Friday, February 19, 2010

The Obesity Cold War

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Fair warning:  This is a long post, which will be the first of a series of posts.

History of the War

This week marks the beginning of my Cold War campaign against obesity (Thank you Michelle O.)  A recent study of over 1,600 Tennessee participating schools found that obesity in children dropped from 40.9% in 2007-08 to 39% in 2008-09.  Yay, for the 1% drop;  boo, for the fact that nearly 50% of our children are considered obese (basically more pounds/body mass than they need to grow and develop).  If the statistics are correct, then Tennessee's numbers are still higher than the national average of 32% as found in another study.  This study suggested that obesity in children and adults may be leveling off, but still 68% of U.S. adults are either obese or overweight.  Holy schnike, people!  68% of people like you and me.  7 out of 10 people in your office or mine are obese.  4 out of 10 kids in my kids' school are considered obese.  Hey, I get it.  Kids are growing.  Some kids need more food to accommodate their growth.  Some kids are just bigger than other kids.  I know it's hard to get kids to eat a balanced meal.  Trust me I know.  My kids eat almost nothing, and if it's green, it better be a sprinkle on a cookie, darn it (I gave up cussing for Lent.  I was going to give up prideful boasting, but my wife said I couldn't handle it and she didn't want to live with me after Lent was over if I did).  But golly guys, if we don't do for our kids, who will?

Now don't get me wrong, this is not a fight I just joined.  My fight with obesity started over a year and a half ago with myself.  At 210 lbs, I wouldn't have necessarily called myself a fattie (at least back then), but looking back, I know that my weight was dangerously close to causing me real problems like diabetes and heart disease, both of which run in my family.  As some of my new employees pointed out today while looking at old pictures of our office staff, they did not recognize me as that fat, Chinese guy in those pictures, and it now made sense as to why I felt guilty about pimpin' out girl scout cookies.  

Since I've joined the fight, I've tried waging my war loudly and proudly.  I've bullied and bribed my staff into joining weight loss contests and offered tips on losing weight.  I've spotted friends as they worked out at the Y and taken others out on training runs.  I've challenged peers to join races and encouraged others to realize a half-marathon isn't really that bad.  I've even started a long-winded, self-aggrandizing blog spouting my trials and tribulations with running.  But for every 1 person that I've helped, I've lost 4 more as they just went back to their old lifestyle. Clearly the fast food insurgents are too entrenched, so now I have to change my tactics.  Taking a page from American foreign policy in the 60's and 70's, I'm now engaging in a cold war.  And yes, much like those in space, I too know that all warriors are cold warriors (10 geek points if you know what movie that line came from, and 10 more points if you know the name of the character).  I also realize that if you're reading this blog with any frequency, and are not related to me, then you're probably one of the converted.  Like me, you may have started working out, and now you too have caught the running bug.  Whether you do it for health or for the challenge, you continue to pursue this lifestyle, and like me, I assume that you've found excitement, joy and satisfaction from it.  It hasn't always been easy, but so far it has been rewarding.  So now it's time to pay it forward.  But I think this is enough for tonight, but stay tuned as I lay out my plan to take over the world!  Right, Pinky?

Now for the hard numbers:  Today I did 8.6 miles.  2.4 miles I did as a warm-up with a friend that I'm trying to get into running.  The other 6.2 miles were a tempo run that I did at 7:55/mile along part of the Country Music Marathon Course.  I hadn't intended on going that hard, but it was another beautiful day and I couldn't help myself.  I also got a little workout helping with my son's basketball team.  Those kids can go hard, and I had to really push myself to stay ahead of them!  All right, it's late and warrior needs sleep badly.  Fall out soldiers!  Have fun and run hard!

1 comment:

Moore On Running said...

Great post! My six year old son told me a few months back that if they got in trouble on the playground at recess the teacher made them run laps. I had a real problem with this. They were teaching my kid that running was a punishment. I went to the school and explained this to them and they agreed (can you imagine). Anyway, they are now taking a much more positive stance on running and it is a reward to get to go out to run (my son loves it, some of the older kids have not been converted yet). My last post was about a run I did with my son.

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