Whales have really been news-makers lately. The orcas at SeaWorld have been liberated after much consternation and agitation by animal rights group – or at least no more will be added to the group and those living there will no longer perform. We're all getting a media lesson on why they can't be released into the wild.
When I lived in Florida several years ago, part of the seasonal rhythm was seeing a blimp traveling slowly a few miles off-shore as they tracked the right whales that came south for the season.
But those aren’t the whales I have in mind right now. I’m thinking of human whales, or of humans who see themselves as whale-sized. Everyone I know is complaining about having put on a few – or a lot of – pounds this winter. Now that it’s spring and we’re digging out our lighter clothes, it’s apparent that those pounds are there around the middle. Without flannel shirts or sweatshirts over our mid-sections, we must face the reality of the bathroom scale.
A member of my writing group says we must “embrace our bodies.” Feminists have been saying that for years, but that’s a tall order when we look into the mirror and see ourselves in a shape that’s hard to emotionally embrace. If only we could learn to embrace healthier – not skinny, just healthier – bodies.
As adults we are setting patterns for our children. As a grandmother I must be aware that the treats I give should be healthy, as least most of the time, especially with the grandchildren I see most often. I need to do more than holler, “Use the small cups” and “Only two toppings” as we traverse the line at the fro-yo store. And more important, I must set an example for them and not use the big cup myself, metaphorically speaking.
When I attend my grandchildren’s programs, I am appalled to see how overweight many of the children are. Same thing when I go into restaurants – when did we all get so fat? And I’m not talking fast food here, but restaurants where people eat after they’ve made enough money that they must have some sense.
Recently I’ve spent a little time in medical offices and noticed how heavy people are there. I thought, well, maybe patients are patients partly because they eat too much. Then I notice the staff… Are we doomed to have diabetes, heart disease, other diseases because we can’t control our appetites? The numbers of increase in these diseases are frightening and appalling.
So what’s my point here? Enough, people! Unite and set an example, grandparents of the world! There’s not a one of us that doesn’t know what we SHOULD be doing – cutting back on sweets and other carbs, eating more fruits and veggies, getting more exercise, shopping from the perimeters of the grocery store where the healthy stuff is. Or for that matter, doing any one of those things would help. Do we have a collective death wish? Because that’s what we’re doing, eating as lemmings flock, looking over the edge of the cliff. Are we a spineless group, following the crowd? That’s hardly the American mystique. Just lazy? Or what??
Wouldn’t it be nice if we each made just a few little tweaks in our diet and next year the whale season was just about orcas?