A holiday crisis, again?
Glenn Mollette, Guest Writer
America’s next crisis most likely started around the Halloween holiday. Many Americans buy more candy than they give away to the children trick or treating. Since we want to be thrifty and most of us like candy, we keep it. We hold on to the candy to demonstrate that we are good stewards of money. We also hold on to it just to eat a piece or two or three every day. I’ve held on to Halloween candy before and eaten handfuls of it in a day.
I normally gain weight if I eat more than 2,000 calories a day. This proves I’m not exercising enough even though I might work off a couple of hundred calories at the gym on some days.
I used to exercise 90 minutes or even two hours and could still gain weight since I have the ability to eat more than I work off on a treadmill.
Next comes the Thanksgiving holiday. I love Thanksgiving. I have a lot to be thankful for like most Americans. My wife has already been making and freezing cookies. The problem is I know that they are in the freezer, and I know where to find them in the freezer. I can take one out at a time and put it in the microwave. Occasionally, I have taken two out of the freezer. I hope we have some left by the time Thanksgiving is actually here.
For some reason after Thanksgiving is over, we begin to really settle into the holiday spirit. Christmas programs, parades and all the festive songs begin airing on the radio. Something sort of comes over me with festive singing, dancing and holiday cheer. A glass of eggnog from the grocery store, which is loaded with calories and fat, is so delicious. Of course, who can ever have just one glass of eggnog?
I am blessed in that our freezer is full in preparation for Thanksgiving. My wife has been the Commander in Chief in regard to our meal the last few years. She has learned how to prepare far in advance of the big day. In times past, she co-chaired this event with her mother. Her mom has spent the last few years in and out of the hospital and nursing home, so Carole has carried the ball of cooking the big meals. We will have plenty to eat and, for that, I am very grateful.
The only problem is that, by about Jan. 1, I will be standing on the scale shaking my head. ‘Whoa is me … or whoa is my weight!’ I’ll likely exclaim. I keep reading articles that Americans only gain about one pound during the holiday season. However, if we only gain one pound a holiday season and never lose it, then after a few years we are in very sad shape. Sadly, too many Americans are in very bad physical shape.
Let me quickly stop here and say, I think I gain three or four pounds around Christmas and then have to work all winter to lose it and, so far, I have. However, losing weight just simply gets harder all the time.
We smile and know we all fight this battle of eating too much and exercising too little. Unfortunately, it’s nothing to really smile that much about. We kill ourselves eating too much and eating the wrong foods. Too many Americans are obese. That only leads to serious health problems from heart issues to cancer and to diabetes. Diabetes is such a chronic problem in America. There are different numbers on diabetes. About 30 million people in our country are struggling with this health dilemma. Millions of people are undiagnosed. Diabetes leads to blindness, kidney failure and amputations of feet and legs. There is nothing pretty about diabetes.
I confess I eat too much sugar. Overall, I eat too much of everything. I’ve always tried to work out, but it takes balance in eating, routine exercise and a mentality of trying to live healthy.
We are in a crisis in America due to health care costs. We can’t afford our medical insurance, and it’s almost always financially painful to go the doctor. I see people in nursing homes who are too young to be there. They have become physically dilapidated and unable to care for themselves. The estimated annual health care cost of obesity-related illnesses are a staggering $190.2 billion or nearly 21 percent of annual medical spending in the United States. Childhood obesity alone is responsible for $14 billion in direct medical costs (healthcommunitieshealthfuture.org).
There are all kinds of scenarios. Some people inherit diabetes, fight it hard and still lose the battle. Lately, I’ve seen this in my own family. My challenge to me is to try to get ahead of this and not let eating bad, inactivity and extra weight become a holiday crisis, again.
Glenn Mollette is a syndicated columnist and author of 11 books. He can be contacted by email at [email protected]