The Real 12 Step Program – La Lanne Style
There are plenty of 12 step programs – for alcoholism, drug dependency, cigarette smoking, and so on. However, many of them don’t work. The reason – there may be an intrinsic lack of motivation by the person who is trying to quit their dependency because the facilitator (the doctor, nurse, counselor, etc.) may be going about this process from a disease model, instead of a journey to health.
Most people don’t realize that the spectrum of wellness is a continual process. As a youngster we learn skills and start on our learning of knowledge. This process has its pitfalls, as school is just not right for some. They learn at a different pace, and in different environments. They may be shackled to a system that doesn’t suit them. When they flunk a class (or a grade), they’re labeled. Then they have to have some level of counseling to “get them right”
As they age, they deal with the issues of puberty and fitting into groups. They try out sports, and start dating. Middle age has its own issues, as does being old. Each segment of our lives deals us good and bad issues and situations that we should deal with in order for our own personal growth, and to be better able to work within the environment we find ourselves in .
When we think of personal growth – many of us have never had to grow at a level of the “pioneer” In other words – we weren’t the first one to deal with a situation and its ramifications. So when we hear about someone who has, we usually label them as a hero or ground breaker. We look to see how they did what they did so at some level we can emulate their characteristics.
One such person in our history is fitness guru Jack LaLanne. He started one of the nation’s first commercial health clubs. He invented the pulley system of weight stack machines. He helped invent (with other fitness club owner Rudy Smith), the Smith machine for leg squats. During his early years in the industry, he was told by doctors that lifting weights would give people heart attacks, or bulk up their muscles inducing pathology. He dealt with a general public who didn’t really care about exercise (this was during the depression), and certainly didn’t think they should pay money for it.
Along the way Jack developed what may have been his two most important characteristics. Tenacity and a positive mental attitude. He never gave up on himself, and he took his negative comments from others into a more determined purpose to do better. He was quite a guy. I had the opportunity to meet him once at a health club conference in San Diego, CA. He was older then (pushing 90 years of age), and smaller in stature than I would have thought, but his persona was bigger than life. I told him that we actually had worked together on a project for a cancer care book with a San Francisco-based oncologist. He was happy that the program he helped to develop for hospital-based fitness recovery was applied to cancer patients. He thanked me, and went on his way.
A few years later he wrote what was to be his last book (he wrote many). The book was entitled: Live Young Forever. It dealt with his version of the 12 step program for better health and vitality – something he knew a lot about. The listing of these 12 steps is below – and none of them really need any explanations. They are mostly self explanatory.
2. Step away from killer habits
3. Personal care
4. Eating clean -(Jack at almost NO processed food in his life. When asked what the best part of the donut was, he replied "The hole") . . . and not the ones we buy now.
5. Maintain perfect posture
6. Stay well hydrated
8. Find some energy
9. Be in a solid relationship
10. Work out
11. Never retire - This is key, as many jobs these days are ones that people want to get away from. For Jack, fitness and TV shows were something he did his whole life.
12. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables
Jack did a lot of things right. He had one of the longest running TV shows in American history (that most people don’t know about) which started in 1953, and ran until 1985. He continued to be in front of the camera until the year of his passing. He wrote articles and books – invented numerous exercise machines, started health clubs, got women into the exercise movement, and actually cared about what he was doing every day. So, as America continues to rely on medicine to “cure” its addictions to food, alcohol, recreational and prescription drugs, bad relationships, and other issues, those of us who knew about the philosophy and practice of Jack LaLanne can be proud of the fact that practicing the “wellness” 12 step method he designed DOES lead to and maintain a high level of wellness, strength, productivity, and positive attitude throughout life, no matter what types of negatives are put before us. Thanks, Jack.
The Real 12 Step Program – La Lanne Style