Choose To Be Happy & Healthy

No medication, no surgery, no voodoo, no excuses!

A regular guy, an everyday awesome person; just like you and me made a CHOICE to be healthy and happy – period. Sound too simple?

Not for Tom Hoppensteadt.  He just said, ENOUGH!  Enough excuses; enough to his self-destructive ways. Tom’s useless old stories only got older and worn out.  His old lifestyle was exhausting and dangerous.  Failing health and mounting fat brought him frighteningly close to deaths doorstep.

Yes, you too, can make the choice to be happy and healthy. In choosing happiness instead of daily drama and dread, we discover our power to create a brilliant life. A vibrant life that supports good health and pure joy, even in the face of adversity.

Chaos creator or happy head?

If our messy life doesn’t get cleaned up it only becomes a bigger mess. The possibility of being healthy and happy feels virtually impossible to achieve. Tomorrow never gets better.  Every time you play to your addictions and bad habits (unhealthy choices), whatever they may be…you are making a clear choice to be unhealthy and unhappy. Period.

You’ve tried everything and nothing works.

Because, no one is wiser about you than you; and no one will lead you to the light, but you. We all need  encouragement and support; from doctors, counselors, friends and family, meditation, yoga and exercise, etc. Ultimately however, our power comes from ourself. We are the ones that push the stop and go button!

When you find yourself in times of trouble or temptation, Mother Mary will not come to you with words of wisdom and god’s will, will not show you the way out. Has this happened yet?  Again, only your steadfast, clear and concise choice will lead you to the light.  Choose to be powerful and you will be powerful. Change will indeed come!

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”

I have a very simple (powerful affirmation) 3 minute mantra that I rely upon during these tricky times. I’m warning you, it’s a snap and goes like this…

I Choose to support and protect my well-being

I Choose to be healthy

I Choose to be happy

Say it over and over again. Repeat aloud or silently for 3 minutes to 30 if necessary. Begin each morning with “I Choose”. Every time you reach for the poison in thought, word or deed – hold up! Go to this mantra instead and go for glory!

Perhaps, now is the time to declare, “enough” and start anew.

Listen to this ordinary awesome and courageous man’s story – tune in! With the encouragement of his doctor, he made a conscious choice to be happy and healthy. Period.

Always love,


Jan. 10, 2014 — For much of his life Tom Hoppensteadt thought the best thing to do with a scale was to avoid it. When he was diagnosed with a low-grade lymphoma at age 50 and learned he weighed over 300 pounds, it sounded an alarm.

“Through my 40s I didn’t lead a healthy lifestyle. I ate what I wanted to eat and didn’t exercise at all. I really was just very inactive. I knew what I should be doing, I just didn’t do it,” said Tom.

When he began seeing Keith Veselik, MD, primary care physician at Loyola University Health System, he learned the cancer diagnosis was the least of his worries.

“Tom has a form of cancer that doesn’t always require treatment. It could be years before it’s a problem for him,” Veselik said. “His weight, on the other hand, was putting him at a more immediate health danger. The cancer could hang around for many years without causing any harm. We could just watch that. But diabetes and heart attacks — those were very real and urgent concerns.”

“He was pretty straight with me,” Tom said. “He said, ‘drop the weight or you’ll die of a heart attack before the cancer will get you.’ Now, that’s motivation.” Tom started the lifestyle changes slowly. He walked 2-3 times a week and kept a food journal. Even those small steps started to make an impact. He was losing a pound to a pound and a half a week. But, Tom’s health concerns continued to mount and, after being hospitalized, he decided it was time to do something more.

“I started using the MyFitnessPal app to monitor my exercise and calorie intake. I discovered the importance of portion control and started increasing my exercise routine,” Tom said.

He now takes a spinning class 3-4 times a week for 45 minutes and has started running and swimming 2-3 times a week as well. In addition, he discovered the benefits of yoga.

“I lost over 120 pounds and went from a size 46 waist to a size 36 all just by changing my lifestyle,” Tom said. “Dr. Veselik kept talking to me about leading a healthy lifestyle and that was a huge encouragement. He made me realize that I was worth this effort. You really have to give yourself over to it. You have to be committed to making this happen.”

Last year Tom completed a triathlon and Dr. Veselik took him off almost all of his blood pressure and cholesterol medications.

“Like everyone else I struggle to get into the gym and sometimes I just don’t make it, especially now that I have completed my goal,” Tom said. “But, I continue to count all my calories and now I’m trying to find that next goal to keep me motivate.”

“There is so much research out there about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. If I told someone I had a magic pill that would allow them to live a healthier, longer life they would pay whatever price to get it. That doesn’t come in pill form. It can come from diet and exercise,” Veselik said.

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  1. Great story, and I love your mantra.

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