Monthly Archives: September 2014

“U.S. Waistlines Keep Growing, Women Leading the Way” Oh no you didn’t

Lunch_(41415099)Add a new topic to the list of taboo subjects previously limited to religion and politics. The new topic is women’s waistlines. Mention a woman’s waistline in just about any context, and you’ll get blowback. I’m either insanely brave or suicidal for mentioning this issue. Whoever created the title above (I promise to holy God it was not me) must have no reason to live. I spotted this provocative title on a WebMD article at: http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20140916/us-waistlines-keep-growing-with-women-leading-the-way

Male or female, most people want to be slim. My wife says that if she drinks enough Skinny Girl she will get skinny. The marketing department at Skinny Girl is clearly comprised of clever fellows, or “male pigs” as my wife prefers to call them. But I digress (some might call it stalling). Everybody knows we have a weight problem in America. I won’t bore you with all the usual reasons for the surge in our waistlines. I also won’t bore you with an exegesis of scripture on gluttony. Simply knowing that overeating is an official sin does not stop people from overeating. It is treated as a look-the-other-way sin in the church. After decades in the pew, I do not recall a single sermon on gluttony. Nuff said.

The WebMD article points out that “As baby boomers age, the natural decrease in muscle mass and slowing metabolism leads to more body fat. In addition, given the size of the baby boomer generation, these aging changes will impact statistics.” As a baby boomer, I’ve grown weary of getting blamed for everything wrong in society. Just because we’re the largest demographic doesn’t mean we’re the largest demographic (I crack me up). I find it suspicious that the increase in our corporate waistline corresponds with the legalization of medical and recreational pot in several states. In other words, maybe it was the munchies that tipped the scales (metaphors are everywhere in this irreverent blog) in the recent stats on our weight. If so, women must be getting high and hitting the refrigerator more often than men (who are apparently too lethargic to get off the couch despite those confounded munchies).

I know a guy who lost a ton of weight (sorry, couldn’t help myself) when he cut beer out of his diet. Eliminating or reducing alcohol consumption is one way to lose weight without going on a drastic diet (though some would consider the elimination of alcohol a drastic diet). All I know is that when my wife asks if her new jeans make her butt look big, I go to the refrigerator and pour her a glass of Skinny Girl.

Do I have a serious point regarding this issue? Yes, most of us boomers will never look like Chris Hemsworth or Scarlett Johansson, but we can keep active. Doctors confirm that a healthy diet plus moderate physical activity is the secret to controlling weight and longer life. It also improves quality of life. It isn’t necessary to work out intensely for two hours a day and live on raw vegetables. The experts say 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity has tremendous benefits towards good health and longevity. That’s good to know, but I try to avoid thinking of it in terms of a minimum number of minutes a day. Instead, it is better to make physical activity and healthy food choices a lifestyle to be experienced and enjoyed (no, I’m not joking). Success depends on discovering the right type of physical activity for you. I love the solitude of running and hiking in nature. Others are drawn to team sports. Still others find their niche in swimming or surfing. Perhaps you love cycling (your Harley doesn’t count) and spandex shorts. Somewhere in your soul resides a love for a certain type of physical activity. You may be one of the few blessed to have a job you love that also keeps you physically active. Trying to nurture a physically active lifestyle doing something you loathe is futile.

At the boomer stage of life, the desire for a slimmer waistline for appearance sake begins to fade. Proper diet and exercise becomes more about health and less about aesthetics. It’s a good time of life to stop taking ourselves too seriously and enjoy the experience of physical activity and healthy food.

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As technology is my witness: So says Ray Rice

800px-Security_cameras_7_count_birmingham_new_street_stationRecently a story about hackers gaining access to electronic photos of nude celebrities really rattled me. What, after all, would I do if hackers gained access to my electronic photos? I’d hate for pictures of my glorious naked body to go public. Wait, I don’t have any photos of my glorious naked body. Nobody does (except those lascivious TSA agents at the airport). But seriously, many people blamed Apple and the hackers as the bad guys in this incident. Granted, quite a few people blamed the celebrities for taking and storing naked pictures of themselves. Wherever you point the finger of shame and blame, it can’t be denied that technology is revealing unsavory human behavior that heretofore remained mostly hidden.

When the public saw the elevator video of NFL football player Ray Rice knocking his girlfriend out with a brutal punch, the finger pointing went viral. Fortunately I have heard nobody condone Rice’s punch heard around the world. Rice’s punch in no way resembled those old comic images of Ralph Kramden flashing his fist and threatening “To the moon, Alice.” Domestic violence is a serious issue that deserves attention. Yet during the brouhaha over the Rice video I noticed the following statement by Christopher L. Gasper in the Boston Globe:

“The coaches, the general managers, the owners, the commissioner don’t really want to know what malice their players are capable of off the field, as long as they’re producing for them.”

Many fans feel the same way. In fact, I’ve heard some NFL fans decry Rice’s domestic violence and in the same breath the NFL for policing the morality of its players off the field. Leave issues of vice and criminality to the police, they say. Indeed, some NFL teams have taken this stance. But leaders of the NFL want to maintain the image of professional football as the clean cut all-American game (though some of the players have redefined clean cut). The NFL wants football to remain something for the entire family to watch. And what a splendid job the NFL has done with its image. Why, even NFL cheerleaders look like the girls you’d see at choir practice.

Sarcasm aside, aren’t most of us guilty of looking the other way when it comes to human flaws in the purveyors of our preferred entertainment? And yet in this brave new world of diminishing privacy it will grow increasingly difficult to look the other way. Technology’s prying eyes are a disconcerting reminder that even though much has been gained through technology, much has been lost. Specifically, we can no longer take privacy for granted. On the positive side, it will be more difficult to lie and keep our secrets. As the Good Book says, “. . . your sin will find you out.” Technology giveth and technology taketh away.

As an endangered species (a male homosapien who cares little for professional sports) I find myself pondering how adults can believe that issues of unchecked immorality won’t eventually infect the performance of even the most gifted athletes and celebrities. Sin resists compartmentalization in our life. It wants to spread like a virus. Genesis 4:7 warns us that sin waits at the door ready to strike. We don’t get to tell sin it can wait by some doors in our life but not others, such as the door to our career where our performance is excellent. That’s vanity. The destructive nature of sin seeks out areas where it can wreak the most damage. The only antidote is confession, repentance, and Christ.

So, to all those fans who just want entertainment without questions of morality muddying the waters: good luck with that.