Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Living Happy #1: All Things In Moderation

You'll find all the free advice you'll ever need if you are ever foolish enough to let it be known you're trying to drop a few pounds.  Don't eat processed food!  Don't eat sugar!  Stay away from gluten!  Stop eating red meat!  There's this diet, and that diet, and you'll suddenly find yourself surrounded by experts.

I've watched friends and co-workers go on restrictive diets for years, and very often they spend a lot of money on these plans.  And while they're on them, those diet plans take over their lives--they are constantly checking calories, or punching what they eat into their smartphone apps to see how much more they can have that day.  They lose the weight, and they are thrilled.  But we all know what happens.  They gain it back again.  That's because it's not reasonable to believe anybody will be able to stay on such a restrictive regime forever.

That's why I didn't say anything when I decided it was time to do something about my expanding waist.  I lost thirty pounds in about ten months.  I dropped that weight so slowly in fact, that the only people that noticed were the Masons I only see once a year at our annual Grand Lodge meeting.  

You know what I gave up?  Not one single thing.  I didn't go on a diet plan.  I didn't spend hours in the gym.  And it didn't cost me a dime to do it.  Regardless of what Weight Watchers will tell you, losing weight really isn't that hard.  Everybody knows the secret, they just don't want to do it--you simply eat less and exercise more.  I still eat cheeseburgers--just not as often.  I still love ice cream, I just put it in a small bowl when I indulge (apparently a quart should not considered a single serving).  And then there's the beer . . . okay, I'll admit it, I didn't make any changes to the beer ration--are you crazy?   All in all I made very small permanent changes I barely noticed after the first week or so, and over time it made a big difference.  

I've used food to illustrate this point, but it's not just about what we eat.  If you want to be happy, don't deny yourself the things that you enjoy (unless you're a serial killer).  Think moderation instead.  Try to find a balance in everything you do whether it's watching television or working out in the gym.  Both good things and bad things when done to excess can be bad for you.  And a life out of balance isn't generally a happy one.

~Todd E. Creason

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