by Mel Griffith
Recently I noticed three news items that seemed to suggest that this would be a good time for some people to rethink old habits. The first item was that we are in for some hard economic times. They will certainly last until after the election, and if Obama gets elected they may last forever. This suggests that all of us ought to review our lifestyle for areas where we can cut back. The other two items suggested areas where cutbacks could easily be made which would not only save money but lead to better health as well.
A news report said that 25% of Americans are overweight. Worse, the south is more overweight than the national average. That is understandable, since we have better food that is harder to resist, but that doesn't make it less of a problem. People become overweight because they eat too much, even though some like to blame it on genetics. It's really quite simple. if you eat more calories than you burn up, the excess is stored as fat. You can get dozens of diets which were developed to make their promoters rich and perhaps even help you lose weight. You don't need to understand or use them.
All you need to know is that if you eat more food than your body can use you will get fat and if you eat less food than your body uses it will use fat and you will lose weight. Of course you need a balanced diet which provides nutrients, but if you eat a variety of food and don't do anything weird you are likely to balance your diet quite well by accident. It's not really what you eat that matters, it's how much of it.
The other recent item said that 20% of Tennessee adults are still smoking more than 40 years after everyone learned that smoking is very bad for your health. With constantly rising prices, smoking is also bad for your pocketbook. But quitting represents a golden opportunity for dealing with hard times since it will do absolutely no harm, save a great deal of money and possibly reduce health costs as well. People can also set a good example for their children by quitting a dangerous habit and possibly improve the children's health as well.
Dealing with both these problems costs no money, takes up no time, and requires no training. It does, however, require will power. After all, a lack of will power was what created these unhealthy situations in the first place. Unfortunately, most of us have been able to lead such an easy life that we have come to think that there is a magic solution to every problem that doesn't require us to buckle down and do what we already know we should.
Advertisers constantly take advantage of our wishful thinking by telling us that if only we will buy their product there will be a painless, wonderful way to lose weight or stop smoking or have beautiful hair or skin or teeth or whatever it is that we want but don't want to go to any trouble to achieve. Unfortunately, everything worth doing isn't necessarily quick, easy and pleasant.