De ja vu? Garnerites look to slim down, smoke less in 2014

kjahner@newsobserver.comDecember 30, 2013 

— Every year people say they’re going to do it. Many fail.

Do what? Depends on the person, but New Years resolutions remain a time-honored -- if sometimes not persistence-honored -- tradition.

In Garner, people have a variety of goals for 2014. Some aim to kick that vice they targeted in years past. (This time they mean it.) Others hope to merely take a next life step. And others yet hope to improve themselves or help others.

And some said they figure they won’t follow through and don’t bother making resolutions. Or they simply prefer to start habits when they want to, not when the calendar says so.

Quitting smoking, losing weight and generally living healthier emerged as the unsurprising most-common responses.

For example, when she and her husband were stopped and asked, Carmen Thomas’ quickly answered “My husband has one.”

Bruce Thomas stopped, and glared at his wife for a few seconds in apparent mock-anger. Then, he laid it out.

“I’m going to look out and maintain my health better,” he said, noting his plans to cut down on salt, cigarettes and portion sizes among other efforts. “She’ll be a real inspiration for me. But I gotta take that step myself. Actions speak louder than words.”

His next action was walking into a Buffalo Wild Wings, but to be fair, it was only Dec. 27.

Not all people had the traditional promises. Raford Key, who lives south of Garner, had a new twist, one that some would argue should move into the “common response” category as soon as possible.

“I told my wife I would try to stop texting and driving,” said Key, who said he’d recently had two bad near-accidents in a 15-minute span. “You cannot do it and stay where you want to stay (on the road).”

Others wanted to start new life steps such as getting their first solo apartment into good shape, or to increase already active involvement in charity work. Donna Sparkman, whose family owns the Toot ‘N Tell restaurant, said she hopes to not work as much.

But ultimately the aspiring weight-losers and the soon-to-be-former-smoker hopefuls carried the day. Gary Williams, calling his resolution the “same old cliche” wants to get healthier, and mentioned a Discovery Channel episode he watched that indicated walking for 30 minutes after dinner could be a big step toward better health.

Michelle Wood of Willow Spring just wants to cut 35 pounds. She said she usually gets about half that off, but ends up getting it back around the holidays. Her target this year is a new trend called the “fast metabolism diet.” It stresses eating different types of whole foods in weekly cycles. Experts tend to praise whole foods over processed, high-sugar foods, though the other elements of the diet has mixed reveiws, like many other diet trends.

Clara Raynor more concisely said “Lose 10 pounds” when asked her resolution.

As for smoking, Matt Werno of the Cleveland area thinks that after five years of smoking (since he was 18) he is ready to stop. He’s tried to quit before but not in a while, he said. He said new innovations like e-cigarrettes as well as the mounting costs on money earned from his two jobs will give him a better shot.

A cynic may look at smokers long trying to quit with skepticism. Jerome Richardson of Garner is trying to stop after 40 years. But with cigarette consumption and usage rates less than half what they were during the peak of the 60s and 70s, someone has been quitting. (Not all of it has been generational shifts; high school use was high in the mid-90s as well.)

Richardson said his children and grandchildren -- as well as standing in the cold as fewer places allow smoking -- will motivate him. Tina Gray of Garner will similarly look to her daughter; she’s already cut back and intends to finish the job in 2014.

“She yells at me,” Gray said. “She says ‘I don’t want to see you dead, mommy.”

Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland

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