It’s nineteen sixty-something and it’s time for recess at Barney’s Academy. I’m in the first grade.
As I struggle to get on the monkey bars, hefting my plump frame to the first rung I hear behind me, “Fatty, fatty two by four, couldn’t get through the bathroom door!” You know the rest.
Embarrassed and angry I turn around and push the other boy to the ground. We both end up in front of Mr. Barney, given a lecture about being nice and forced to shake hands.
Later that night my Mom tries to comfort me as I go to bed. “You’re not fat, you just have a large frame. Good night, Butterball!” I cried myself to sleep that night. Fifty plus years later and I remember that day.
Flash forward to today and I’m a documentary nut. Give me a documentary on diet, exercise or some type of health debate and I’m all in.
Last night was no different. I found a documentary from Auckland, New Zealand of all places. The title? “Why Are We Fat?” It follows a fellow about my age, late fifties, who is type 2 diabetic, overweight and eats like crap.
The story follows this guy who goes on to be prodded, poked and scanned only to confirm, “Yep you are overweight, 40% fat and still type 2 diabetic.”
You can imagine the fix to his problems. Eat better and exercise more. This was the last thing he wanted to hear.
Like most of us, the allure of sugar and the highly processed foods that sugar is hidden in are like crack cocaine. Very addictive and it gives you a short term sense of euphoria.
I have always had to battle the demon of food. As society gets fixated on the quick and the easy in all things from internet connections to how we eat, the ease of access to great-tasting, calorie-dense, sugar-filled foods is only a click away on your cell.
And why drive or God forbid bike to the fast-food restaurant of choice when they can bring it to your door?
In many cases, there really is no need to move more than a thousand feet a day. From bed to kitchen to home office to telecommute and then back to bed. There may be short strolls to the fridge to add “a few steps to my Fitbit.”
I have found recently that by living a challenged based life, by doing the hard stuff like eating better and exercising DAILY there is a power in the struggle. When you control your choices, things become a habit and that habit becomes your healthy lifestyle.
Is it easy all the time? Hell no! Will I be a healthier person in the long run? Hell yes!
In the documentary, I saw people that had given up on themselves. People that have told themselves the story and conned themselves into believing “That’s just the way it is.” You get older, you get fat, you get sick and then you die.
I know I will die one day too. I want to spend my last days on the beach or traveling with Kathie, not looking out of the window in my hospital bed with tubes stuck in me ten ways to Sunday.
There is no better time than NOW to take control. Just a 1% improvement in how you ate yesterday is the start of a 37X improvement in a year from now. Cut out that one candy bar, park the car a bit farther from the front door of the store.
You can do it!