Two New eBooks at Amazon Kindle!

FacebookMySpaceTwitterDiggDeliciousStumbleuponRSS Feed

Most Americans are taking some kind of drug daily, ones that improve the quality of or even save our lives, so the issue is not drugs per se but what kind of drugs? Are we addicted and has chemistry become a substitute for spirituality in our lives?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #40 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Opioid abuse is now a national epidemic, more lethal than the worst diseases.

“Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant and that work in the brain to produce a variety of effects, including the relief of pain with many of these drugs. Opioids can be prescription medications often referred to as painkillers, or they can be so-called street drugs, such as heroin.”

America is now the most medicated country in the world, and we apparently possess an insatiable appetite for opioid medications, legal prescriptions or illegal synthetics on the street. For example, one in four American women are taking some form of psychiatric medication, chemical treatment for depression, anxiety, ADHD or other mental disorder. One in six in the general population.

These drugs “don’t just relieve pain and worry, they produce psychic euphoria, a sense that the rest of the world has slipped away, especially when abused—perpetuating the potential for addiction.”

So, drugs become a way to cope, to manage the stresses of life, some of which are unavoidable—just life in the real world—but many stresses and anxieties are rooted in how Americans choose to live their lives: our overdrive toward financial success, overwork, insufficient rest, lack of a sense of community found in family or church, little perspective on why we do what we do, perspective traditionally found in religious worship now increasingly tossed aside. 

In other words, we create our perceived need for artificial chemical support

We damage the body, which Scripture calls a temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16-17), we lose control and subject ourselves to influences like the seven deadly sins, we place our health and spiritual wellbeing at risk (Col. 3:17), and much more even unto death.

These deaths of course include junkies as portrayed on TV crime shows, down and out people who’ve lived on the dark side for years. But these deaths also include your neighbors in brightly painted suburbs, people behind the white picket fences who live what might be called “respectable” lives.

“Many people who take opiates find that they need the drug just to feel normal, rather than to relieve pain. Tolerance does not necessarily mean that addiction will occur, but it makes addiction more likely.”

The opioid fentanyl poses an exceptionally high overdose risk due to having an extremely unpredictable fatal dosage when mixed with other drugs. 

“Starting around 2013, fentanyl disrupted the North American market for illegal drugs, capitalizing on pre-existing demand for opiates such as heroin and prescription pharmaceuticals. In 2016, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues were the most common cause of overdose deaths in the United States at more than 20,000, about half of all opioid-related deaths.”

Compared to heroin, it is more potent, has higher profit margins, and, because it is compact, has simpler logistics. It can be cut into, or even replace entirely, the supply of heroin and other opiates...As of 2018, fentanyl was the most commonly listed opioid in overdose drug deaths, surpassing heroin.”

“More adults between 18 and 45 died of fentanyl overdoses in 2020 than any other leading cause of death, including COVID-19, motor vehicle accidents, cancer and suicide. Fentanyl also killed more Americans in general in 2020 than car accidents, gun violence, breast cancer and suicide, according to the analysis of CDC data from Families Against Fentanyl. Fentanyl deaths doubled from 32,754 fatalities to 64,178 fatalities in two years between April 2019 and April 2021.”

“Opioid dependence in America doesn’t discriminate; it just infects. Transcending geography, class and religion, it’s ravaging a generation, claiming lives by way of both addiction and death.”

But with all this, when was the last time you heard a sermon, or even a reference in the pulpit, to opioids? If your answer is, I can’t remember, then that’s evidence of part of the challenge from a Christian point of view. Some churches are doing good work on this, but much of the Body of Christ is not as active as we could be. Overwhelmed perhaps by so many problems, dealing with people willingly putting drugs into their bodies, especially prescription medicines, may not seem as urgent.

But the Church needs to share “Thus saith the Lord” in terms of where individuals look for peace and solace, emotional reinforcement, even relief from physical pain.

By the way, I’m not suggesting individuals who take pain medications are doing something wrong. Far from it. I understand that legitimate treatment for a host of physical or emotional afflictions can be enormously important and helpful. And I believe God enabled humanity to learn from and develop remedies from his created order, medications we can use to bless people’s lives.

