Carrying your own weight

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 20, 2003

Some colleagues and I just got back from lunch at a local restaurant.

As usual, I ate every bite of everything that was on my plate. I’m useless for the rest of the afternoon.

Had I gone home for lunch as I usually do, I likely would have had a sandwich, a handful of chips been back at work in 30 minutes and actually have done something to advance the company’s goals.

Email newsletter signup

I don’t like eating out for a number of reasons, the one above is near the top of my list. Others include the fact that I detest paying about 80 cents for an egg when I can get an entire dozen at the supermarket for the same price; I can’t stand the thought of strangers handling my food; and I’m a tightwad.

I think restaurants, particularly those of the supposed &uot;fast&uot; food ilk, are responsible for much of what’s wrong with America.

And by that I mean our ever-expanding girth. I count myself among those two-thirds of Americans who are overweight. I didn’t until just the other day when Andy Damiani came into the office and informed me about how much weight I had put on. Thanks Andy.

One third of us can be classified as obese. As a result, literally billions of healthcare dollars go toward the complications of obesity: diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and some cancers. I read where obesity will soon overtake smoking as the chief cause of preventable death.

If I have one real talent it’s my ability to put on weight really fast. It’s nothing for me to put on up to 20 pounds in a month. As a result, I’ve been obsessed with weight my entire life. I’m 41 now and have been on a diet pretty much since I was eight.

Up until a couple years ago, it was reasonably easy for me to take that weight off, but it’s difficult now as my body is trying to settle in at the weight it wants, one which is about 15 pounds more than what I need to be.

I became a vegetarian 13 years ago so I would not be able to drive through fast-food restaurants and gorge on burgers and fries. It makes me cringe that at times such high-fat, high-calorie, high-carbohydrate, high-sugar meals is all my children will eat.

I also worry about physical activity, particularly where my kids are concerned. Their leisure time is primarily spent watching any of the six or seven 24-hour-a-day cartoon networks or playing video games. I resist the urge to say things like &uot;Why don’t you go outside and play like I did when I was kid?&uot; because I know things are different now. Kids don’t have friends to play with anymore like they used to and when they do, the activities they engage in typically lead to trouble.

We had no video games when I was kid, of course, and Mr. Cartoon aired from 4 to 5 p.m. each afternoon and that was it as far as video entertainment was concerned. We had no choice but to go outside and &uot;mix&uot; if we didn’t want to die from boredom. And I always hated when my parents would see me watching my cartoons and lecture me about getting out and doing something, telling me about all the time they spent as children during the Great Depression picking blackberries, swimming in rivers and playing ball.

Each succeeding generation seems to be a little more sedentary, a little softer, and a little rounder.

I wonder what guilt trip my son will lay on his children: &uot;When I was a kid, we didn’t have psychokinetic video games. We had it tough. We used to have to manipulate the controller with our hands.&uot;

I’ve kind of lost my way here and don’t really know where I’m headed with this other than that we’re a nation headed for a health care crisis the likes, and costs, of which are going to be beyond anything that has come before it.

It doesn’t have to happen, though. Get off the sofa and take a walk; don’t stop a McDonalds today; look at yourself naked in the mirror first thing every morning – do whatever works for you.

And if none of that helps you can do what I do – make it a point to run into Andy Damiani in front of a large group of people. He’s truly inspirational.

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald.