I have a large oak tree in my front yard, one that dominates the yard, my house, my driveway. Enormous branches extend everywhere, including over  the house, over the driveway, and at times, over the power lines that go to my house (the power company trims those). It also creates enormous amounts of leaf waste, which for now I’ve been sweeping to the back, to pile up in something resembling a compost heap.

I bought a wheelbarrow last year, because I was unable to keep up with the waste, and moving 3-4 years worth of leaf deposits all this summer – good therapy, by the way – made me realize I wanted to jump on this task in the upcoming year. Get it done in the fall and winter, so  I could spend the summer growing plants and fighting weeds.

Diabetes, and in fact almost all the various manifestations of metabolic syndrome – high blood  pressure,  high “cholesterol”, gout, obesity – respond well to the kind of labor that makes up yard work. Yard work is relatively low intensity, so it is not prone to wrecking joints or breaking bones. You’ll work up a sweat, and you’ll keep that sweat going for a while. Great for heart rates, great for triglycerides, though it has to be said that if you’re out to lose weight, yard work isn’t the thing to get it done.

Portion control is at the heart of any sane diet. I managed it using a food journal. How anyone else does is up to them. I think a food journal combined with a diet of your choice puts you in a better position to succeed. So now I’ve touched on two Puritan virtues: eating frugally, and hard work. And not just hard white collar work, but hard physical work.

If you’re a foodie, why do this? Why go  through all this work so you can then avoid food? Let me point out: since February, I’ve been dealing with exactly this issue. My blog I think is testament that you can still eat well and manage your body. You just have to pick and choose the meals you want to be indulgent with. There is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard and eating carefully for a couple weeks, so you can enjoy a very Pilgrim-esque Thanksgiving meal.