But the statistics clearly indicate that many people are doing more than this. 

They’re attempting to drown their troubles with various opioids, rather than seeking respite in the Spirit of God. Instead of seeking first the kingdom of God, they hope for better living through chemistry. This includes drug addicts for sure, but it may also include millions using drugs like opioids to deaden their sense of agitation, loss, defeat, despair, gut-wrenching sorrow, or absence of hope. It’s substance abuse just like alcoholism, though this abuse uses pills.

We’re told that what addicts need most are meaningful relationships with people who are there and who care. This, the Church can provide, but it will take understanding, commitment, time, and money. The Church can support individuals struggling with opioid dependency by helping them identify the root of the problem. What caused the need? For Christians this means looking honestly at the heart.

If we are prolife, as I believe Christians should be, then we must be prolife holistically or comprehensively, meaning in every way. We are indeed responsible to help those who cannot help themselves.

So, I recommend pastors delve into this issue. Pastors don’t have to become a doctor or psychologist, just a shepherd applying a Christian worldview and biblical teaching to a real-world contemporary issue.

And I recommend the rest of us work to learn more about the current opioid crisis in America, that we discover how our church might reinforce both prevention and recovery, and that we try to discern what part we might play in aiding those who need our assistance.

Physician Matthew Loftus wrote in his Christianity Today article, “if addiction is even remotely an issue of misplaced affection, then for Christians, the gospel is the only suitable starting point. ‘All people—addicts in particular—are called to start with the gospel that satisfies our hunger, trusting in God’s love for us and repenting of our sin.’”

“Many people recover without trusting in Christ, yes, but those who are grasped by the gospel have a significant head start in sorting out the ‘hierarchy of loves’ as they untangle the particular ways in which sin has created strongholds in their lives.”

In 1 Thess. 5:14, the Apostle Paul reminded us, “we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”

The opioid crisis is a national emergency. The question remains how the Church will meet the challenge.

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.  

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

If you look under “healthcare” in the dictionary you’ll probably see the word “expensive,” so wouldn’t it be great to identify some healthcare steps that make for a healthy body, mind, andbank account?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #13 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Healthcare is a long way from what our forebears endured during the 1800s and earlier. Thankfully, we no longer use leeches to suck out poison, understand germs, 

recognize the importance of hygiene, and have developed a vast array of medicines and medical technology that improve the quality and often the longevity of our lives.

But with this advancement has also come increasing costs—for the meds and med tech but also for health and medical insurance to helps us pay the bills. Consequently, some argue the government should do more, then do more again, taking care of us with socialized healthcare programs that too often trade benefits for liberties.

But take heart, there are costfree healthcare steps we can choose. We shared a few of these steps in the last podcast episode, “Costfree Healthcare 1,” so here we go with “Costfree Healtcare 2.”

What can we do for little or no cost that will improve our health?

  1. Avoid Narcotics.53 million Americans, or 19.4% of people 12 and over, used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last year. Remember the commercial: “This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs”? Sizzling fried egg. Actually, that commercial understated the problem. Hard drugs debilitate not only the brain but every part of a substance abuser’s life. “Using” is unwise, illegal, and unhealthy. 
  1. Don’t Abuse Alcohol.If alcohol and tobacco are included, 165 million or 60.2% or of Americans aged 12 years or older currently abuse drugs and alcoho Alcohol abuse slows reflexes, impairs mental processes, increases the risk of several diseases, and often leads to alcohol dependence. It’s not called “Getting hammered” for nothing.
  1. Develop a HobbyHobbies typically involve collecting, accomplishing, enriching, learning, expressing, developing, preserving. Part of the fun is that we don’t have todo these things. The very “unnecessary” character of many hobbies is evidence of the creative talent we possess as imago Dei, beings made in the image of God. The capacity to develop, arrange, or make is a form of investing ourselves and our values in the Created Order. It’s a God thing, which raises our quality of life.
  1. Forgive.The man or woman who does not forgive is the man or woman who is hurt in perpetuity, embittered, and enslaved. Meanwhile, the unforgiven often go on unscathed. Jesus commanded us to forgive “not seven times, but seventy-seven times,” i.e., unto infinity if necessary (Matt. 18:22). Forgiving doesn’t exonerate another; God still brings things to account. Forgiving is a divinely enabled act that releases us. You probably know someone who hasn’t forgiven a parent dead for 25 years. Sad. Unforgiveness is a cancer of the soul. I can’t prove it, but I think unforgiveness is the number one sin in the Christian Church.
  1. Avoid Sex Outside Marriage.“Friends with benefits” is a hip phrase communicating the general moral state of our culture. It denotes unmarried friends who have sex-sans-commitment whenever they’re inclined. But sex outside marriage is neither as casual nor as inconsequential as commonly believed. On the contrary, certain pathologies form a scary list of direct and indirect consequences: STDs, unwanted pregnancies and sometimes abortions, broken marriages, and additional psychological, spiritual, and physical forms of duress that can last a lifetime.  

