In the African American community, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Memorial Day are staple holidays. These days are the premier times to celebrate the ever present unity of family and friends over delicious meals. However within the festivities, some people believe these holidays are just “one day” to gorge on fatty food that you only get a couple times of year. Realistically, a majority of us eat these foods through out the year and accepting this idea is dangerous. ENTER THE STORY OF THE LONE GOOSE…..
THE LONE GOOSE
Once upon a time, a lone goose was flying south for the winter. Along the way he was separated from his flock. As he was flying, he noticed another flock of geese in a pond on a farm. The lone goose thought he had been flying for days and needed one day to rest. So he flew down, splashed into the pond and on cue, the farmer’s wife came out with buckets full of the finest grain and choice meats to feed the farm geese. These farm geese were heavier with fluffy feathers and so they did not fly.
The lone goose stayed for the free and luxurious meal and rested. As the sun rose the next day, the farmer’s wife came out again with another bucket of the same grain and meat from yesterday. The lone goose thought to himself, “I need a good breakfast. So another couple of hours won’t hurt.” Even though the lone goose was a different breed of goose, the farmer’s geese accepted him into their flock. He stayed for another day, then a week, then a month and finally the entire winter. Finally, spring came and he heard the honks of the flying geese overhead and he remembered the thrill of flying. He decided it was time to fly again and join his old comrades. However, as hard as he tried he could not get off the ground. He had become so heavy over the winter he could no longer fly. So he dropped back down to the pond and said to himself, “ Oh well, this is my life. I am safe and accepted here. Besides, the food is good.” Every spring and fall he would hear the geese honking overhead and would remember the feeling of flying until one day he stopped listening to it.
One spring, he noticed the farm flock became less and less and the food stopped coming. Until one day he was the only goose left. That day, the farmer came, grabbed the lone goose, killed him and gave him to his wife, who served the lone goose for Easter Dinner.
Moral of the story: The Day of Disaster is years after the Day you decided to be complacent with yourself.
ITS JUST ONE DAY……
So who are you in this story? The goose flying with the group or have you been separated from them? Are you the farm geese, who have been “raised” to be over weight? Or the lone goose who has become content of being overweight? Interesting, one day of rest and luxury became a literal season of laziness and effectively limited the goose in his function and purpose on this Earth….eg fly. But the lone goose realized his mistake and tried to correct it. But because of his weight, he could not get off the ground, thus settled into his new life and eventually ate himself into an early death.
Similarly, excessive eating and adopting the mindset “it’s just one day” will lead into a lifestyle of physical, mental and emotional limitations and eventually death. You don’t believe me? Those with diabetes, if unchecked, will lose the ability to see, lose the ability to think, talk and move through a stroke, lose the ability to get rid of waste through kidney failure, and lose the ability to feel touch in your feet and hands through nerve destruction. Literally, this disease will limit your function and purpose on Earth as a human being. How many parents, friends, co workers, and colleagues have settled in this limitation? How many holiday hospital admissions will happen because years of believing that it is only one day?
For the last couple of months I have met individuals who were admitted to the hospital because they could not say no to pound cake, or were admitted into the ICU because of stroke, and family members who have died because they believed that drinking too much alcohol was more important than their own lives and family.
Nobody wants Diabetes or the complications that come from it. But as a community, we persist in a mindset that it is only one day.
IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO BE HEALTHY
Like the lone goose who tried to correct his folly, we try to eat better, exercise and take our medicine. There are many people trying to maintain their blood sugar, insulin regimen, diet restrictions. But the motivation and will to do right is often squeezed out by the pain of an increased heart rate, the difficulty lifting the body weight we have grown used to, the inconvenient grocery shopping of our busy lives and the unfamiliarity of veganism, Paleo and other diets that are stigmatized in comparison for the luxurious fatty foods that we have become accustomed. So we settle on not flying and become unmotivated by those who do.
Claiborne Fam Holiday Picture
Before I was a doctor, I was a personal trainer. I had an older woman client named “Joanna” diagnosed with diabetes at a health fair and wanted a personal trainer because she never exercised and wanted to get in shape. Literally, she had never done a push up, pull up, squat or exercised. Over that year, through a strong determination and discipline, Joanna eventually lost 40 pounds and controlled her diabetes. Within two years she started running, biking and swimming in marathons, doing push ups every day and kept the weight off. As a trainer and physician, your body is an amazing machine and wants to do right. Work with it and Fly!!
In medicine there is a saying: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Doing a little bit now is worth more later. If you are the goose who is unable to fly, realize you have all the resources you need to fly and it is never too late to make the decision to be healthy. Your doctor should have many avenues to assist you in healthy food choices. Additionally The Doctors Order (Shameless Plug) has many great recipes to start you on the right path. I am here for you and I want you to fly more than you know.
It’s not that you can’t enjoy the holidays, but just be aware that your choices mean a lot more than you believe. For those who know people with diabetes, be vigilant with them for portion control, tell them to stop smoking (if they do), push them to exercise 30- 60 minutes every day, monitor their blood sugar and blood pressure over the next couple of weeks, and help them maintain a holiday healthy diet. Because you will save their life.
Remember: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure!
There are 33 days left in 2017. This is the real #HolidayClapback.
With Love and Care,
From your friendly, neighborhood, internet PCP