The lima bean theory

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Brad Spacy
  • 81st Training Wing commander
My father was raised in a small farm town in Indiana and when I was a young boy we mostly ate simple country food. We always had meat, potatoes, some kind of greens, and at least two times a week we had lima beans. I hated lima beans! I hated lima beans and wondered why we had them so much because my mom, two sisters and my brother hated them too -- yuck!

I was just 4 years old when I figured out that since everyone hated lima beans except dad, he must be the reason we ate them; so I decided to confront him. This was a big deal for me because to me my father was huge and intimidating. So I got up my courage and walked right up to him and said point blank, "Dad, we all hate lima beans so why do we have to eat them all the time?"

He looked slowly down at me, put his huge hands on my tiny shoulders and said in an eerily calm voice, "Son, you can eat those lima beans and you can hate them, or you can eat those lima beans and learn to like them; but son, you're going to eat lima beans." He walked away without another word. I almost wet my pants.

After I got control of my emotions, I started thinking about what my father said. I realized that no matter what I thought, I would be eating lima beans for a long time, so I decided to figure out how to get them down. I tried swallowing them whole. They went down easy enough but I paid for it later ... So I decided to find something about them I liked. Hmmm, salt was good ...and the butter was good too ...just mix them with my mashed potatoes and lima beans didn't seem so bad after all.

As time went on, I actually learned to like lima beans a lot and have eaten them voluntarily ever since! In fact, I just bought a can at the commissary last week and look forward to eating them with my family!

Physical Training for Airmen is a lot like lima beans. "You can do PT and hate it, or you can do PT and learn to like it...but you're going to do PT!" You can simply force yourself to work out (swallow them whole) or you can find something about it you like (butter, salt and mashed potatoes)! There is a lesson here for our civilian Airmen too ... fitness is good and you will be happier if you make it part of your life! So just like I learned to like lima beans, learn to like PT!

One problem is that people tend to make getting fit too complicated by worrying about developing and recording the perfect workout. It just takes some simple planning and commitment and you can do anything! Here's how you can get started:

First see your doctor and make sure you are medically capable of exercising! Next, stop by the health and wellness center or the Blake, Triangle or Dragon Fitness Centers and talk to some of our fitness experts about all the great programs we have available. They will help you learn how to work out too! Then find some exercise activity you like doing and do it with a friend or even better a group of friends. Finally, make your new fitness regimen part of your daily routine to make sure you stick with it. It is that simple!

I didn't think I could ever like eating lima beans, but after just a little dedicated effort ,I found out I could love them! I challenge you to use the "Lima Bean Theory" and learn to like fitness -- I know you can do it! See you in the gym.