Sunday, September 6, 2009

Not Enough Magic

Where I work, we talk about having magic. I think this actually began because customers frequently say we have magic (since they can't grasp how we fix things). I even had one customer say he was taking me to Las Vegas to be his lucky charm. But sometimes, customers want things that we just can't do-like yesterday's cruise ship customer. Yeah, we have great magic, but we can't defy the natural laws of the universe.

That is why articles like this one make me laugh. Entitled 'Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin' and with the subtitle blurb 'Whether because exercise makes us hungry or because we want to reward ourselves, many people eat more — and eat more junk food, like doughnuts — after going to the gym' it is both absurd and stating the obvious. It seems researchers found that physical activity makes you hungry! No DUH! Any parent could tell you that (any mother who doesn't have a snack ready when the kids are done swimming clearly hasn't been paying attention).

Our bodies were indeed wonderfully made (no matter how you think they got made) and, lo and behold, when you ask them to use energy, they ask you for more energy. It's normal, natural and good.

As for eating junk food (if you believe there is such a thing-we don't use that term in our home) as a workout reward--well, that thinking is a natural outcome of faulty thinking about 'workouts'. Our culture in general sees exercise as a punishment for imperfect eating or imperfect bodies. If that is how you view physical activity, then you get caught in a loop. I ate a piece of cake, so I have to punish myself on the treadmill. I was so good at the gym that I can eat a piece of cake... and on and on. It's just so wrong, so self-defeating and so psychologically messed up!

Physical activity isn't a punishment or dues to be paid. It should be done for the joy of doing it. That is why I will never have a gym membership. I don't like treadmills or other machines that simulate real-world activities. I'd rather take a walk by the river where the scenery is nice, knowing that I will feel all warm and gushy afterwards, and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. That is a joyful experience, where walking on a treadmill is...well, more like filing taxes.

It is also much easier to continue an active lifestyle if you are doing things that you find enjoyable AND when you are doing those things for reasons other than trying to obtain an unreachable goal. Because dieting and exercise rarely make someone thin (for long), and the exercise is associated with the dieting, people who do it for the sake of trying to be thin soon give up on both.

I have found that, after spending a couple years disconnecting dieting/trying to lose weight from physical activity, that physical activity is much more enjoyable, more varied, and now contains its own motivation. I will never be thin, but I get more active as time goes by. Maybe someone should do a study on that.


Sarah said...

Excellent post!!!!

A friend of mine has a whole big blog post about how wonderful fasting is for your body, with lots of mumbo jumbo, etc. I just don't see how some of the things in there are good for you. is refreshing to read your posts.

Jenny-Fair said...

Thank you :-)