Can You Have Both a Fun and Long Life?
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Can You Have Both a Fun and Long Life?

You can have your cake, and eat it, too, as long as you don't eat too much!

The average American has been repeatedly described as overweight and out of shape. It is anyone's guess where this cultural tradition of foot-long mayonnaise-slathered hot dogs, gigantic late-evening dinners, plus-size clothing, and disproportionate levels of heart attacks came from, but every expert asserts that this entirely-preventable situation is at a critical level.

Lack of will or even stubbornness is behind many weight problems. Statistics report over 30 million thyroid conditions in the United States (a commonly-cited reason for inability to lose weight), but many of these conditions do not affest weight, and many of those that do are often caused by becoming overweight in the first place! Even this does not explain the remaining approximate 130 million overweight and 80 million obese Americans (the 130 million includes obese people).

Simply put, weight control is a sacrifice. On 30AUG2010, I was doing an Ability Group Run (AGR) when another runner moved up to challenge me for the lead. I can run two miles in well under 12 minutes, and though I eventually beat out this runner, I found out that he was 42 years old! (I was 23 at the time of this publication). Though not all of us can be in extreme physical condition, 2LT Livingston of Transportation Class 10-005 at ALU serves as an example that nobody ever has an excuse to not maintain their body.

Though I am a moderately fast runner, my body is subject to the same basic rules as any other: calories consumed minus calories burned equals calories stored. In fact, near the end of college, I ceased running cross country, and my weight shot up from 143 to 157. What is the key to avoiding this nightmare? We have to go back to the basics: diet and exercise.

Being healthy is about making sacrifices and changing your daily choices. Do you really need mayonnaise, ranch, bacon, cheese, or thousand island on that already-decadent cheeseburger? Do you need the burger at all? Do you need fries and a half gallon of soda? Do you need a large breakfast? For every question but the last, the answer is no; having a large breakfast, however, is actually good for you.

There is a direct correlation between what we eat and the health of our bodies. Even those that fill themselves up with garbage and seem to suffer no ill effects are in fact setting themselves up for long-term failure. Heart risks are exacerbated not only by weight, but by cholesterol and other insoluble compounds that degrade cardiovascular health over time.

So, what's the concept? Make changes to improve your lifestyle. The best eating advice I ever received was from Lord WIlliam, a gentleman from Scotland in whose castle I stayed. He said, "Eat like a king for breakfast, like the middle class for dinner (lunch), and like a pauper for supper (dinner). Lord William was nearly 90 at the time of this writing, and he still swims a half mile every morning. His advice is echoed by none other than John D. Rockefeller, the oil legend who made it to 97 by following his own suggestion of getting up from the dinner table "a little hungry." Also important is to find some form of exercise that works well for your body, and you will extend both the length and quality of your life.

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Comments (2)
Ranked #80 in Healthy Living

Sure you can both have fun and live a long life--depending on what your fun is. Neither couch potatoes nor daredevils seem to have the right fun. My parents, on the other hand, are both in their late 80s and having a ball. They exercise, watch their diet, and enjoy being helpful to others.

Yes, I think "fun" is a mind-set, as David suggested. The more a person eats healthy and gets some form of excercise (through sports and leisure), the more these things become enjoyable.