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends.

  1. Serve Others.If you’re feeling depressed, down in the mouth, or logy, focus upon someone else’s problems. Then help them. It’s amazing what “Love one another” does to one’s perspective, feelings, and even actual circumstances.
  1. Don’t Speed.From our youth we’ve heard “Speed Kills.” It does.
  1. Get Married.I’m hard-pressed to argue this one is costfree, but researchers have repeatedly made the case that married people are healthier and tend to live longer than unmarried people. It seems God knew what he was doing when he said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). Of course, women have always known that men would make a mess of things if left to their own devices.
  1. Get a Pet.Again, not sure this is truly costfree, but with the dividends the costs are minimal and worth it. People who own pets live longer, healthier lives. It’s called pet therapy. Go figure.

Our Brownie the Beagle has a philosophy, a consistent one:

--If I say, I’m really stressed…Brownie says, “Let’s go for a walk.”

--Me: Such and such happened and it’s a bummer…Brownie: “Let’s go for a walk.”

--Me: My favorite team lost…Brownie: “Let’s go for a walk.”

--Me: The world is ending as we know it…Brownie: “Let’s go for a walk.”

Moral of the story: If you need near costfree healthcare, get a dog or other pet. Pets are less expensive than Peloton or gym memberships, and they ask very few questions about our problems. They focus on “joie de vivre” – the joy of life.

Costfree healthcare is in our grasp, just a choice or two away. Live without self-induced health problems. Live longer. Deciding to live healthy is a matter of God honoring stewardship. 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022    

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

With the cost of health and medical insurance continuing to go through the roof, wouldn’t it be great to find healthcare that didn’t cost us anything?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #12 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Healthcare might be the most contentious compound word in the English language.

Health care, the phrase, only recently became healthcare, the compound concept, a near inevitable progression already recognized by several respected dictionaries.  

In high school, we took a class called Health, which is to say, how to take good care of yourselfNow,healthcare is something government does, or insurance agencies provide for us.    

Whether we think healthcare reform is overdue or overdone, most of us would probably agree it is, and ever will be, overpriced.       

But what if we could enjoy cost-free heathcare—sort of like the citizens of Greece, only for real, with no one else in the E.U. helping pay the bill?     

Maybe cost-free is a phrase that can come to our rescue. We’ll make it compound. Not cost -dash- freebut costfree, a newly evolved word that makes 21st Century sense, to us if not to our grandparents.  

Or is costfree a compound redundancy? If something is costfree, why don’t we just say it’s free? Well, because nothing’s really, free.  

Anything worthwhile costs us something by way of investment of time, talent, or treasure. It’s the accountability God built into the world’s economy so that, despite our continuing efforts to debase ourselves, we cannot run amok forever.  

Eventually, bohemian youth grow up—though among musician rockers there seems to be a lot of bohemian holdovers into advanced age.

Still, everyone, sooner or later, must pay the piper, unless of course we just keep looking to government to take care of us cradle-to-the-grave.

