Ah, the New Year.
For many, it's a time of reflection, family and friends. It can also be a time of New Year resolutions such as losing weight.
Blame it on the Christmas pav and scorched almonds but we Kiwis love to feast over the silly season, which is all part of the fun. The problem begins when you do nothing to counter such festive indulgences and your clothes don't fit like they used to.
It's no secret obesity is a growing problem in New Zealand. The latest figures show more than two-thirds of Bay of Plenty residents are overweight, and nationally one in three people are classed as obese.
But to learn Bay of Plenty funeral homes are dealing with an increasing number of obese bodies too large to fit through the cremator doors or requiring caskets the size of bookshelves is mindboggling.
How did we get to this point?
Human society will forever be made of up different shapes, sizes, colours and creeds but are those of us unnecessarily putting on the pounds, quite literally, tipping this balance?
Consequences of weight complacency can be far-reaching - increased risk of strokes, heart attacks and diabetes which all contribute to a shortened life expectancy.
It serves as a sad and concerning reality check.
I grew up in a time of bullrush, backyard cricket and roller skating. McDonald's was a special treat I only went to for a friend's birthday party, and as a schoolkid, I walked or biked to school. Call me nostalgic but I feel modern society and technology has a lot to answer for.
Most children I encounter these days seem to spend more time exercising their phones or tablets rather than their bodies. And we're no better. With the swipe of a finger on a single device, a person can organise a date, order dinner delivery, email, read a book, buy the week's groceries, complete work tasks. The list goes on.
In a time-poor world where many are working longer hours to afford to live, we're grabbing what easy fix we can – be that McDonald's for dinner or a pie at our desk for lunch.
We need to change such habits and get out more. Yet, the excuses for putting off activity can come thick, fast and far too easy.
I've experienced my own internal debates of putting off a lunchtime walk in order to meet deadline, or opting to drive to work rather than bike because it's too cold outside.
Keeping active is one of the most important things a person can do, not only does fitness benefit the body by keeping it strong and in shape, it aids mental health too. For some, it also offers spiritual balance.
We all need to be more vigilant in our own health and prioritise fitness. Our lives depend on it.
After all, if you don't use it, you'll lose it.