Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ignore This Till After the Holidays

Thanksgiving’s around the corner, so I’d better get this one out of the way. Just file it away so you can start fresh after the holidays.

We are perpetually hammered with stories about how “fat” we’ve become as a society. And just as often, that increasing girth is randomly attributed to Big Macs, Whoppers, cheesesteaks, hoagies, pizza, Egg McMuffins, and just about any other fat-filled, high calorie American meal that can be had in minutes from a roadside fast-food dispensary.

But why do we ignore the other side of bodily functions? Why do we focus primarily on the fuel that goes into our bodies and give secondary consideration to the engine that uses that fuel? Simply put: I believe our “fatness” is due more to our inactivity than to the ingestion of a Big Mac.

A recent article in American Legion Magazine indicated that the average American burns 150 calories less per day at the workplace than they did 50 years ago. That’s because many American jobs today involve more sitting around (usually in front of a computer screen) and less moving around.

That means we carry around more than thirty-seven-thousand calories per year—every year. That’s fuel that we store instead of burn up. And that’s how we get fat.

And it’s not just the workplace. Think about it. Fifty years ago, if you wanted to change the channel on your TV, you had to get up from your seat, walk across the room, turn the channel selector, and walk back to your seat.

Most cars in 1960 had windows that had to rolled down manually. Even that burned a few calories at the toll both—at least a few calories more than are burned by the act of pressing a power window button. In fact, now we don’t even have to do that. We have E-Z Pass!

 The differences may be meager in these examples, but thirty-seven-thousand calories here; thirty-seven-thousand calories there—it can add up over the course of lifetime.

This trend has developed over two generations. Young people today don’t seem to walk anywhere. And it’s not exclusively their fault. Parents are too quick to transport them: to school, to the ballgame, to the mall…

I can just imagine asking my dad to drive me to my little league game. He would have begun his answer something like this, “Do you see those two funny-looking things at the ends of your legs? Well, try putting one in front of the other. Before you know it, you’ll be at the ball field.”

Well, now I’m going to get hypocritical and recommend you do something sedentary. While you’re sitting in front of that computer, log on to, where you can download all of my work by just pressing a key.

Think of it—you can download my novel, “Grave Departure” for about the price of a Big Mac. Hmmm…how about that—fast food for the brain.

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