There are many unanswerable questions

On the Ball column by Craig Lindsay, April 6 Grand Forks Gazette.

Losing weight is hard. Anyone who has tried knows this for a fact. It gets harder as you get older. One gets set in one’s way and making any change isn’t easy. Who doesn’t like a cold beer or pop and some chips or a burger? Does anyone really like kale or quinoa?

It still seems somewhat acceptable in society to make fun of overweight people. This doesn’t seem very fair because I’m pretty sure no one wants to be large. Between health issues and society pressures and trying to fit into chairs, it’s not easy.

Of course, the ‘teasing’ is kind of like the ‘casual’ racism you sometimes hear. I’m not racist but… c’mon, if you call someone ‘big guy’ or ‘big girl’ you better be bigger than them, or be referring to their height. Or maybe people don’t like being call ‘stretch’ or being asked how the weather is up there either?

Many people these days are using one of the many calorie counting apps available to the Android and iPhone. Apparently you lose more weight when you keep track. These apps are pretty amazing: free, and it counts up your calories, tells you how close to your goal you are, how much of your meal is protein vs. fat vs. carbs. Pretty amazing stuff. Basically all you have to do is scan the bar code and you’re golden. It does get a little monotous after a while. Some items are tough to find especially if they don’t have a bar code or if you threw it out.

Dieting and losing weight is all about patience and perseverance. You can’t be perfect all the time but you have to try. Of course, in order to do it properly you have to have a good exercise program. You need to ramp up the metabolism so you’re burning the stuff you want to, like fat.

But sometimes that darn calorie counting app gets annoying. You have to log every meal and every little thing you eat or drink. Sure that’s the point but it gets a little boring and repetitive.

You see, the thing is the scale sees all. Scale don’t lie, as they say. Sure, you can justify pretty much anything. These calories don’t count because it’s my birthday. If it’s free it doesn’t count either. If your wife or mom or grandmother makes it for you, hey nobody will blame you for getting down with that turkey with all the fixings. Sadly you’re fooling yourself. I’m afraid the scale doesn’t care why you ate something. It still counts and it still adds inches to the hips and belly.

But really extreme dieting doesn’t make sense. Eventually you’ll have cravings and although a bag of chips here and a cheeseburger there won’t kill you, it’s a start. What makes more sense to me at least is to try and enact better nutritional decisions. That’s not really any easier but hey worth a try, right? Torturing yourself isn’t going to work. Let’s be honest. We all want to live long, healthy lives but if it means we’re miserable what’s the point?

Reminds me of a joke: guy goes to the doctor’s office and asks the doctor, how long do I have? The doctor asks: Do you smoke? The man replies, No. Do you drink? No. Do you eat fast food and junk food? No. Do you chase women? No. Do you stay out late and party? No. The doctor then says, Then why do you care?

I’ve never fully understood that joke. I guess there has to be balance in everything. You have to be able to find foods that are healthy and nutritious but don’t taste like dirt. Of course, what is the best diet? What are the proper foods to eat? Every other book, website and “health expert” has a different opinion. Paleo? Atkins? Vegetarian? Soylent green? Are eggs good for you or bad? What about orange juice and granola bars? Red meat? That’s bad right?

Exercise is the other key to losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle, or so I’m told. Exercise is great when you can get out with some friends and play a rousing game of basketball or football or ultimate frisbee. Some people go for very long walks or go to the gym regularly and lift weights. All of those are great. It’s just hard to maintain that on the regular basis needed for efficacy. Most people are exhausted after a long day of work. Not to mention the pull of the couch when you get home. I guess it’s all about choices.


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