Birthday Cake Ban

I hate being one of those crotchety old people who hears a story, shakes his head in disgust, and says, “When I was a kid…”

grumpy-old-man-with-caneYet, I find myself in that position (hopefully I am not crotchety however).

“When I was a kid…” I don’t remember parents bringing birthday cakes or cupcakes to classrooms. I just don’t think it was done way back then; maybe they melted on the stagecoach ride over. Who knows? Yet, times change and it appears to be standard operating behavior for parents to do so nowadays — that is, unless you reside in Northern Kentucky.

Burlington Elementary School in the Bluegrass State revised its wellness policy.

The end result is a ban on food for school birthday celebrations. We’re not just talking about cakes; rather — in the interest of promoting healthier food choices — ALL other snacks are now verboten. Non-food “treats” such as pencils, balloons, erasers and book-marks are suggested. (“Happy birthday Johnny, now blow out your bookmark!”)

The intention is laudable; they’re actually doing some-thing to combat the ever-burgeoning obesity crisis and attempting to shift the focus of celebrations away from food. Good on them for that. And there are indeed health concerns involving food allergies; not to mention, I imagine it’s purt’ near impossible to school a child redlining on a sugar buzz.

Yet I have concerns.

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Twenty Years at Goal Weight

man-in-diapersI entered the planet at nine pounds 14 ounces.

Assuming that to be normal, thirty years later, as a newly minted father, I panicked when the doctor informed me that my firstborn weighed six pounds six ounces.

Looking me in the eye, attempting to calm my jitters, he replied, “Six-six is normal. I promise he’s fine.”

“But I weighed ten pounds when I was born!” I protested.

“I can’t help it if you were cruel to your mother,” he replied.

Moral of the story: I was born big, and from that moment, packed on the pounds, tipping the scales at ten pounds for every year.

To explain, I weighed 50 pounds at age five, 90 pounds at age nine, and 130 pounds when I was a teen. From there, I accelerated, reaching 230 upon entering high school — poor timing to say the least. Of the 1107 students in my class, I was the second fattest. Further putting this in perspective, that was in the day when childhood obesity was an oddity, rather than unfortunately as it can be today, quite common.

Kids are brutal, so what were supposed to be some of my best years were anything but. Girls ignored me; guys badgered and bullied me.

Physical education was the lowest of the low.

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Age Appropriate

A few months ago, I lamented the fact that I would soon be turning 60.

father-timeWell, try as I might to deny the inevitable, September 28 has arrived.

I am now officially entering my seventh decade.

Also, as I mentioned, I grok that there are people looking at 60 in their rear view mirrors, most likely shaking their heads, thinking, “Come on Scott. Get over it!” Yet, I remind these naysayers that this is the oldest I’ve ever been. My wife, in attempt to be supportive I presume, has been espousing, “Remember, today is the youngest you’ll be for the remainder of your life.”

Hmmm… I don’t know whether that’s comforting or not. But, what can I say; she’s a child in her fifties. She’ll learn.

So, I went to the doctor for a check up. They checked my weight (“You’re lost a few pounds since last year.” Yay!) and blood pressure (“We need to watch that.” Sigh…)

Then came my height.

I’m going to be vulnerable here so be gentle with your judgment, okay? Most of my adult life, I’ve lied about my height, insisting I’m a towering 5’ 9” when I’m actually a diminutive 5’ 8”. One might rightly wonder why that extra inch matters so much to my obviously frail psyche — and that’s a fair question. Yet, the honest reply is I haven’t a clue. Maybe it’s a guy thing, who knows? Anyway, of late, with newfound maturity, I’ve finally come to grips with the reality that major league basketball is not going to come calling and have accepted my actual stature.

So, it’s one of nature’s practical jokes that I find out I’ve shriveled to five-seven and a half! [Read more...]

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Shocking Development in Behavior Change

According to a university study, approximately 40 percent of our daily actions are habits; unconscious routines we do by rote.

Asleepwalking-mant first, I had trouble believing that. Yet, consider a typical day. Unless it’s an unusual occasion, such as vacation or maybe weekends; you wake up at approximately the same time. You are either a “breakfast eater” or you’re not; habit number one. Should you be of the former category, your morning repast will consist of the same basic items it does every other morning, despite the fact that the average grocery store offers over 40,000 choices from which you can choose.

If you commute to your job, you depart at the same time, most likely down to the minute, traveling the same roads, arriving at the same location, even parking in the same space. Upon arriving, you greet co-workers with the same banter, perform the same tasks, take lunch at the same time (at the usual restaurants), order the same meals, and head home at your regular time.

Yet, that’s not all.

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Double Standards Anyone?

Recently, a male “news” commentator on a national “news” network was referencing Michelle Obama’s cause about better childhood nutrition and made a rather insulting remark — while sitting on a couch surrounded by four women no less. One of the female panelists berated Mrs. Obama’s initiative saying, we don’t need “the federal government projecting these standards upon us.”

The man augmented her opinion with,

“How well could she be eating? She needs to drop a few.” After a shocked reaction from the women, he went on, “No, let’s be honest…who are we taking nutrition advice from? There’s no french fries happening? That’s all kale and carrots? I don’t buy it.”

Okay, where to begin? Step one; reassemble my exploded head.

I’ve said before, and will most likely have opportunity to say again, that I don’t get the thing about putting down the First Lady’s attempt to make our next generation healthier. Sugar is still as aplenty as sand in the desert and shadowy men wearing trench coats do not yet sell chocolate candy in dark alleys. Can we have a reality check? Our kids are getting fatter; it’s undeniable. Something has to be done and whether your like her or not, the First Lady has propelled the conversation into the spotlight so that unto its own is already a success. You don’t like her ideas? That’s fine. Step to the plate and come up with something else, but we need to adjust the vector of this country’s future health, and we need to do it yesterday. All hands on deck.

Additionally, if hypocrisy were water, he’d drown.

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