Last Christmas, when I took my then nine-year-old daughter to Grannies for our traditional holiday dinner, she was able to sniff out a dish of Hershey kisses in the living room. With my permission, she had a few while the adults yammered on about adult-type things.
"Don't have too many before dinner," I cautioned.
As Granny waddled from the kitchen to ask me to open a jar of marmalade, she reached over and took the dish away, returning it to the kitchen where it would be safely out of reach. Not maliciously, mind you, but it was the path of least resistance.
The kid can't have what the kid can't reach.
Unfortunately, that didn't sit well with me, as it's not the kind of approach I have to parenting. If my kid can't co-exist with a jar of candy in the same room, then I've failed as a parent. Removing the chocolate does not inhibit my daughter's desire to eat sweets.
It simply directs it elsewhere.
That's why I was so frustrated on a recent trip to Florida. I like to drive to "The Sunshine State," partly because it's cheaper than flying, but mostly because it doesn't require me to hurtle through the air at 300 m.p.h. while strapped to a foam cushion that smells like beer farts.
And a road trip means Interstate eats.
But imagine my surprise when I ordered the "homemade" biscuits from Cracker Barrel, only to have them accompanied by a handful of little round tubs labeled WHIPPED SPREAD. "What the heck is this crap?" I wondered a little too loudly. It's bad enough the jelly comes in a plastic tomb, I need this oily butter clone?
"Excuse me, miss? Where is the butter?"
"We don't serve butter," she fired back in mild amusement.
This is what it has come to, folks. I couldn't get real potato chips at a deli in Maryland, and I was unable to secure real dairy at a chain restaurant in South Carolina. Why? Because our nation has an obesity problem, and the answer is to assign blame to offending ingredients before removing them from public access.
So why is our nation still so fat and unhealthy?
Because taking away trans fats, demonizing butter and turning potato chips into puffed strips of bland spuds does not address the root cause. Like my daughter during Christmas dinner, someone in an authority position has taken the path of least resistance. Instead of changing the way we eat, they've simply tried to deny us the foul offenders.
It hasn't inhibited our desire to eat poorly, it simply directed it elsewhere.
That's why people who have their stomachs stapled shut and lose 100 pounds put it back on within two years. It's not the food that is killing us, it's our inability to co-exist with it. Some people in my snobby town were aghast when the local McDonald's opened 24 hours.
As if some greasy tractor beam sucked in all passersby.
In order to have good eating, you must first have good habits. That's not a food thing, that's a behavior thing, which makes it very difficult to overcome. Catchy slogans like "Just do it" sell lots of merchandise, but they don't really "do" much for the average Joe, who may be struggling to get themselves on the right path to a fit and healthy lifestyle.
Trust me, I know.
I've been on the right path for several years now and I still struggle with my choices. But that has nothing to do with what's on the shelf at my local grocer. It has to do with my ability to manage stress, balance my meals and find comfort in something other than peanut butter.
Seriously, I could eat an entire jar of Skippy Superchunk in one shot.
Changing your relationship with food is not as scary when you call in reinforcements. People on Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig will often tell you it's not the food regimen than helps them reach their goals, it's the weekly meetings with their peers.
Fitness classes are so popular because you get to take the same journey with friends, or at the very least, strangers with a common interest. You don't have to swap spit to help each other get to the promised land, you just have to have a willingness to learn.
One of the greatest examples of that is the ViSalus community.
When you take the ViSalus "Body by Vi" 90-day challenge, you don't go at it alone. Proof is on display at the ViSalus Facebook page (see it here), where more than 375,000 other folks just like you and I are trying to change their relationship with food.
It's not just an amalgamation of inspirational mumbo-jumbo, either.
The ViSalus community is treasure trove of tips, recipes and weight-loss incentives. I like to drink the Vi-Shape shake mix straight-up, but when it starts to get boring, I see what kind of witches brew the ViSalus community has concocted, like the "Apple Pie Vi."
Who knows, while you're in there, you may even run into UFC 161 headliner Rashad Evans.
That's right, "Suga" is sweet on ViSalus products and since he's got a fight coming up this weekend in Winnipeg, we're giving away one of his signed UFC gloves. And this isn't some pleather knockoff scribbled on by his manager, either, it's the real deal.
So ... what do you have to do to win? It's simple...
STEP TWO: Provide your fight prediction for the Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson main event at UFC 161 (ex. Evans defeats Henderson via technical knockout in round two at 1:39; or Henderson defeats Evans via unanimous decision in round three at 5:00).
Remember that KO and TKO are two different picks, and the UFC 161 main event is THREE ROUNDS, so choose carefully.
So it's winner, round, method and time. One entry per reader ... so make it count! If you pick a decision, be sure to include the official time, as well as guess the potential scores for each round (10-9, 10-9, 8-10, etc.)
And, to be on the safe side, all entries that pick a decision win MUST include a tie-breaker pick from the Roy Nelson vs. Stipe Miocic co-main event. Same criteria as above. Heck, we might even throw in a few prizes for second place, because that's how we roll.
To enter, leave your picks in the comments section below. Get moving! Contest ends Saturday night (June 15) at 10 p.m. ET sharp!
Fitness Friday is sponsored by ViSalus. Opinions expressed are solely of the author. For more information on the ViSalus line of products click here.