Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Live Life Don't Eat It

So a couple of events sparked this post. First, a few weeks ago I was getting a "treat" at Dunkin Donuts - a vanilla coffee coolatta. They have a new "kiddie" size which is perfect for me since I really never finish a "small." So the guy in line behind me comes running after me "What is that?" He is utterly shocked at how "small" my beverage is. Now I have the sizes in quotes because truthfully it was at least 8 ounces of liquid, which to me should be regular size not "kiddie" size.

So I think to myself what was I doing the day all the restaurants decided that small was just too small and they were going to make "small" what "medium or large" used to be and make "medium or large" ginormous? I don't remember the sneaky little trick and I certainly don't remember anyone complaining or even stopping to think about it.

So the second thing to spark this post is a show I watched yes, big sigh, on Oprah yesterday all about diabetes. My mom has diabetes so I watched determined to educate myself and find one maybe just one fact that I could share with her that would give her as Oprah says "An AH HA Moment." I shared that "a single serving of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar in it" to my diabetic mother who lives off a diet that falls into the following categories: SODA, SNACKS, WHITE CARBS (bread, pasta, rice, bagels, etc.), and last but not least FATTY MEATS. My mother, as could be predicted, sloughed off the comment with a nod of her head. She wanted to know about as badly as she wants to admit to herself that she does have some control over her body and her health.

So I ask, when did people (not all but some) decide that they'd rather eat away their life instead of live it? I find myself falling into the same pattern of thought as everyone else, but I see my mother's poor health and her unwillingness to accept any responsibility in the matter as my wake up call. I found myself on a late night trip to Wal-Mart for medicine one night promising my daughter a "treat" if she's good because I know it's getting late and she's getting cranky. I immediately thought ok I'll grab her a candy bar at check out and I almost said it outloud before I thought hey when did "treat" become only food and usually junk food at that. So instead I promised her a new story book for bed time. So she didn't get the temporary sugar high and instead got a book which we've been reading every night since.

It's no wonder we have so many health problems in this country. Our entire lives are at least 90 percent virtual. We don't walk the mall -we shop in our PJs in front of the computer, we don't go out with friends- we post factoids about our lives on Facebook or text our friends because God forbid we actually be dragged into a conversation. We don't experience life, we view it and for some, hell for most, we eat it. Every birthday celebration has to include cake right? We "treat" ourselves with chocolate or chips when we're upset, stressed, happy, fill in the blank and we do it. We medicate ourselves with food and then wake up one day to find that our body has had enough and starts letting us know in painful ways.

Everyone does it, not excluding me, I take responsibility. I wish more people would just take a second thought before promising a "treat" to their kids or "treating" themselves with food. Maybe your kids would be just as happy if you took them to the park, played a game with them, read them a story. Maybe before "treating" ourselves with food we could take a yoga class, read a book, take a trip, call a friend, or one of a thousand other possibilities. I'm not writing all this to be judgmental. I just want people to think for a second - What is my life worth?

Life is fragile and fleeting. Believe me I don't think my dad sat down in his twenties one day and said, yeah I'm middle aged, but by dying at 45 from abusing alcohol that's exactly what his twenties were- the middle of a life cut way to short by his choices. You know who pays for those choices, me and everyone else he left behind. So too will be the case with my mom. I don't think I'll ever get my mom to see her life as the valuable thing it is.

In a world of disposable everything I think that quality of life is becoming disposable too. Is one "treat" going to hurt you- of course not. Are you going to have health problems because you enjoy sitting down to a favorite meal with your family - No, but a lifetime spent eating life and not living it equals a poor quality of life down the road. And guess what -it's those we leave behind that pay the price. So my mantra now is Live Life Don't Eat it.

1 comment:

  1. Amen sister! I have friends actually living (mostly) as described on this website: http://www.marksdailyapple.com and sometimes I swear they are the only people I know who are truly experiencing anything...

    That's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point.

    It is so much easier to quiet every fear, anxiety, stress (and even celebrate the good things) with tasty things, or alcohol or whatever your particular variety of self-medication happens to be. Because instant gratification is so much more immediately satisfying than actually confronting and dealing the problem. I'm not sure if that is particularly American or a human issue at work.

    Nice work as usual. :)