“We have no way of knowing what lays ahead for us in the future. All we can do is use the information at hand to make the best decision possible. It’s gonna be fine. Your whole life is gonna be fine.”

–Christopher Walken, Wedding Crashers


Killer At Large

I just finished watching “Killer At Large,” a documentary on obesity and its significant impact on Americans.

This documentary covers a lot of different ideas behind what is causing and perpetuating the obesity epidemic in the United States.  The movie opens with the story of a 12 year-old girl who is morbidly obese and decides to get liposuction.  Her parents are behind her on this decision and feel that there is nothing else they can do, and that liposuction seems to be the logical solution.  As the movie continues, we are shown the ways in which the U.S. Government has completely ignored the significance of obesity, its effect on people, and how much it is costing the country, both financially and emotionally.  Additionally, we see the ways in which some towns have chosen to approach this problem, including Somerville, MA, where the entire town has worked together to promote healthier citizens.  Restaurants have been given guidelines, bike paths have been put in place, and some of the schools even grow their own produce and serve only organic food.  While I don’t think such a dramatic change is feasible for most of the country (it obviously costs a significant amount of money and requires significant planning around an infrastructure that is already in place), it got me thinking about my own experiences in my town, growing up, and how things have changed.  It also made me think about what solutions and changes are feasible across the country.

Yes, part of the problem is the food being offered and marketed to children, but I honestly think it goes beyond that.  My mom bought a lot of unhealthy snacks.  Not gonna lie, these were my favorite:

We only ate white bread.  Breakfast consisted of Lucky Charms, Cookie Crisp, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch (which I still love, by the way).  I ate the pizza/nachos/cheeseburgers/chips/cookies in school.  But my mom also cooked dinner most of the time, and we didn’t go out to eat often.  I might have wanted McDonalds sometimes (not because Ronald McDonald was a successful marketing tool…he actually creeped me out and still does) but we didn’t go there every night; it was a treat to go out to eat or get fast food.  Additionally, while I don’t think I was as active as my mom when she was growing up, I still spent time playing with my neighbors, whether that involved street hockey or hide and seek.  I also played soccer and danced.  I was active.  I haven’t babysat in years, but when I did, the kids sat in front of their computers playing games for literally the entire 6-8 hours I was at their house.  They didn’t go outside, and they certainly didn’t move around very much.

This ties into a conversation I had with a friend of mine last night about the shift in technology.  Although I was a child and adolescent not too long ago (read: 10-15 years), so much has changed.   Video games, television shows, computers, and even tablets are more available to children.  As he put it:  “I think what’s happening is technology, for better or for worse, serves as a crutch for parenting…almost a part-time babysitter.  Parents love the screens in the back seats of the minivans because their kid will sit there and be quiet, and video games keep them occupied rather than them tearing around the house.”  It’s a perspective I never really took but it absolutely makes sense.  One of the interviewees in the documentary was a physical education teacher who noted the differences in children and their motor skills from the time he began teaching twenty years ago to today.  He noted that when most of his students run around today, their form indicates that it isn’t a natural motion for them and it is something they never learned.  That’s pretty scary to think about, especially when you think about little kids and how perfectly they run without any assistance or training; the human body is designed to move and it’s something that we are supposed to be able to do naturally.

So while I think that part of the problem is absolutely nutrition in schools and restaurants and at home, a lot of it is also the responsibility of parents to educate their children and take on an active role in their health.  We’ve always had fried food, food with a lot of fat and sugar and calories.  But have we always eaten incredibly large portions?  Have we always sat our children in front of the television or game console for hours and hours?

I certainly think that there are changes that need to be made to food and exercise guidelines put in place in our schools, restaurants, and homes.  But I also think that the fact that only 15% of people use posted calories in NYC restaurants to make healthier decisions when ordering shows that there is a level of personal responsibility that is significantly lacking.  Until everyone (you, me, the government, restaurants) acknowledge that, I don’t think the obesity problem will go away or even diminish.  I do think that with proper education starting at a young age, the availability of healthy options, and the understanding that we need to be more responsible and make better choices will help make changes.  But I also wonder if, as a society, we are too comfortable with pointing fingers and not accepting responsibility that we will never be able to turn things around completely.

If anyone else has any thoughts, I’d love to hear them.  I should also note that if anyone is interested, “Killer at Large” is available to watch instantly on Netflix.

Strongbow = Winning

So far, the weekend has been pretty good.

Last night, I went to see New Year’s Eve.  Since I read that it wasn’t very good, I literally went in with no expectations.  As a result, I actually enjoyed the movie.

