I’ve been thinking about a couple of unrelated topics: Jogging and Food. Well, I suppose people relate them to each other, but in unfavorable ways…you know, “jogging is exercise and is good …and food is evil.” Or maybe people don’t really think that. It sure seems that way, though.
So a change I made in my life recently is this: I started jogging. I’m in the third week of my new “thing” so I’m hardly an expert or anything. I can’t yet jog a mile, but I can go farther than I could three weeks ago, and I feel better since I started.
I so far have not lost a single pound from the additional exercise, but — and here’s where I probably differ from a LOT of people — that doesn’t really bother me. I’d like to lose some weight, don’t get me wrong, but if I lose some belly size and stay the same weight, that’d be awesome, too. I see people jogging all the time, and a lot of them don’t look like they enjoy it. Just yesterday evening, I drove by a guy who looked like he was having a heart attack, and leg pain, and a knife in the ribs…all at the same time.
By contrast, I’m enjoying my morning jogs. I probably sound like a puffing water buffalo, and look like a dying bluegill…but I’m not grimacing and wishing I were somewhere else. I read somewhere that if you dread going for your jog, and you utterly hate it the entire time…you should find another exercise, one that you like. I’d buy that.
And then there’s food. We all need it, even the pseudo-Barbie that claimed she could live on sunlight and relative humidity. I love food. LOVE it. Lurve it. But…food lately has become the enemy, The Evil One. People get very loud about only eating organic, or carb-free, or fat-free, or whatever. They obsess about food; they restrict what they eat, and walk around hungry all day, then snap and binge on a cookie, and tell everyone in the room how “bad” they are, and how they’ll “have to pay for” the cookie.
It’s not healthy. My wife the registered dietitian could go on at length, but that’s her thing. I see people who maniacally chomp on the banana peppers in the Papa John’s pizza box, because, and I quote, “Well, I CAN’T have the pizza, so the next best thing is THIS.” <chomp> That’s sad. A piece of pizza never derailed an entire diet plan. People are so obsessed with doing what’s “healthy” that they’re making themselves sick, and unhappy, and jealous of anyone who eats the “bad” things that they “can’t” eat.
Jealous of ME, basically. I eat pretty much whatever I want. Sure, I’m overweight…and I own that. My struggle is to eat less of whatever I eat, not to make sure that every meal is a nightmare of unseasoned Kale and raw broccoli. Pot lucks and buffets are the hardest — I want to try everything because it all looks so good. I consider it a triumph, though, when I stop when I’m just full, not “oh my Gawd I’m gonna puke I’m so full.”
Regardless, I think I have a healthy relationship with food. I know what’s good for me, and what’s bad for me, and make conscious choices to eat either one. If I eat something unhealthy (and usually REALLY delicious) I own that it’ll make me heavier, and weigh it (no pun intended, argh!) against the pleasure I had eating it. I don’t bemoan the evilness of it and protest loudly that I will “make up” for the calories. Rather, I enjoy the delicious food, understand that it’s fatty and calorie-laden, and move on.
Likewise with jogging. I don’t need to go pound the pavement to atone for the calories, and hurt myself every day and wear braces and things. I go out every other day and jog. I push myself some. I let myself rest some. It’s not the “purge” to my food “binge.” It’s just exercise, which is good for me, and which I like doing.
So there you go. Moderation; Balance; Healthy. Obsession; Guilt; Unhealthy. I like moderation and balance.