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Contact: Al Ripskis at

Changing Lifestyles Without Struggle (1)

 ROCKVILLE, MD—Unhealthy lifestyles kill 632,000 Americans each year -- 112,000 die from diseases attributable to inactivity and overweight , while tobacco alone kills 435,000 -- more than cocaine, heroin, homicides, suicides, car accidents, fire and AIDS combined. An additional 85,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes.

 “But the good news on the lifestyle front is that discoveries in brain science and psychology have paved the way for extraordinary new processes for eliminating the pain and struggle connected with making lifestyle changes — from dealing with deadly habits such as smoking, drinking and overeating to changing the direction and quality of our lives,” announces Al Louis Ripskis, lifestyle expert and author of the manual Unlock Your Life  – Using Breakthrough Discoveries in Brain Science and Psychology.

“The main reasons we can’t maintain normal weight or sustain other lifestyle changes are not inadequate willpower, lack of self-control or defective genes,” Ripskis declares. “New discoveries on the architecture of the brain point to flawed, self-defeating strategies we use in trying to make those changes permanent.”

Over millions of years, nature — to insure our survival — hard-wired into our brains extremely powerful reward pathways that demand satisfaction at almost any cost through varied pleasure sources — from food to drink, from socializing to sex. Each day we need our quota of pleasure via serotonin and other neurotransmitters to stimulate our reward pathways or else we feel out of sorts, not up to par or depressed &mdash a condition brain scientists call “Reward Deficiency.”

By suddenly going on diets or giving up smoking, we create an intolerable pleasure deficit. And that, essentially, is why 90% of dieters and 93% of smokers who try to quit, eventually fail. Brain scientists have discovered that pleasure and reward are the instruments for achieving successfully self-initiated changes &mdash not willpower and self-deprivation. The ‘No pain, no gain’ strategy is self-defeating in the long-run, Ripskis explains.

            Highly effective tools have emerged from brain research findings to deal effectively with deadly habits and have more enjoyment and fun in life. “If you are stuck in today’s exhausting, harried, commuter-treadmill lifestyle, leaving you little time and energy to do what you really want, the first step for reclaiming control of your life is to compile your comprehensive Pleasure Inventory (Chapter 6), and then turn your daily ‘To Do’ list into ‘To Do & Reward Myself’ list,” states Ripskis

            “Thus, if you are sick and tired of the perpetual struggle with weight, then quit sabotaging yourself through diets and exercise programs that fly in the face of the demands of your brain’s hard-wired reward pathways” emphasizes Ripskis. “The first of four decisive steps for breaking the self-defeating weight gain/lose cycle is to come up with the precise ways to reward yourself daily with healthier, more enjoyable pleasures from your Pleasure Inventory.”

Unlock Your Life  (Impact Journal Press) is a step-by-step manual for applying vital discoveries in brain science and psychology to resolve conflict, eliminate self-defeating, destructive behavior and channel energies for action, achievement and enjoyment. It is a highly readable, entertaining and interactive work that reveals how to enlist the brain’s powerful reward pathways to facilitate rather than let them undermine desired lifestyle changes — and do it enjoyably. Though not available in bookstores, it can be ordered. Email:


About the Author: For the past 18 years, while traveling widely, he researched, interviewed, counseled and wrote two* definitive books on lifestyles. Ripskis is a hotline crisis and SCORE entrepreneur counselor. He is a passionate investigative reporter. For 13 years Ripskis’ exposés sparked congressional hearings, investigations and received extensive media coverage.



The Wall Street Journal----------------------- August 19, 1985, p. 2----------------------- FHA Plans to Abolish Building Codes

New York Times----------------------- September 4, 1982----------------------- An Oversees Trip: Function or Fun?

Washington Post----------------------- June 8, 1982, p. A15----------------------- HUD Houses Bureaucrat/Critic With Impact

UPI----------------------- June 8, 1981----------------------- Colossal HUD Waste

Washington Star----------------------- September 8, 1978----------------------- HUD Spending Millions on Unnecessary Act’ies

R. Nader’s Syndicated Column----------------------- December 15, 1974 “Impact” Has Lots of It


*News release on Ripskis’ other book on lifestyles:



Contact: Al Ripskis at

From Nightmares to Dream Lifestyles (2)

ROCKVILLE, MD— “I wake up in cold sweat with the recurring nightmare that I get downsized from my career and then trudge from one minimum wage job to another until I die,” is how one employee explained today’s most pervasive fear after terrorism, to Al Louis Ripskis, hotline crisis counselor, lifestyle expert and author of Cutting Loose: From Rat Race to Dream Lifestyles.

“Life has become stressful, unpredictable and insecure as a result of 9/11, Enron, over 55* million who have been downsized since 1979, and the 9 million Americans who are unemployed or underemployed right now," says Ripskis. “But the good news is that a proactive trend is replacing the anxious, defensive mind-set evoked by terrorism and the massive downsizings. People are becoming Proactors and are asking themselves 'Where and how do I want to live?’ And for many the answers is to engage their own entrepreneurial and personal passions and pursue the dreams they have kept  on hold for years,” declares Ripskis.

             “Why shouldn't I go for my dream, do what I want and take risks!?” is how one woman Ripskis interviewed justified her dramatic lifestyle change. “Life is too short and unpredictable to be hanging onto a frustrating, stifling job, waiting to be downsized.”

      In Cutting Loose (Impact Journal Press) Ripskis documents this silent revolution: how people are getting “out of the box” and thriving, after opting out of the rat race and downsize-proofing themselves in this age of uncertainty and perpetual lay-offs.

o  By taking to sea in a self-built, 43-foot boat Paul and Linda Jauncey sought adventure to escape the daily grind of the commuter treadmill lifestyle, remove their children from the culture of drugs and violence, and maintain their close-knit family ties. Little did they know that their boat would be eventually pirated, burned and that their insurance company wouldn't pay up. That delayed, but didn’t prevent the Jaunceys from achieving their personal dream. “And I had a good taste of what that life is like while sailing with them from St. Lucia to Grenada,” adds Ripskis.


o  Bill Pease entered law with romantic notions; he exited it fifteen years later as a disillusioned Assistant U.S. Attorney convinced that the lawyers he knew were a “pack of whores." In an act of supreme courage he quit his secure legal career to write crime novels successfully—even though up to then he hadn’t been published.


o  Jeff Werner was the quintessential achiever. Before forsaking the corporate world to teach sailing off St. Lucia, he was making $65,000 a year while being groomed for a vice presidency at an American Express subsidiary. He is now making $20,000 and “couldn't be happier.”


o  The prevailing Springfield Central High legend has it that Jack Young chucked an eminently successful 26-year legal career in Little Rock, jumped on his motorcycle and took off for LA to become a beach bum. The legend is true except for the last part. Last heard of, Jack was a happily re-married Unitarian minister “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.”


Ripskis isn’t some detached scribe. He lived many of the lives he writes about—from  crewing on boats to joining the Trappists, from working in a commune to eventually getting kicked out of a Zen monastery. We vividly experience the thrills, joys, triumphs and setbacks of the people he profiles. We can almost smell the fragrance of the tropical flowers and feel the sea breeze in our faces. Which brings us to the book’s one flaw: a sizable number of the lives he profiles are set in the tropics. And Ripskis’ response? “Of the thousands of people I surveyed and interviewed all over the world,  most envision living their dreams in warm climes; none expressed a desire to live in the arctic.”

Ultimately Cutting Loose is not so much a series of lifestyle blueprints as a collection of role models to ignite our imaginations and unleash our passions for discovering the lives we were really meant to live.
The book can be ordered online by clicking the PayPal cart below.

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