After the Holidays are Over

After all the partying and celebrating is done for the year, I look back and ask myself why I ate all that food! Cakes and pies and turkeys and mashed potatoes and ham and gravy — they’re all still with me, another year another 5 pounds.

Strawberry desserts ready to serve.
We love rich, sweet food but it’s not healthy for us. What price do we pay for all that indulgence?

When I was younger it didn’t bother me so much. I was pretty active and I knew I could walk it off or it just would shed away. My father warned me this would happen. He said you don’t eat less as you get older, you just eat less sensibly.

Dad struggled with weight for the last 20 years of his life. He was diagnosed “obese” and told to eat more salads and exercise more. After about 5 years of making excuses he started to change things around. He dropped 20 pounds in one year just by not eating desserts.

That worked pretty well for about 10 years. But then he was in an accident and his injuries left him in some pain. To ease the pain Dad turned to food. At first it was just comfort food like fried chicken. Eventually he started eating desserts again.

It only took about five years but he gained 30 or 40 pounds. His activity slowed down and his eating speeded up. He said to me one that if he could choose how he died he would rather go in his sleep. He got his wish. He wasn’t that heavy and the doctor said his weight was only a part of the reason.

But one night Dad just stopped breathing as he slept and he never woke up again.

I’m not a big fan of dieting. I don’t think I could survive long on the Atkins diet plan but I do try to eat more salads. When I was a kid I wouldn’t touch a salad but as I got older and joined Dad for lunch he would introduce me to new kinds of salads.

It wasn’t all about fitness. I think Dad was lonely after the divorce from Mom. She remarried but he never could find a new partner. He looked at all the best dating sites he could find, hoping maybe Mrs. Right would be there. But dating sites are full of gimmicks and the competition is pretty intense. And Dad didn’t believe in “faking it” in an online profile.

I guess Dad was lucky in that respect. He was never caught up in a dating scam although the F.B.I. warning came too late for him. Dad passed away three years ago this month.

About the closest my wife and I have come to trying a formal diet is looking at a government Website for nutrition. She still looks pretty good but I’m starting to worry about myself.

I think the thing to do is just eat sensibly, like Dad did. But you need a backup plan. What if something happens and you get hurt? There isn’t much information out that I feel we can trust. A lot of physical activity sites are designed with money in mind. I get that some people want to be intense about their workouts but that isn’t me.

The government says we can get by on 10 minutes of activity at a time, but we have to schedule the activity throughout the day. That’s like walking to lunch and back to work. Or it’s parking as far away from the mall entrance as is possible and safe. Or it’s like walking with the kids to the park instead of driving there.

A few extra minutes of walking throughout the day may just help you sleep better and live longer. And then you can have your cake and eat it too. Once in a while.

I’m ready for seconds on the cake right now. I guess it’s time to take the kids for a brisk walk in the winter air.