It’s a hard lesson that I’m afraid our country, or at least a lot of our political leaders, have not learned—the idea that, eventually, we must live within their means

But then again, if you’re a duly elected politician of either Party, or you’re an appointed for life or good behavior bureaucrat, when the time comes, you retire and go home. The bill coming due for expansive expenses you created is someone else’s problem. It’s a classic “kick the can down the road” scenario.     

So costfree healthcare makes sense to me. Whatever results from ideologically or partisan-driven political healthcare battles in government, Congress, or state legislatures, we’re not hostage to it.  

We can still do a number of commonsense things for our health.  

We can assume individual responsibility and initiative.  

We don’t have to wait for government or health insurance companies to take these steps. As good stewards of the life God gave us, we can make our own responsible healthcare choices.    

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform.  Download an episode for your friends.

Allow me to share several ways you can enjoy costfree healthcare:

  1. Read the BibleNumerous studies have demonstrated that regular Scripture reading makes a positive, cumulative impact upon spiritual and emotional and, thus, physical well-being. Don’t read it as a fetish or good luck charm but read and apply the Word in your life. God’s Word never returns to him void of impact.
  1. Pray.When I was a kid in Sunday School, teachers told me that reading the Bible is “God talking to us” and praying is “Us talking to God.” Talking to God changes us and bolsters our well-being, no matter how the Lord chooses to respond to our needs and requests.
  1. Attend Church.Researchers have repeatedly found that people who attend religious services one or more times per week live longer, healthier lives. Church provides us with community, meaning, and fellowship, all ingredients of better living.
  1. Exercise.Regular exercise benefits all human systems, respiratory, digestive, muscular, circulatory, everything. Exercise improves moods, reduces stress, re-energizes energy, maintains weight, purifies skin, enhances sleep. Even just walk—walkers live longer, enjoy better mental acuity, experience lower incidences of disease, age more slowly, reduce risk of catching colds, and more. You don’t have to compete for the Olympics. Just get a step counter app. Walking just 30 minutes per day reaps rewards. It’s impossible to overstate the positive impact of exercise upon our health. Put another way: “Couch potatoes are less healthy potatoes.”
  1. Eat BetterWe are what we eat. Poor diet, poor health. Better diet, better health.
  1. Lose WeightSome 73% of Americans are overweight or obese.The US spends more per person treating obesity than any other economically advanced country. Presently, overweight issues are at 14% of the country’s total annual healthcare expenditure. Obesity accounts for overtwo-thirds of all diabetes treatment costsabout a quarter of treatment for cardiovascular issues, and 9% for cancer. The moral of the story: burn calories, reduce pounds.
  1. Quit Smoking. Walking away from smoking is an act of liberation. A one-pack-per-day smoker spends about $2,292 per year on the habit. Quit smoking and you liberate your pocketbook from daily loss, from higher insurance costs and, believe it or not, from lower resale value on your cars. Quitting liberates you from higher probabilities of heart disease, lung or throat cancer, and other diseases. The first question I’m asked at the Doctor’s office, after my birthdate, is do you smoke? Why is that?
  1. Get SleepAdequate sleep recharges the body, protects the heart, may increase memory, and generates a long list of other benefits.  
  1. Get RestSleep and rest are different. You can be caught up on sleep but still be going full tilt, non-stop, gung-ho in the rat race…over prolonged periods. This is a recipe for myriad health problems. We need rest and relaxation = R&R. God created the world in six days then rested on the seventh. He didn’t rest because he was tired. He rested to enjoy what he’d done. Rest need not be synonymous with doing nothing, though this can be beneficial too. Rest can be recreation, or re-creation. Rest revives, restores, rejuvenates. Rest is detachment from the norm. Jesus combined rest with prayer, drawing away to the mountains, the water, or the Garden of Gethsemane. Rest is best when it reinvigorates the soul.

There are more healthcare measures that arguably don’t cost us a dime. I’ll share those with you in the next podcast. I commend costfree healthcare to you. It’s eminently affordable.

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022    

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

 

Want to lose weight? Just try my foolproof Say What? Diet. It works every time.

Say what?

That’s right, you don’t need to buy expensive diet books.

Say what?

You don’t need to purchase even more expensive fitness machines.

Say what?

