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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Are Church Goers Heavier?

Did you see in the news recently that a new study finds that regular church goers tend to put on more weight in middle age than non church goers?  The study also points out that the researchers are not sure why this would be.  The only theory mentioned in the article is that perhaps because marriage is valued in churches and married people have a tendency to gain more weight than singles, then you would see heavier church members.

I have another theory.  How many bible studies, church suppers or Sunday school classes have you attended recently?  I'll bet there were donuts, coffee cake or other unhealthy treats at those classes, not to mention an array of fatty foods at any church supper.  For some reason, if there is a gathering, we feel obligated to bring food and provide refreshments even if the gathering is for a short period.  It has always bothered me to provide snacks for kids' ball games and Sunday school classes.  The snacks most parents  bring are high in sugar and fat and have not a shred of nutritional value.  Plus I see no need to feed kids when they have had an opportunity to have breakfast and they will be going to lunch soon after the game or Sunday school class.  There is no need to provide cake at the weekly bible study group either.  These practices just teach unhealthy eating habits and cause weight gain.  It is so easy to say to oneself, "I'll just have a small slice of that cake, it's not much." and never thinking twice about the hamburger and fries at lunch, the mocha latte you get everyday on the way to work and the weekend barbeque where you fill your plate twice.

It is so easy and fast to pack on the pounds but sooooooo hard to get rid of them.  Try to focus on avoiding those snacks you know you don't need.  Yesterday I was at a college open house with my son.  There was a plate of lovely cookies beautifully iced and decorated with the school's initial.  I wanted one badly but I walked right past that plate and sat down.  Having a good breakfast that morning helped.  At lunch at the school, I bypassed the pizza and had a salad with black beans, carrots, tomatoes and chopped egg and just a drizzle of dressing.

Don't get me wrong - I do believe in snacks that are healthy.  I believe eating a snack in the morning and in the afternoon helps keep your energy level up and from eating like a hog at mealtimes.  Lately I've been eating alot of citrus fruits, yogurt and cottage cheese for snacks.  I've even eaten a handful of grape tomatoes or carrot sticks.  You can do it and you will be amazed at how good you feel.  No, it won't get rid of cravings in the short term but gradually you will feel cravings for junk alot less.

So think before you eat and pray.  I hope you are taking advantage of the spring weather to get outside for fresh air and exercise.

I just want to mention that I will be cooking at the  HMG Health and Fitness Expo on Saturday, April 16 at 4 p.m.  Come by and get a sample of one of my favorite fast family meals.

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