“Do I look like an obese, old mouse?” I asked my long-suffering daughter.
“What are you talking about?” she said, almost frothing at the mouth!
I explained, “I gained five pounds during the holidays.”
“So,” she said with a grin, “take it off.” She has no clue how difficult it is to lose five pounds when you are over sixty. Someday she will, but I didn’t tell her that!
I dug through my to-do list from the beginning of last year, determined to start the year appearing organized, and I discovered an article that I had kept from Fox News’s website. It was titled “Wine Extract Keeps Obese Mice Living Longer, Healthier Lives.” It was an Associated Press article about a Harvard Medical School and National Institute on Aging study, which said that obese mice on a high fat diet got the benefits of being thin and living healthier, longer lives, without the pain of dieting (How do they know a mouse is in pain when it is dieting?), when they consumed huge doses of red wine extract. Fat related deaths among the elderly, obese mice on the red wine extract dropped 31 percent. They also lived longer than expected.
I found myself giggling through most of the article. However, out of respect for the researchers and the writer, I must say that it was a well written article about an apparently exhaustive study, conducted on the uses and benefits of red wine extract on obese and elderly mice. One of the researchers in this study was quoted as saying, “These fat old mice (who were given red wine extract) can perform as well on a skill test as young, lean mice.” Well, well, you learn something new every day! I’ve always thought those who spend months and years studying mice must be rather odd, and now I am convinced of it.
The article concluded “The results of this red wine extract study are not an excuse to overeat.” But, the writer added, for mice at least, this shows that you can be “fat, happy, healthy, and vigorous.” Why on Earth do we spend millions on these studies, when all the researchers would have to do is go around interviewing pleasingly plump people, and ask them if they are “happy, healthy, and vigorous”? Most would smile, do twenty jumping jacks and say, “Yes!” I know I would! Wouldn’t you?
I will definitely work hard at getting rid of the holiday bulge, but I probably won’t run out and buy a supply of red wine extract. I will, however, continue to have a glass of red wine now and then, and consider myself a lot better off than those poor mice that they’re studying. I am not exactly obese, but I am not anorexic either. I’m not exactly elderly, but my twentieth birthday is long gone.
I am “happy, healthy, and vigorous.” Plus, no one has to feed me red wine extract to prove it! I guess fat, elderly mice have to do something while they exist on Earth—so why not let the scientists ply them with red wine extract? Just don’t compare me to a fat, elderly mouse! I’ll take my red wine in a glass, thank you, and consider myself unfit for scientific study. I’m not obese enough … at least I won’t be for long—after I hit the gym and get rid of the holiday sweets in my freezer.
After she read the article, my daughter gave me her usual sage advice: “I think you are over-reacting Mom. Just stop eating leftover pumpkin pie and chocolate covered cookies. Those five pounds will melt off.” Out the door she went, with her skinny little rear looking too skinny in her too tight jeans. I think I’ll take all the chocolate covered cookies to her house. She could use a little bulge. But I’ll keep the leftover red wine.