Friday, July 22, 2011

Exercise or Not

Back in the dark ages before LA Fitness Centers sprouted like dandelions and Starbucks was still a few coffee stands on the streets of Seattle instead of the second office to the world, Weight Watchers preached that that exercise couldn't be relied on to keep you at your ideal weight.  Through the years, as I learned about the strict diets adhered to by many professional athletes, I came to believe they might have been right.
Yes, I subscribe to the exercise is good for you mantra.  Your heart is a muscle that needs to be exercised, your legs must keep moving to prevent PAD, and exercise makes you feel good and can even help fight depression.
My mother had two thoughts on the subject: the two band-aid theory--two band aids across your mouth, and the only exercise that really fought obesity was pushing yourself away from the table. She might have been a believer, but didn't take her own advice.  When she embarked on one of her many diets, my sister told her that she liked her better "fat and friendly."
One summer I decided that swimming might be an easy path to weight control, so I swam and swam and swam and ate and ate and ate.  Since that summer, I did learn that the body has a very efficient mechanism for keeping you warm.  In cool water, the body reacts by trying to keep that insulating layer of fat intact--the one that seems to remain on the bodies of many competitive swimmers.
Stick thin they're not.  Not so for gymnasts or ballerinas or skaters.  One of their jobs is staying thin.   Models are in a separate class.  Do they ever eat?
I lived for many years with a daughter who suffered with an eating disorder.  Medical science has yet to solve that puzzle, and it's so frustrating that you want to scream most of the time.
I'm one of the lucky ones--I inherited my body type from my father, not my mother. I never had a serious issue with my weight, but I bought into the exercise theory and used to run and play tennis until I dropped. I knew that exercise was good for me, so uninterested in joining the sweaty bodies at the LA Fitness Center that happens to be around the corner, I furnished my husband's office (His is bigger than mine.) with an elliptical machine.  Every weekday, with my Kindle in hand, I tried to spend 45 minutes on the machine.
Then, six weeks ago, I broke my pelvis and ended up in a wheelchair--no walking, no exercise, no nothing.  I kept right on eating and was afraid or unable to approach the scale. I really feared that I wouldn't be able to fit into any of my clothes.
Wrong...I didn't gain an ounce and I don't need a new wardrobe.
Is there a meaning there?

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