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The battle in the kitchen and beyond

City Hall Corner

By Mike Womack, Cedar Springs City Manager

From January through March, the Cedar Springs library hosts a 10-week Biggest Loser Weight Loss Competition, which is a friendly weight loss competition for its participants. Weekly weigh-ins hold participants accountable to those pesky New Year’s Resolutions and the library staff help put together information about healthy food and activities to distribute to users. The Library also works with the NKCE (formerly Parks and Rec) to give out information about all of the sports and activities that the NKCE facilitates through out those 10 weeks to help participants shed those pounds.  The Library’s Biggest Loser competition costs $10 to join and the “Biggest Loser” by percentage of body weight lost will win $100.

The goal of healthy weight and healthy lifestyle is something that can be worked on throughout the whole year in Cedar Springs and it is never a bad time to start that journey. We are blessed to have the White Pine Trail and North Country trails go right through downtown and we continue to work on fixing and adding new sidewalks throughout the community for walking and running. The Skinner field track is free and available to use by the public all year round; its perfect for those of us who don’t want to worry about other pedestrians on the sidewalks or cars on the roads. If you really want, you can run up and down the bleacher stairs at Skinner field too (don’t skip leg day!).  

Most all of the City’s parks have a grassy area to toss a ball around with a friend or two and the City is hoping to develop a nice basketball court in the near future for citizens to use. 

Cedar Springs Public Schools supports your effort to stay healthy as well. Red Hawk Elementary opens their doors to all community members who would like to walk the halls from 4:00-8:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday when school is in session. If Cedar Springs Public Schools is closed due to inclement weather, holiday or no school scheduled, walking is canceled that day.

Of course, the school grounds are also a nice place to jog, after school is done for the day, and finishing up the hill to the Admin building is always good to get your lungs and hamstrings burning. All of the running might even lead you to do something you’ll regret like sign up for one of the established fun runs that occur each year in the City like the Red Flannel Run or the Run Michigan Cheap run.

However, as my friend the fitness guru always tells me, the weight loss battle is won in the kitchen. Or, more succinctly, you can’t outrun a bad diet. A positive trend over the last several years has been for restaurants to start providing more information related to the number of calories in their food items. But, even then, there is little to relate those calorie numbers to the real world in terms of numbers versus effort. So, some people have taken it a step further and have started equating the food item with the number of calories and then an exercise that would burn off those calories to help people understand what their food represents in exercise form. For example, a single 12 oz can of cola has about 140 calories in it, and it takes 1.6 miles or about 23 minutes of brisk walking for your body to use those calories. Four cans of a light beer equal just under 400 calories, that takes 32 minutes of jogging to burn off.  A venti sized caramel covered coffee drink can set you back 500 calories or 6 miles of walking. A half-pound beef hamburger with bacon can have as much as 1000 calories in it and require a 8.5 mile run.  Finally, that whole pizza with the works represents 2600+ calories and requires that you run a full 26.2-mile marathon to work off.

So, invite a friend to go for a walk, spend 30 minutes after work on the treadmill, choose 20 ounces of water instead of a soda and instead of “fitness this whole pizza in my mouth” go sign up for a 5k.

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