The holidays are upon us. The holidays can bring joy, enhance family relationships (not always) and spark generosity. As we celebrate we tend to focus much of our celebration around food. We look forward to the eating, drinking and uncomfortable feelings of eating too much as a society. All the while knowing the consequences of such choices are nothing to celebrate.

As a physician, I have seen the damage done by such choices, which tends to be heart disease, diabetes, strokes and an increased risk of cancer. Many people have told me “I'd rather be dead than change my diet. If I die tomorrow it's OK by me.” I understand that, but what needs to be understood is the fact that your life will be taken long before it is gone with continued weight gain. Decreased mobility due to pain, trouble breathing with activity, more medications (many with side effects), mental health issues, more doctors' visits, and an early death are often consequences. You will stop enjoying life much sooner than you will die.

It is said ignorance is bliss, but we are not ignorant, just ignoring the truth. Be true to yourself and choose wisely. Five seconds of flavor in the mouth may equate to 5 more pounds to lose, five more high blood pressure points, five hours of high blood sugars and perhaps five or more years off your life. So ... for the holidays (and hopefully longer term) give yourself the gift of life as well as living.

Eric Thompson, Bismarck

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