You don’t have to join time-consuming, maybe costly workout clubs or organizations.

Say what?

You don’t need to enroll in a One-Size-Fits-All-Diet endorsed by a Super Model who at this point in her life has never used this diet.

Say what?

You need not pore over calorie and carbohydrates books, learn enough chemistry to qualify for a degree, or memorize 20 skinny habits.

Say what?

That’s right, you don’t have to do all those things. You just need to do two things, consistently and correctly, every day.

Say what? This can’t be true.

Oh but it is. Are you ready? Here’re the two principles defining the Say What? Diet:

1 – EAT RIGHT.

Notice I didn’t say Eat Less. You can eat less and still not lose weight if you’re eating the wrong foods. Later, after you learn to eat right, eating less is a good portion-distortion-reducer, but to get started, just learn to eat right.

As I noted above, I don’t believe in finding the one super diet that works for all human beings and bodies. I believe in finding the diet that works for your body. Find the diet that works. What’s that you say? “Works” means the diet that helps you lose weight in a healthy manner. So find that diet and EAT Right, everyday, every meal. 

2 – EXERCISE RIGHT.

Very few human beings can lose weight consistently—unless they’re ill—without exercise. To lose weight you need to Exercise Right. This means, like the diet, finding the type of exercise, the routine, the amount of time, and the intensity that works for you. What’s that “works” thing again? Finding the exercise that helps you lose weight. If your exercise doesn’t help you lose weight all you’re getting out of it is weariness.

Exercise in a manner that “fits” you. I’m not a jogger or runner. Never have been and never will be. I don’t possess the endurance and I don’t like it. I do like to walk and I like to bicycle even more. When I walk or bicycle “enough” I create enough burn, crank up the metabolism, and lose weight (that is, when I’m also eating right). You discover what works for you. Then do it.

From time to time your body will hit what I call a plateau. You stick on a number on the scale and can’t seem to get past it. This is normal. Ways I break through the plateau include: 1) Eat not just right but significantly less for a day or two. Or, 2) Exercise not just right but significantly more for a day or two. Either one or both generally does the trick.

Dieting is a multi-billion dollar business primarily because people are looking for and willing to buy what might be the “Fountain of Thin” or the “Brass Skinny Ring” or the “Silver Weight Loss Bullet.” In other words, they’re looking for magic short cuts or fancy formulas.

You don’t need all that.

Say what?

Try my Say What? Diet and see for yourself.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

 

Dreamers Dream and Dieters Diet. It’s a hard truth for some, but it’s a truism nonetheless.

I’ve said before, Dreamers Dream and Writers Write, or Dreamers Dream and Doers Do. Yes, you can dream all you want but until you write, until you do, no new story is formed.

Same principles and process in dieting. This is why I say dieting and writing have a lot in common.

First, Desire is important. If you don’t really want to write a book or lose weight you clearly never will. So desire is essential. But is it enough? No it is not. To borrow a scientific phrase, desire is necessary but not sufficient.

Whether you want to consider desire and dreaming the same thing is up to you. But I think a case can be made that they’re different. Desire is a want. Dreaming is the creation of structures for the want. Desire is aspiration. Dreaming is inspiration.

Second then, for me, is the Dream. It’s conceiving, birthing ideas about what a book, or what we in a mirror, look like. But is dreaming enough? No it is not. This is thinking about writing, thinking about dieting, thinking about doing. But dreaming involves no action. The world has no lack of dreamers. It’s doers, whether writing or dieting, we need.

Third is Decision. Our desire is so strong, our dream so compelling, that we must, we absolutely must decide to take action. No decision? We keep dreaming but never achieving. No, now we decide. We begin. But beginning, difficult though it is for many, is not enough either. Multitudes begin a marathon but few finish the race. We need something else.

Fourth, Drive is both the engine and transmission wrapped in one ongoing resolve. It’s commitment to one’s decision, hazards be hanged and come what may. Drive brooks no slacking off, no dalliance, no cheating, nothing short of being totally in the zone. Drive is based upon our own sense of honor. We have the desire. We dream of success. We decide to take action. We now drive to the finish line because we cannot abide anything less.

