Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An apple a day...

Photo by Michael Donovan

My office has decided to join a state-run plan to get employees exercising and eating more fruits and vegetables. There are rewards for doing so, and I already do everything it requires, so I could probably clean up when it comes to tallying exercise and eating right, but I am not going to join. Why? Because there are certain things I am willing to do in life, and certain things I am not. Willing to do: get up at 5 AM to go to the gym, even when I have only had 5 good hours of sleep. Not willing to do: fill in a daily log of exercise and food. To their credit, you don't have to set (and reach) a goal to get rewards, which would really piss me off - you just have to do the good stuff and record it. But, even years ago when I was actively trying to modify my diet and lose weight, I refused to count calories or keep a food log (for more than a day or two). Partially, this is because of my perfectionist tendencies - it is so inexact to log in my exercise using only the two categories of "cardio" or "strength/flexibility;" where does one put fencing, for example? And tennis? Yes, it has cardio advantages, but it isn't the same as running or an aerobics class. I find the lack of granularity and detail maddening. Same with the fruit and vegetables counting. How does one count vegetables in a casserole? Or in a sandwich? I get kind of paralyzed by the details. Partially, I don't want to turn everything into a spreadsheet. I already record everything I read, I have a blog, I have a journal. While my dad may keep track of the number of times he mows the lawn each summer, or how many times he fills his car each year, I am not ready to be that obsessive. It gets boring after a while. Partially, it is just me being contrary. If I am doing something on my own, and someone comes along and tells me I should continue to do so, but also keep track, I don't want to. Even if it would get me extra time off. I am just that obtuse. Not that I am going to stop exercising or anything, I just don't want to do it their way.

Also, I am not interested in the program because I already have all the good habits they want to foster.  If the program gets more people in my building to exercise and eat better, great. But since there is no push in the program to actually remove bad habits (apart from smoking) such as drinking sugary sodas for breakfast (or sweet tea - this is the South, after all), and no incentives for eating whole grains and less meat, I am not sure how effective it will be in changing the overall health of people in the office. I suppose I will just have to be happy that at least they are trying. Some change is better than none, after all.

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