A pound of flesh just isn’t enough

Print Article

No matter what the subject, you can’t go too far wrong recalling the words of Mark Twain.

That thought crossed my mind after reading results of a study completed at the University of Wisconsin.

Twain once wrote: “There are lies, there are damn lies, and then there are statistics.”

The particular number that made me think of Twain’s take on statistics came from Dale Schoeller, a professor emeritus who was explaining a review done on how much weight the average American gains over the holidays.

The study found that, despite incredible amounts of food and drinks consumed through Thanks-giving, Christmas and all the parties between, your normal person gains less than one pound over the holidays — 12.8 ounces, to be precise.

“Yup, it’s small,” Schoeller said, “but because it’s a large percentage (of what we gain during a full year), it’s not unimportant.”

And to most holiday celebrants, not even CLOSE to being correct.

LET’S ASK some local folk, people who enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving feast — and intend to keep on partying during this holiday season.

“One pound?” said Sherry Morris of Coeur d’Alene, who was heading into a spa. “That can’t be right.”

Morris offered her age, but gentlemen don’t print such things in a newspaper. Let’s just say she’s a little past Millennial.

“I’d say that I probably gain three to five pounds over the holidays,” she said, “and that’s watching to be sure I’m not going crazy.

“There’s no way anyone I know is going to gain just one pound — or even less — over the holiday season.”

Not only are there seemingly endless opportunities to load up on tasty food and alcohol at this time of year, it’s also more difficult to burn off those calories.

“It gets dark so early and it’s so cold, you’re not going to be doing anything outside,” offered Erika Willy, an elementary school teacher from Post Falls who moonlights at a frozen yogurt shop.

“You can’t even go out walking very often,” Willy said. “So much for some exercise walking the dog.

“I can’t believe that people only gain one pound over the holidays. That seems impossible.”

No kidding.

I blew through those 12.8 ounces with my first few forkfuls of stuffing during Thanksgiving dinner.

WHY DON’T we let an in-house expert assess the study that shocked us all?

Judd Jones is our health and fitness guru at The Press, and his column on those subjects is carried in more than a hundred papers.

So, Judd, does Schoeller’s conclusion make sense?

“It does, and it doesn’t,” Jones said. “I think you could do an accurate study that would produce those numbers, but he fudged things a little bit.

“For one thing, most people don’t realize that it takes some time to gain weight. You don’t just have a big night out and put on six pounds. Fat doesn’t build up at record speed.

“The window of time — just four weeks — isn’t enough to get a proper look at weight gain.”

So...

A better time to see what sort of damage we’ve done might be at the end of January, right?

“More or less,” Jones said, “and here’s another statistic: About 80 percent of people who begin diets right after the New Year have failed by the end of February.”

Swell.

I think I could warm up to Schoeller’s theory, frankly.

And you?

•••

Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press. Follow A Brand New Day at facebook.com/BrandNewDayCDAPress. Email: scameron@cdapress.com

Print Article

Read More Local News

District 4 State Representatives to Hold Town Hall Forum in Coeur d’Alene

December 13, 2017 at 11:51 am | Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR D’ALENE – With the 2018 Idaho legislative session set to convene on January 8, 2018, District 4 State Representatives Luke Malek (R) and Paul Amador (R) will host a Town Hall Forum with constit...

Comments

Read More

National Report: Idaho Ranks 23rd in Protecting Kids from Tobacco

December 13, 2017 at 10:18 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Idaho ranks 23rd nationwide in funding programs that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a report released today by leading public health organizations. Idaho is spending $2...

Comments

Read More

Big hopes for tiny village

December 13, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press By BRIAN WALKER Staff Writer COEUR d'ALENE — When Gar Mickelson went to propose a village of tiny homes to serve as a transitional housing option for the homeless population, he first needed to t...

Comments

Read More

College presidents oppose tax plan

December 13, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Education leaders representing the state’s public universities and colleges are calling on members of Idaho’s congressional delegation to reconsider some of the changes Republicans are proposing for ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2017 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X