Opinion: Finding the balance in health and wellness
by Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
Wednesday April 15, 2009, 8:00 AM
FeldkampIt's that time of year again. It's the time when enthusiastic New Year's resolutions of January have dwindled down to standing in the kitchen debating between cheesecake and a grapefruit.
We're considering the work wellness programs and the weekly Jenny Craig weigh-ins. Blood work with a low cholesterol reading will save you $5 on your monthly health insurance premium, according to corporate. Yes, it's all very enticing. But at 10 p.m., I'm up against the Moose Tracks in the freezer that the kids couldn't go without.
The articles online boggle my brain. No worries trying to find diet ideas. Just pick your favorite one. It's either an overload on meat or no meat at all. Eat a boatload of fruit, but skip the bread.
Where's the balance?
This is a common predicament, says my friend Patrick Smith. He's a personal trainer. He tells me that he sees two types of people, the exercise addict and the couch potato. He says they are equally unhealthy. The exercise addict runs their body into the ground, and the couch potato will gasp their way up a flight of stairs.
I know that game. I used to rise early every morning to hit the treadmill before waking my daughter for school. My frustrations were pounded out step by step as I jammed to the tunes on my iPod. I ran like I was out to kill somebody.
Who'd have thought the person I was killing was me?
Everything I read said the key to stress relief was more exercise. On stressful days my choices were run until the sweat stung in my eyes or down a shot of whiskey after the school bus drove away with my kid. I was making the healthy choice, I thought.
I liked the impact of a good run, until I woke one day to my knee looking like a big mushy grapefruit. Hey, they say you are what you eat. Now what? I can't run ... good grief, I can barely walk.
I struggled to find balance. I read 25 different opinions on what the word "wellness" really means. Skinny doesn't necessarily mean healthy, and chubby doesn't always mean unhealthy.
Sigh. Instant gratification is the American creed. The Internet is plastered with weight-loss gimmicks for the 30-second attention span of the cyberspace surfer.
Employers seem to care. They want their employees to stick around a little longer, and the capitalist mentality of corporate likes the money saved on insurance premiums, I'm sure. Alabama went so far as to introduce the "fat tax" and workplace weigh-ins.
So let's balance, shall we? Let's pace ourselves as we continue on with our New Year's resolutions. Take a deep breath and look for ways to relieve stress and be well, without blowing out knees.
Motivate yourself with work-place perks, and when you hit the Biggby's drive-thru, order that mocha latte "skinny, skinny," made sugar free with skim.
Do I want that mocha with whip? Of course I do.
That, my friends, is what I call balance.
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is executive director of the Richland Area Community Center