Fifth, Doing is the all-important final ingredient. We don’t just begin we continue. We’re not involved in an act but acting. We get the job done, day in and day out. We stick by the stuff.

Writing and dieting, I think, are amazingly similar, at least in terms of process. We Desire, then Dream, and finally if we reach down inside ourselves we Decide. And oh then there’s that undeniable Drive to Do.

Here’s the final secret: The more we Do the more it feeds our Drive to keep Doing.

 That’s the writing process for me. That’s dieting for me. No question the process is work, but the good news is the process works.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

When I see an especially large person I feel for them. I can’t help but think there’s a thin person inside wanting to get out.

I know this admission opens me to charges that I’m prejudiced or biased or immature or discriminatory or worse. But I honestly don’t look upon large people in a negative way. As I said, I feel for them. I wonder sometimes what they’d do differently or how they’d act differently if they could regain their thinner person of yesteryear. This is one reason I like NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” This program doesn’t make fun of people like other reality shows. It helps people.

Obesity is now rivaling tobacco, we’re told, as the number one preventable health problem facing Americans. Obesity, not just the clinical definition thereof, but people whose weight problem goes way past that the percentage of body fat considered mismatched with ones age and height. Americans have a problem, a big one. No pun intended.

Some 64% of Americans adults are considered overweight, 33% of those in the obese category. If that’s not enough, about 15% of kids 6-19 years are overweight. This puts us at much higher risk of cancer. Yet health professionals tell us we could cut our cancer risks in half simply be avoiding smoking, eating plenty of fruits and veggies with a lower fat diet, and—wait for it—exercising regularly. Not rocket science but equally powerful.

I know not everyone who is large or even obese is in this condition because of poor lifestyle choices. Some people indeed have medical problems that result in weight gain.

But for most of us, this is not the case. For most of us our weight is what we choose it to be. Or at least it’s a result of our choices—what we eat too much and how we exercise or otherwise remain active too little.

It’s also a product of our values, which for many people seem absorbed uncritically from surrounding culture. I travel a great deal, so I see substantial differences in people and restaurant portions by region or country. Travel in my home area of the American Midwest and you’ll see greater numbers of large or obese people than anywhere else in the country.

Go to most American restaurants and you’ll be served platters and drinks so large that by comparison what you purchase in Europe or the Middle East seem dinky rip-offs. But they’re really not. Portion size elsewhere matches what ours used to be. We’re into Super Sizing and Big Gulps about anywhere we go—portion distortion. Even “nicer” restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory are noted for their large servings. It’s great. I like it too, but that’s the point, it’s all too easy to like and like often.

Regular exercise is probably more difficult for some of us than eating right. I don’t know, depends upon the personality involved. I frankly catch it in binges, which isn’t good. I’ll exercise regularly, eat right, drop weight, then a few weeks or months later, especially in winter, put the weight back on.

I’ve dieted and lost 30 pounds or more about 5 maybe 6 times in the last 15 years back into my 40s. I’m glad I’ve been able to do this, in part to set an example for three sons who one day will face the same challenge, but this yoyo isn’t the best way to go.

Some of this exercise thing gets back to how the economy and professions have changed. We’re no longer a nation of farmers, woodsmen, and trappers. We’re not what we used to be as a nation of factory workers laboring daily and vigorously in manufacturing plants. We’re mostly office workers, desk jockeys. More of us use minds rather than muscles to earn a living and we’re sedentary while we do it. So work isn’t as calorie-eating as it once was.

Not to get too philosophical about it, but I do think American obesity is tied in with the current cultural zeitgeist, i.e. “spirit of the times.” Americans are into “excess.” We eat more than is healthy, pursue habits that are not good for us, and spend way more than our means. The budgets of every level of American government are also obese. We want more so we spend more. We want to eat so we eat. We try to eat and buy our way to happiness. But it doesn’t work.

So, I’m back on a diet. Don’t like it, but I’m working so it’s working. Pounds are disappearing. This is good, but here’s to committing to sustaining a proper weight and leaving the yoyo behind.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.