Denver Bar Association
October 2006
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One Lawyer’s Shape-Up Story

by Mindy Marks


Food temptations don’t get any worse than a break room filled with treats visible from your desk. Each day, Perry Glantz is armed and ready for the enticement of a kitchen filled with cheese puffs, starbursts and twizzlers (to name a few). His arsenal contains a grocery bag of healthy snacks he can munch on throughout the day.

Perry’s habits weren’t always this healthy. Perry, a commercial litigation attorney with Fognani & Faught, has a hectic schedule, which used to hamper his health and fitness habits.

"My daughter is a soccer player and I’m coaching two teams. My son is an actor, so we have rehearsals and practice every night," said Perry. "We were eating Taco Bell every other night, which is terrible. Not to blame Taco Bell, but from a fitness standpoint we had to learn to put healthy living into our schedule and realize it was a priority."

That was Perry’s life until his 17-year-old daughter Madison e-mailed the Rocky Mountain News and the Glantz family was chosen to participate in a six-month fitness challenge to become the healthiest they could through numerous lifestyle changes.

"Maddie saw this thing in the paper about doing a family fitness challenge and sent in an e-mail. When her e-mail was selected, she said, ‘Dad, look at what I’ve done.’ We thought we’d go for it. Her 13-year-old brother Michael was not happy about it at first, but because he doesn’t do any of the cooking or grocery shopping, it wasn’t really up to him. Everyone else got on board."

The Rocky’s challenge began in mid-January and ended in mid-July. The Rocky arranged for the Glantz family to meet weekly with personal trainers Skip Gagnon and James Garcia at Lakeshore Athletic Club in Broomfield. The family kept food journals throughout the entire six months of the challenge and implemented several lifestyle changes.

Tips for Healthy Living

• Don’t let yourself get too hungry. "That’s when you’re going to eat the triple cheeseburger heart attack bomb. If you can bring a sack of snacks like trail mix and fruit, you can stay out of the bad stuff. I have stuff to graze on at my desk. When I get too hungry, I want to eat junk and sweets. Plan a bit and don’t let yourself get too hungry."

• Be Patient. "People come in and kill themselves for two weeks and quit. You have to be patient and realistic."

• Don’t buy junk food. "If you’re in the house and you get too hungry and there are cookies in the cupboard or a bag of chips, then you’re going to eat them. That stuff’s just gone now."

• Be honest with yourself. "With our body statistics in the newspaper, we had the responsibility and accountability of living in our own skin and dealing with that early on. It was hard and weird, but it turned out to be a good life lesson particularly for my daughter to realize ‘I am what I am and if I want to change that I need to change what I really am, not change other people’s perspectives.’"

"Before the challenge, I had gotten out of shape and our whole family had gotten a little lax — eating junk food and not getting regular exercise. We were behind the old power curve on that," said Perry.

Perry and his family spent time setting weekly exercise goals and made time on Saturday mornings to make a menu for the week.

"It made all the difference in the world. Every night you know what you’re doing — it’s there and it’s ready," said Perry. "The checkout clerk at King Soopers in Castle Rock even commented, ‘My goodness you people eat healthy.’ When you just plan a bit it makes a huge difference."

Despite the temptations that surround him, Perry said the lifestyle changes made him feel better almost immediately. Now, he can’t imagine going back to his old habits.

According to Perry, working together as a family was vital to their success.

"We each gained a lot of self-confidence, a sense of accomplishment, which had a very positive impact on our family dynamic. We really felt good because we were not telling, but showing the kids real life lessons about how to live a healthier more active lifestyle," said Perry. "We are eating dinners together and getting more involved in our kids’ lives. It’s fantastic. We are working out together, eating together and not in front of the TV, but really having a meal. It’s very Ozzie and Harriet, but very effective."

Besides support from each other, they were able to get support and tips from their trainers. The trainers helped the Glantzes by going over their food journals and teaching them to vary their workouts to improve results and maintain interest.

"The trainers were tremendously helpful," said Perry. "We didn’t have to get on each other as much; we could share our pain. On Monday, after a weekend session, we could gripe and moan to each other about ‘Oh, my God my abs, my arms.’ But the trainers pushed us to the next level."

Even weight loss has lessons that can be applied to law.

"With diet and fitness you’re not going to realize the rewards now. If I go to the gym for two hours today and have a really healthy dinner, I’ll feel a bit better tomorrow, but the real results will come from making that my lifestyle," said Perry. "It’s just like the practice of law. When I set up a case properly and do the right foundation work, it’s not going to bear fruit right then, but come trial time it will. It helped project my view further out."

What’s changed months after the challenge? Virtually nothing. While the Glantz family joined a different gym closer to their home, the family is still making weekly menus and scheduling time to exercise.

"Instead of it being a finite period of time, we really changed our routine and it’s just how we do things now."

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