For many people, converting to a healthy lifestyle begins with a cataclysmic event. For Randy Painter of Nephi, that moment was five years ago after a debilitating car accident.
The accident left him with a couple of ruptured discs in his back, causing severe pain and at times immobility. He managed the pain with prescription drugs and close to 100 steroid injections in a year, all with short-lived success. When the doctors suggested surgery, Painter refused. As a self-employed car dealership owner, he knew the cost would be astronomical. Instead, he sought an alternative method. With the help of his chiropractor, Dr. Mark Lafferty of Payson, who also is a nutritionist, Painter changed his diet, began exercising and underwent regular chiropractic therapy. He says it changed his life.
“Diet and exercise is really all it takes to change your lifestyle, but what people need is the motivation to do so,” Painter said.
In four years, Painter lost and maintained a weight loss of close to 40 pounds. He works out at the gym three to four days a week and doesn’t require the use of painkillers, other than the occasional aspirin. Painter takes daily vitamins, but gets most of his nutrition from the fruits and vegetables that he eats on a regular basis.
“My back is mostly cured. Aspirin is the only drug I take,” Painter said. “Therapy with my chiropractor, nutritional supplements, going to the gym and eating fruits and vegetables all led me to change, to be healthy again. I have a chance to live longer and be healthier.”
Painter owns the Painter Motor Company in Nephi, which has been in his family for 67 years, or four generations. Three times a week, before work, Painter takes about six quarts of his homemade blended fruit drink — which consists of berries, ice, protein powder and Ocean Spray Diet — to people in the community for no other reason than to educate his friends and family about healthy eating.
Currently, he provides the drink to a couple of students on the wrestling and football teams, his niece on the softball team and an 83-year-old woman in the hospital, who expressed the desire to change her life. He hopes the fruit blend will replace unhealthy eating habits, which often are an onset of stress.
“There’s a better way to deal with the stress and anguish of life,” Painter said. “Fruits and vegetables in the daily regimen is the way to do it. As a nation, we’ve gotten too accustomed to fast food diets, and health and nutrition have gone out the window. This is about educating the people that you love.”
At age 64, Painter prides himself on having excellent blood pressure. His wife Tonya Painter, a fourth-grade teacher in Spanish Fork, also is an advocate for healthy living. Tonya has been active much of her life as well, but finds her husband’s drive to serve others contagious.
“He motivates me. I’ve always been conscientious about my weight, but now we are just trying to stay healthy together. I lift weights four mornings a week, work on the elliptical and play softball. I feel better,” Tonya, 47, said.
Painter doesn’t stop with his family. He finds himself educating people in the grocery store when he sees a cart full of sugary and fatty foods. He’ll spend a few minutes educating patrons on the harmful nature of too many fat grams and not enough nutrition.
“We know what nutrition is all about; it’s just about getting our next generation on to it so they aren’t so focused on McDonald’s and energy drinks. The basics are fruits and vegetables and healthy eating. These things will save our society,” Painter said.
Painter, his wife and their children spend much of their time in the pursuit of an active and healthy lifestyle. The car accident may have been jarring at the time, but it ended up catapulting him into a healthy way of life that he loves to share with anyone he can.
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