By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
Any “Community” fans out there? When something happens on the TV show that character Shirley doesn’t like, but she’s too polite to say anything mean about it, she’ll always say her sweet, condescending catch phrase: “That’s nice.”
So when I heard New York City is pushing a ban on sugary drinks in sizes larger than 16 ounces, my reaction was just like Shirley’s: that’s nice.
I get it that the city wants its citizens to be more healthful. Gosh, that’s nice.
I get it that, if the ban passes, folks can’t walk into a convenience store and buy hundreds of empty calories and loads of sugar, which would surely help anyone’s health just a little bit. That’s nice, too.
But what about when they go home or go out to eat at a restaurant with endless refills?
It is, again, nice, that NYC wants the best for its citizens, but I think the city is missing the point.
The citizens must want the best for themselves for something like this to really be effective.
A person must choose a healthier drink, like water, over a soda, day in and day out, for their health to improve. It’s a decision they’ll face several times a day at home, at the supermarket, at a convenience store or at a restaurant.
And leading a more healthful life is all about those little decisions like that, but it begins with one giant decision to take better care of yourself.
I can speak from experience.
I’ve spent the last year trying to lose 75 pounds and I’ve lost 54 of them.
But before last summer, I spent 18 years of my life overweight, and I spent 18 years of my life wishing I was healthy.
I wished for it. I spent years hating my body. I wanted to be healthful so much, but at the same time, I didn’t put down the sodas or get up off the couch.
I tried a few diets or exercises here and there, but I wasn’t ready to commit to a total lifestyle change.
Last year, facing a possible diabetes diagnosis and high blood pressure, I got serious about it. I finally wanted better for myself, so I changed everything.
I started working out instead of, well, not. I changed how, when and what I eat. And I finally started getting healthy, passing tests at the doctor’s office and just feeling better. That one big decision, and then thousands of little decisions each day, keep me feeling great.
Of course, an overweight person can still be healthy, just like a thin person can still be unhealthy. But in general, losing a few pounds and cutting out extra sugar and fat is usually a good plan for a healthy life.
Besides, I’d much rather be in control of my own health – whether I choose water over soda, or a candy bar over an apple – than have the government decide that for me.
New York City can ban sugary sodas all they like, but it won’t necessarily make New Yorkers healthier. It’ll cut down on some of those calories and carbs consumed, of course, but there’s more work to do.
Really, it comes down to the individuals and the decisions they make.
Folks choosing to feel better instead of silly government bans? Hey, that’s nice.
Sheena Barnett is an entertainment writer for The Daily Journal. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.