Spoiler alert (if you can really consider it much of a spoiler):  It’s very similar to Valentine’s Day in that all the stories kind of intertwine with one another.  With all of these stories going on, there really wasn’t very much time to develop any of the characters beyond a certain point, but some of them had such nice story lines that it didn’t really bother me.  My advice is if you go to see this movie, have no expectations and you won’t be disappointed.  In fact, you may be pleasantly surprised.

This morning after laying in bed reading for an hour, I got up and completed a 9 mile run.  It definitely wasn’t the best run I’ve ever had, but I did it, so that’s all that matters.

I’ll be spending most of the day with family this afternoon to have an early Hanukkah dinner/gift exchange.  Since my mom is Jewish and my dad is Catholic, I celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas.  As of right now, there is definitely one thing that is going to get me through today (and the holidays, in general):

This stuff is amazing.  And with every delicious sip (or gulp, or chug), I am brought back to the semester when I studied abroad in London.  How I miss that place.

Alright, guess that’s about it for now…enjoy your Saturday!

Busy Weekend

Perhaps one thing that stressed me out this week at work was not only the work, but knowing that this weekend would be busy as well.

But busy doesn’t always equal bad.

Last night, my mom and I went to go see The Help.

After my horrible movie experience the night before, when I watched Something Borrowed, I was hesitant to watch another movie based on a novel I liked.  But, The Help actually got good reviews, so I went in excited to see what all the fuss was about.

I absolutely loved it!  I felt like they did a fantastic job with casting and covering all major components of the storyline.  They were able to successfully remove aspects of the book that were more trivial, without sacrificing anything necessary to the understanding of plot, overarching ideas or themes, and character development.  I loved it.  If you’ve read the book (or even if you haven’t), I highly recommend this movie.

Afterwards, my mom and I got some ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s…which, not surprisingly, didn’t disappoint.

Today was filled with a 7-mile run (only my second run since my half marathon two weeks ago), a high school friend’s party, a trip to the mall with Pete, and some household chores.

Tomorrow, I’m going up to the college where I am an assistant coach part-time.  The girls are moving in a week early and this week will be full of two- and three-a-days, as well as some team bonding.  With work, I won’t be able to be there most of the week, but I will be there all day tomorrow for move-in assistance, administrative tasks, and pre-season meetings.  And, Monday night, after working a full day, I have to drive up there to run practice from 7-8:30, and then make the hour and twenty minute drive home, only to wake up and attend an 8:00 a.m. meeting for work.

It’s going to be a busy couple of days!  The good thing is, that when I’m super busy, I actually tend to feel better and more positive.

Hope everyone’s having a wonderful weekend so far!

Just Finished Something Borrowed

That was a terrible movie.  Horrible.  The plot lacked continuity, and by making the movie a reasonable amount of time, many significantly details of the plot were missing.  Had I not read the book, I would have been confused.  Aside from this, there was no character development.  The book was way better.

There were, however, two good things about the movie:

1) Getting to look at Colin Egglesfield

2) John Krasinski’s character was funny and nice to look at

Off to hang out with Pete some more and then going to bed early.  So happy the weekend is almost here!

Super 8

Last night Pete came over and surprised me with flowers.

It’s not the best quality photo, since I took it on my phone and later posted it on Twitter.  But you get the idea.  The flowers came with a nice note that mentioned how proud he is of me no matter what, and that he’s happy we live close enough now that he can come by whenever he wants “just because.”

It was a nice pick-me-up, especially since I’ve still been upset about my disappointing interview on Friday.

This morning Pete and I headed to the movies for an early showing of Super 8, a sci-fi thriller that I didn’t know anything about.

click photo for source

I was actually pleasantly surprised.  I never used to enjoy science fiction but Pete is a complete nerd and has taken me under his wing.  The movie was set in the 70s and I immediately became attached to the main character and his friends, all of whom were in middle school.

click photo for source

I won’t ruin the movie by explaining what happens, but if you’re looking for an entertaining movie to catch, I would definitely check it out.

Afterwards, I headed over to Kim’s house where we looked over her resume, cover letters, and job applications and sent some on with hopes that she will be able to find a job at a veterinary office down in the Washington, DC area.

We also talked about some people we knew from high school and what they were doing now.  One girl we used to be friends with just got a job at a public relations firm in London and I can’t help but feel extraordinarily jealous.  Not only does she have this incredible opportunity ahead of her, but she will be relocating to London, the most amazing city I have ever been.

I just got off the phone with my dad and he explained that I shouldn’t believe what I read in the news about unemployment rates and how people are having difficulty finding jobs.

I explained to him that I never did believe that stuff.  I always felt like I would be able to find a job right out of school without any difficulty.  Clearly, it’s proving to be more difficult than I expected.

It’s okay though, because tomorrow is a new day and I will make the most of it.