the iPod and iPad and iPhone were born, about 5 years ago.

You can go to Radio Shack and buy a $20 adapter to plug into your iPod Touch or iPhone to listen to the TV FM broadcast signals of your choice. (There are about 10 of them). But they don't work on the iPod Classic or on the iPad which has a 10-12 hour battery strength. The iPhone lasts a few hours but you will be burning up battery power pretty quick.

So I set the iPad on the Treadmill ledge that is there coincidentally. Not as a ledge to hold an iPad but as a design feature. I just lucked out. And I use a Bluetooth earphone system -- Back Beat Go from Plantronics. And I play an audio book and listen while I work out.

It makes the time go faster, especially learning more and more about Internet marketing and media and PR from the audio book I purchased.

Lifetime is not the power location to meet clients, either. Which is good, I guess. It's worn down looking. The in-door and out-door pools are good, but we're members of the Orland Pool, which for $150 a year is the BEST! The only advantage of Lifetime is that their in-door pool is heated and open all year round, and a great choice after the outdoor pools there and at Millennium Park close for the Fall.

The food isn't bad at their little restaurant at the entrance. Very healthy and very affordable, too. A good buy.

Anyway, it's just been 10 days. But the results of daily exercising speak for themselves.

I'll keep you updated when I am down to a svelte 180 lbs and have a 8 ridge washboard stomach. Well, just  being able to look down and see all of my feet without leaning forward, well, that's something any baby boomer would hope for these days.

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Township residents saved more than one million on prescription medications in 2012

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Township residents saved more than one million on prescription medications in 2012
July 3, 2012 - ,IL  – The Coast2Coast Rx free discount card program has saved township residents more than $1,029,153.67 on their prescription medications this year.  The 47 townships with the Coast2Coast Rx program, in counties across Illinois, have saved an average of 50% off of their prescription medications.  To combat rising healthcare costs, townships have offered this valuable resource to its residents.

The Coast2Coast Rx Program was first implemented in Niles Township in October 2010.  Niles Township Supervisor, Lee Tamraz said, “The Coast2Coast Rx Program is a great program. I have received unbelievable feedback that leads me to only speak highly of the program.”  He added, “There is a need for a program like this because people don’t have the income they had ten years ago.  It makes me feel much better knowing I have done something like this to help the residents of the [Niles] Township.  Endorsing this program was one of the happiest moments I have had as Supervisor.”  The Coast2Coast Rx Program has saved Niles Township residents over $600,000 on their medications thus far.

Orland Township, Supervisor  O’Grady said, “When we decided to  make the Coast2Coast Rx Discount Program available to our residents, we weren’t sure what to expect, but after 7 months of making the program available, our residents have filled over 5600 prescriptions, using the Coast2Coast program, and have saved over $230,000.  In these tough economic times, I’m proud that Orland Township took the initiative to offer this program, which has provided a significant benefit to many of our residents, at no cost to the tax payers.”

“At a time when the State has had to discontinue the Illinois Cares Rx program, it’s reassuring to see that the Townships are providing leadership to assist those most in need” said Debby Karton, Illinois distributor of the Coast2Coast Rx Discount program.

Providing savings for residents through this Rx program came at no expense to the townships.  Besides the discount on prescriptions, the card also provides 50% to 80% discounts for lab and imaging tests, and discounts on dental, veterinary, vision, diabetes supplies and equipment and hearing services, further helping residents save even more money on their healthcare costs for these services.  The Coast2Coast Rx card allows all township residents, regardless of income, age, or health status to participate in the program and save on the cost of their medications.  Even pets and other people living outside the townships are able to take part in the program.  The Rx card is distributed free of charge and may be used at all pharmacy chains and most independent pharmacies and includes over 60,000 drugs in its formulary.

The Coast2Coast Rx Program is in Algonquin, Avon, Barrington, Benton, Berwyn, Bloomingdale, Bremen, Calumet, Cuba, Dorr, Downers Grove, Ela, Elgin, Elk Grove, Evanston, Hanover, Lemont, Leyden, Libertyville, Lisle, Lyons, Maine, Milton, Moraine, Naperville, Niles, Northfield, Nunda, Oak Park, Orland, Palatine, Palos, Rich, Riverside, Stickney, Schaumberg, Thornton, Vernon, Warren, Wauconda, Waukegan, Wayne, West Deerfield, Winfield, Worth, York, and Zion Townships.