Remember how you always wanted to be older, or just be any different age than you were at the time; but the real coup was to be twenty-one? Celebrated in a variety of ways, this seems to be the answer to much of teenage angst. To be grown up, to be an “adult”, to have achieved the magic number 21. Well, the same is true of fitness. Fitness has come of age; it is finally 21, and a force to be taken seriously. A contender.
When I was growing up, and as many of you remember, fitness was not an issue, not even a common word. In fact, ‘fitness’ in my world meant if someone were qualified or acceptable for some position or responsibility. As in, “Is she a fit person to handle that job?” (So; from ‘capable’ to ‘culpable’, we’ve moved from personality or training to body guilt.) We were fit because we walked or rode a horse or a bike to school, ate what was set before us, thought “fast food” was fish on Fridays, and nursed our yearly soda at the Labor Day Rodeo(Nehi Orange drink). We had a paper route, or herded sheep, or mowed lawns or moved cattle; sports were only on evenings or Saturdays after we finished our work, and we didn’t catch a ride to anything. We were fit. Now childhood obesity is epidemic, diabetes is rampant, and heart disease is attacking younger and younger people.
But! The good new is, it got our attention. Fitness has come of age. On the front burner now, schools are beefing up their programs and specifically targeting movement as a partner in the process. We’re taking a hard look and a hard line on what we have available—at school and at home---for children to eat, the state is setting up a program for fitness, and the corporate world is making it a priority. We’re not only noticing, but doing something about it.
I’m encouraged. It’s not easy to change habits and overcome long established eating patterns and to cope with the ready availability of the quick and easy; it is easy to succumb to the temptation of a frenzied world. There is time to take care of you; education, dedication, and prioritizing are imperatives to getting control.
I like that I see the major fast food companies coming out with healthy alternatives. It still involves making the decision to choose that option, and not succumbing to dessert because you have, but the awareness is powerful. And it still means ‘a walk in the park later,’ but we all know that. I’m grateful that in many restaurants the portion size is more reasonable, and vegetables are an option to huge mounds of carbohydrates. I still have to request they do not bring the bread basket, but nobody frowns at me anymore and it’s much easier to resist if it isn’t there.
Okay, talk is cheap, action works. Part of what we as individuals can do to assist this fledgling, is to walk the talk. If we model healthful living and positive choices, it’s a win/win. We wind up healthier and others see the behavior and the result. We just never know who is watching! Long ago I drove by McDonalds and had a serious “Big Mac Attack”. I rarely eat a Big Mac, and guess I just felt like kicking over the traces. So I pulled into the carry-out lane, boldly ordered a Big Mac…with large fries… waited for the car in front of me, then pulled ahead to pick up my order. Soon the window framed a smartly uniformed young attendant. He looked down at me as he reached to hand me my contraband…paused in recognition, then, smiling kindly, pulled back his hand and said, “I don’t think so, Miss G., I’ll get you a salad!” And he did!!!!!
I hope he’s also reading fifteen minutes everyday…
Maybe collectively we can change ‘Super Size’ to ‘Super Smart’. Let’s try.