For the last 2 weeks I’ve been studying for my blood test. I have a healthy diet and exercise regularly but it’s all about the numbers. If I don’t get the right answer then I’ll have failed. So I’ve been preparing; no meat or chicken, more salad, protein from soy and fish and beans, more vegetables, more oatmeal, no refined sugar, no snacks, drinking lots of water. It’s really no fun being virtuous. The one thing I haven’t given up is my glass of red wine in the evening. I count that as helping my heart health.
As I was picking up a few groceries and contemplating a minor deviation from my planned diet I saw a woman riding in one of those scooters they advertise on TV. All I could think of was the people on the spaceship in Wall-E, with their super sized food and floats to ride in.
She appeared to be only middle aged but she was so obese that she couldn’t walk. Flesh spilled over the sides of the seat and bulged over the tops of her shoes. Great wattles of flesh hung from her face and neck. At first I wondered if she had some type of medical condition that contributed to her weight. Then I saw what was in her basket; cookies, donuts, pizza, coke, etc; and my impulse of sympathy died a swift death. I was revolted and ashamed for feeling that way. The woman is obviously addicted to food to a degree that does make it a disease and deserved my understanding but my better nature failed to rise to the top.
I looked at the box of crackers in my hand, put them back on the shelf and went and picked up some celery. “If you can’t resist putting something in your mouth”, I told myself, “at least it won’t be anything fattening”. I left the store as quickly as possible, shocked at the depth of my revulsion that I could possibly ever come to be in the same state.
If that wasn’t enough I just got information about my BMI. For my age and height I am in the normal range but just barely. I am, however, in the 25th percentile for American women. That means that 75% of women my height and age weigh more than I do and that automatically makes them over-weight or obese. Seventy-five percent! That’s an appalling statistic. I had never before, internalized the fact that there is an obesity epidemic in America.
I told a friend that my new diet and exercise plan was to take a 20-minute walk around Wal-Mart every day and observe the other customers. There was a pause and then “You’re kidding right?” he asked. “Only partly”, I replied.
Now I’m working hard not to obsess over my weight. I have healthy eating habits. I indulge now and again but trade off afterwards. I exercise. I need to stick to the changes I’ve made in my life style, but I don’t need to go overboard. Aristotle was right, moderation in all things is the key to a happy and healthy life.