3 Squares and Health

3 Squares and Health

“No, we are not buying any candy or snacks and please don’t ask again!” Poor Ryal, he’s not used to forgoing a snack at his pleasure; frankly, neither am I. Don’t worry, and no, we don’t need “care packages.” Save your donations for refugees. But a week in, and our culture vibe (not a shock – this is Norway ♥ ) is becoming apparent.

My middle-class, middle American habit was to eat whenever and just about whatever I wanted. One of the reasons I exercised was to balance my eating habit. Mid-morning handful of Oreos: done. Afternoon chips and salsa, check. Late night hunk of cheese and God-knows what else I felt like, I’m the king of my own castle. Really, it’s kind of remarkable I don’t weigh too much and have Type II disease.

Here, so far, things are different. They ought to be different. One, we’re getting used to Oslo prices and figuring out what works for our budget. So in the interium we are being oh-so-careful with the Kroner. Two, because we have the leash tight our routines have changed. We are back to three sqaures, period.

I haven’t felt this way in my belly and mind about food since I was in boot camp. Man, that was a long time ago. The Marines provided me three meals a day: “Take all you want, eat all you take.” And between meals you drank water and sweated your tail off. There was a tightness in your abdomin, a narrowing feeling. I suppose it was partly because your stomach was actually emptied of contents.

That familiar feeling is back in this much older body. That feeling is one that has been a ubiquitous companion to humanity until oh-so recently for oh-so few. By eating less and less often I am ironcially “comuning” with more people’s experiences in the world than I ever before.

Wallking through Frogner Park after viewing the Vigeland statues, we passed some girls doing promo work for Lipton Ice Tea. Ryal got to talking about pop and other “treats.” I tried to put his eight-year-old lizard brain into the context of his grandparents. He adores his grandparents. My effort was to explain how his grandparents, when there were his age, rarely had “treats.” They were either too isolated or poor to have pop or candy except as an uncommon surprise. It was a big deal for any of them to get a little pop or candy as a child. Truly, those were treats.

I told him that today those things, pop, candy, chips… are just everywhere. And while we see those temptations everywhere in Oslo, like Iowa, we have to adopt the austerity of the grandparents to keep walking and wait for a special occasion. I convienced myself that I did a thoroughly fatherly job and that he mostly understood. The big lies are the easiest to accept (the big lie being that I was a convincing father).

I should take my yearly physical now. I suspect my blood sugars and other blood work would come back steller. Will we proabably relax our strict position on food? Yes. Would my physican and dentist wish for me to remain on this diet back in the US? Absolutely. Meghan and I have already talked about the positive benefits we’ve noticed, physically and emotionally on this diet and how we should keep it up for the year and when we return. “Should” is one of those terrible words, like the road to hell, paved with good intentions but agonizingly difficult to follow through. Will we have enough courage to stand apart from a health harming culure? I pray we do, I pray you do to.

2 responses

  1. Leigh Ann Cleland

    One of my favorite sayings is, “You know what happens when you ‘should yourself’? You get ‘should on’!” (It’s funnier when you say it out loud – real fast!)

    I think that we Americans ‘should’ adopt more of this mindset towards food – “three squares”! We have become slaves to our indulgences – lots of “wants” not “needs”!

    You’ve challenged me to do the same – for today at least – AFTER I finish my cookie for breakfast! 🙂


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