I’ve already blown it.
For most my life, the primary concern related to my food consumption and weight has been, have I eaten enough of the good stuff? It was both a question of total calorie intake and what those calories consisted of, though for many, many years it really was just getting enough calories to keep my supercharged metabolism from flaming out.
We were joking about it at a dinner party (of course it would be a dinner party!) last weekend. When I told some new friends that, when Carol and I celebrated our wedding day, I probably weighed in at a little over 120 pounds (and I’m 6 feet tall), the typical comments about disappearing sideways made the round of the table. There are pictures of me sitting at the piano from that period where I am barely visible (except for the wavy hair atop my head).
Those days are quite long past. Somewhere in the 40s, my metabolism began to slow. The good news was that I could put on the pounds I needed to be healthier, and most of it was at least reasonably healthy weight. Once I hit a more ideal weight for my height, I found that I was sick much less often and generally felt better.
As I approached healthy weight, I learned to adjust my eating, pulling back on the food throttle that had put me into healthy BMI orbit. I generally stay comfortably in my range.
Traveling tends to put a triple drag on that orbit. One, I tend to get less exercise. Two, I tend to eat a little more at meals when I’m out (there’s often no way to make use of the leftovers). Three, I often find I’m eating junk food to keep alert on long drives.
A triple whammy.
So here I am, facing the Thanksgiving feast, already above my approved weight.
I did a little hunting around to see how bad things might get. What I found was a thoughtful article on Yahoo Health that provided these encouraging (I think) statistics (courtesy of Lisa Moskovitz, R.D.):
- “The average person fries about 1,600 calories a day, just keeping their heart beating and their lungs breathing.”
- “To gain one pound of fat in a day you would have to eat 3,500 calories more than what you burned off.”
That looks like over 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving to add a pound of sustained weight. As much as I love the food of this American feast, that’s not happening.
Then I kept reading. And Ms. Moskovitz told me that, “On average, people could expect to see an extra two to four pounds staring back to them after their Thanksgiving feast,” as a temporary effect of the food and drink being digested (along with some added water weight).
Ouch! Not only will I be busting out of my zone . . . I’ll be busting my buttons!
Time to get to work (or work out).
I know . . . if you, dear Reader, have a struggle with weight, all of this is laughable or worse. Please forgive me.
Maybe the more significant takeaway is that this is the kind of thing so many of us in this blessed country will be worrying about (or at least joking about) this weekend. Eating too much. Deciding whether to have one more scoop of stuffing, or mashed potatoes, or one more slice of pecan or pumpkin pie.
Most of us in this country are living in relative peace, with adequate (or abundant) food and safe, secure shelter. Most of us will have something relatively nice to wear when we sit down at our laden tables.
There are millions in this country for whom this will not be true, and billions around the world for whom it is never true.
We should be thankful that our problems are the ones we have. If we’ve found ourselves grumbling about neighbors or co-workers or election results, perhaps we should think again. For most of us, there is so much more to be thankful for than there is to gripe about, so much more to celebrate than to mourn.
We should give thanks, and we should celebrate. We are blessed.
And then, perhaps, we should resolve, for the sake of those less blessed, that indeed it is time to get to work. That the blessings we have received should be the blessings we share.
So that next year, we’ll all be busting our buttons . . . with blessings.