Treadmills and Burgers

I am not a fitness buff. I am not active. For years, the closet door wouldn’t close. So I threw out the treadmill. This is such a sad state of affairs because my teen-age years were crackling with daily workouts. I ran for the bus, played sockball in the school yard before classes, had gym twice a week and invented my own training program during the summer. I even bought a body-building book and learned about endomorphs, exomorphs and mezzomorphs (fireplugs, willowy bean-poles and “average” builds.)

Is your treadmill in the closet?

Photo by SashaW

I used some old clothesline as a jump rope, jogged around the neighbor cemetery (pretty large piece of real estate, y’all!), came home and worked out with the weights my uncle had given me. After all that, I would shower, eat breakfast and run outside to play whatever sport was going on in the grassy field of the nearby elementary school.

When I graduated high school and went to college, I commuted. Time became an issue. It was worse than high school time-pressure because college had different schedules. Some days, classes started at 8:30. Some days, my first class wasn’t until 10:00. Driving from Mt. Airy to Temple’s North Philadelphia campus took about 45 minutes. This didn’t include the time driving from lot to lot, looking for free parking. Most of the free spaces were in a muddy plot, three blocks away from the nearest building. So I still walked a lot.

About a year in, I landed a part-time job at the Computer Center’s Help Desk. Time essentially compressed to a singularity. When was I going to eat? Unfortunately, Wendy’s was conveniently close by. I began to subsist on a steady diet of burgers, chili and Frostys. Hey, I was getting lettuce and tomato, so it was all good, right? Plus, I never gained an ounce. All that running from parking lots, I suppose – I now know that it was my high-octane youthful metabolism.

This is a huge burger!

Image courtesy of (don’t be a hot-linker!)

I had set myself up for a cycle of convenience eating, fueled by the funds earned by trading quality time for questionable dollars. This pattern became ingrained during a quarter of a century of being on a different kind of treadmill. One that added calories!

Rat race

Photo by antwerpenR

Whatever you may think of the need for balance in your life, we have to agree that sitting at a computer for eight hours a day should be offset by some kind of daily physical activity. In addition, both need to be complemented by a healthy diet. Your level of knowledge will have a major impact on the challenges of determining offsets and complements that are right for your body.

I avoid conventional wisdom as much as humanly possible. In matters of healthy food, it’s nearly impossible to get a definitive answer. So, I fall back on my father’s advice: “All things in moderation.” He’s in his mid-70′s, so that works for him. I hope it works for me, too! Genes and all that, you know.

Part of the critical thinking process involves listening to all sides of an issue and deciding what to believe. In order to do this, I have to be willing to study a bit more than is usual. I have no formal training as a biologist, nutritionist or pathologist. I also know that experts can be bribed. So, who can I learn from? I choose to listen to people who are dealing with the health issues that are important to me. I recently read Mitch Mitchell’s 10 Reasons You Don’t Want To Be Diabetic. Mitch writes frankly about the daily challenges of living with this disease.

Moderation aside, I like the idea of having a more healthy diet. I’ve been reading Farnoosh’s Prolific Living, a FREE Newsletter on Green Juicing Benefits and How-To. I used to be a juicer, but now I want to give green juicing a chance.

As for physical activity, I read an article by Christopher Stepien on the ComLuv Network, titled The Straw That Broke Your Back. Christopher took the time to give me a very thoughtful reply to my comment. This, in turn, has helped me to focus more on what’s going on with my body as I sit at the desk for extended periods. My main physical activity is walking.

How do you handle working at the computer all day? Do you tend to push yourself with energy drinks? Do you really get up and stretch or do you just run to the bathroom and call that a break? (Heck, when I worked for the city, that was the only way to get out of the cubicle for a few minutes!) “Weigh in” with your comments.

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