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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
  • A progressive health initiative

  • This past Friday I attended the Brown County Congress at the Brown County Rural Electric Association (REA). The speakers on hand spoke about the Minnesota statewide health improvement program.
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  • This past Friday I attended the Brown County Congress at the Brown County Rural Electric Association (REA). The speakers on hand spoke about the Minnesota statewide health improvement program.
     
    According to the Minnesota Department of Health, statewide and nationally, the two largest causes of chronic disease and premature death are obesity, caused by poor nutrition and insufficient physical activity, as well as commercial tobacco use.
     
    Linda Carruthers, a nutrition specialist at the Springfield Mayo Health System, said that more than 30 percent of American children are obese or overweight–triple the number back in 1980. Today’s children are the first generation that may not live as long as their parents.
     
    Carruthers said when she was growing up she remembered going out to eat twice a year with her family for special occasions.
     
    “How many of us now go out to eat twice a WEEK?” she asked rhetorically.
     
    When she asked the question I slouched in my chair looking smug. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in that feeling.
     
    After I gorged my way through this summer packing on added pounds, I announced to Hubby recently that we were going to start eating healthier.
     
    “Oh great,” he grumbled.
     
    “It isn’t doing us any favors to eat out all the time and we need to start paying attention to what we put in our mouths,” I said with conviction.
     
    “Can we start next month?” Hubby asked. “Or at least after tonight? I already made plans for us to dine out.”

    So far, no obvious changes have taken place as far as eating out less. In fact, I think if we skip eating out once during the week it makes us think that we should treat ourselves with over-indulgence.
     
    This was especially true this past Saturday as we were sitting in our respective recliners feeling like bloated ticks after our latest dining out feast.
     
    We tried out a new establishment that specializes in smoked BBQ ribs. I can only imagine how we may have appeared to on-lookers and other diners in the restaurant.
     
    Like a pack of dogs we smacked our lips and shoveled in food like we hadn’t eaten in weeks. There was maybe even some growling noises as each of us asked the other to put down the rib we were currently devouring to pass a condiment. From the moment our plates arrived until we licked the last rib bone clean, neither of us said a word.
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    On the way home when I had to recline my seat to make room for my protruding belly, I began to feel ashamed of myself as I remembered other things Carruthers had said at Friday’s seminar.
     
    She mentioned that compared to 20 years ago, portions and calories have nearly doubled in size. Soda has become the drink of choice for adults and children alike, most often replacing the healthy (and cheaper) alternatives of water and milk.
     
    Hubby and I talked about what a treat it was when we were allowed to have a can of soda. When we were growing up we didn’t even get our own can! We were expected to split 12 ounces of sugary, carbonated goodness at least three ways.
     
    Now, if Hubby and I haven’t polished off a case of diet soda between the two of us in a week we feel like we are making strides.
     
    Previously before the speakers presented their findings about the health of our nation, counties and cities, I had been trying to get back in shape. At my age, the idea of having a beach body is a thing of the past. I’d just like to be able to button my pants without my muffin top interfering with that process.
     
    After running a 5K last March, I haven’t been very consistent with my exercise regimen. In speaking with my son recently he expressed an interest in running cross country next fall. I told him I would be happy to train with him next summer.
     
    “But I like to run at a slow jog,” he told me.
     
    “As opposed to how I run?” I questioned.
     
    “Yeah, you run more like the speed of a death crawl,” he told me.
     
    Not to be outdone by my 12-year-old son, I decided to go into training again so I could impress him next summer. I even acquired a treadmill that Hubby refuses to pick up because he knows it will procure a spot next to my shoes intruding into his mancave.
     
    For now I’ve been running outside–or at least I was until after my first week of training when I stepped on a walnut and twisted my ankle forcing me to take a week off to let my swollen ankle heal.
     
    One week of consistency out of six months of inactivity, while certainly not impressive, is at least a step in the right direction. Getting healthy and active just makes good sense.
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