It’s that time of year again. The time when my enthusiastic New Year’s resolutions dwindle down to standing in the kitchen debating between cheesecake and a grapefruit.
It’s cold outside and a polar bear layer of hibernation fat doesn’t seem like such a bad idea anymore. I’ve considered the work wellness programs and weekly Jenny Craig Weigh-ins. Blood work that can prove that my cholesterol levels are in check will save us 10 bucks on our monthly health insurance premiums (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.
I’ve no trouble finding diet ideas. Just have to pick which one. It’s either an overload on meat or no meat at all. Eat a boat load of fruit, but skip the bread. Where’s the balance? This is a common predicament says my friend the personal trainer. He tells me he sees two types of people, the exercise addict and the couch potato, and he swears they are equally unhealthy. The exercise addicts run their bodies into the ground while the couch potatoes struggle to climb a flight of stairs.
I know the strenuous exercise game. I used to wake early every morning to hit the treadmill before waking my daughter for school. I pounded out my frustrations step-by-step as I jammed to the tunes on my iPod (remember those?). I ran like I was out to kill somebody. Who’d have thought that the person I was killing was me? My choices seemed to be either run until the sweat stung in my eyes or light a cigarette. I was making the healthy choice, I thought. Everything I read said the key to stress relief was more exercise and I liked the impact of a good run. Then one day I woke to find my knee looking like a big mushy grapefruit. Hey! They say you are what you eat. Now what? I couldn’t run. Good grief, I could barely walk so I ended up in surgery.
I struggled to find balance. I’ve read 25 different opinions on what the word “wellness” really means. Mostly I learned that skinny doesn’t necessarily mean healthy and chubby doesn’t always mean unhealthy. Also that instant gratification is the American credo. Especially where vanity is concerned. 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 corporate likes the money saved on insurance premiums, I’m sure. But let’s strive for a little balance this year, shall we? Let’s pace ourselves as we implement our New Year’s resolutions. Let’s take a deep breath and look for ways to relieve stress without blowing out our knees or polluting our lungs. Let’s motivate ourselves with workplace perks and order those fancy coffee drinks “skinny” made sugar free with skim milk.
What’s that you ask, barista? Do I want that skinny mocha latte with whipped cream? Of course I do. Because that, my friends, is what I call balance.
— Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a writer, wife and mom of three kids whose ages span two decades. She contributes regularly to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Education and Family Roundtable,and her work has appeared in The New York Times; Cincinnati Enquirer; Brain, Child Magazine; Scary Mommy and more. Her Cincinnati Family Magazine mom blog earned Best Overall Blog in the 2017 Ohio Society of Professional Journalists Awards. Bonnie is also the communications director of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @writerBonnie or on her website at WriterBonnie.com.