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Natural Perspectives: Resolve to help yourself, environment this year

January 11, 2012|By Vic Leipzig and Lou Murray
  • Eating a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables is healthier and better for the environment that a diet that is high in meat and sugar. And growing as much of your own produce as possible or choosing locally grown produce is better for the environment than food that is shipped from South America. Vic and Lou grew these oranges, lemons, limes and avocados in their back yard.
Eating a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables is healthier… (Lou Murray, HB Independent )

Vic already leads a perfect life, so he has no need for New Year's resolutions. I, on the other hand, live the life of a slovenly lay-about, so I have a great need to renew my resolution to be a better person at the beginning of each year.

It is never too late to write up a list of resolutions for the New Year. Behavioral changes can be initiated at any time. But the start of a new year is traditionally when we do these things. I was late getting around to it this year and just made my list today. (Note to self — add "quit procrastinating" to list.)

I pretty much use the same sheet of resolutions each year, since I never seem to accomplish what I had hoped by the end of any given year. And I have so much room for improvement that my resolutions fill an entire sheet.

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In many cases, they are merely major household or yard chores that I want to get done. For example, one of last year's resolutions was to replace the rotting, leaning wooden fence on the north side of the house with a new block wall. Check. Did it. I added "replace fence on south side" to this year's list.

Other resolutions are weightier, and require actual changes in behavior.

Like the vast majority of Americans, I am overweight and don't get enough exercise. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 62% of adult Americans were overweight in 2000. This is up from the 46% who were overweight in 1980. The percentage of people who were considered obese (defined as at least 30 pounds over their healthy weight) has risen to twice the percentage of people who were obese in 1960.

A healthy weight for people who are 5 feet 4 inches tall is 140 pounds or below. If they are heavier than 168 pounds, they are considered obese. A healthy weight for people who are 6 feet tall is 177 pounds, but if they are over 213 pounds they are considered obese. Scary, huh?

Like many people at this time of year, I resolved to lose weight this year. Actually, that resolution goes on my list every single year. Hey, I lost three pounds last year. Not exactly an Earth-shattering accomplishment, but it was a start. Unfortunately, those pounds that I lose keep finding me.

It is no secret that Americans are getting fatter and that obesity has reached epidemic proportions.

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