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For the fun!

October 3, 2013

Weight LossFat HealthDiet TalkExercise

Trigger warning: Exercise, weight loss

About a week ago, it seemed everybody on my friend’s list on Facebook was posting this meme:

This doesn't convince me at all

This doesn’t convince me at all

Yes, I know.

There is this perception, in the US at least, that the only reason anybody would want to “eat healthy and exercise” is to lose weight.

This is a punishment model. Rather than eating healthy, nutrient-rich food that tastes great for the health benefits of it, we primarily eat it to lose weight in this culture. Instead of moving our bodies (i.e., exercise) for the simple joy of moving our bodies, we only “torture” ourselves to lose weight in this culture.

I’m sure you’ve heard as often as I have that the machines at the gym look like modern takes on medieval torture devices. The idea of “no pain, no gain” perpetuates the idea that exercise is not only not enjoyable, but is also an actual punishment. Yes, if one is wanting to build muscle mass, one does need to tear down some muscle, so it can heal and build itself up. That’s the “burn.” It’s not pain though. One should never have to push oneself to feeling sick from exercise (I’m looking at you, Biggest Loser).

Barring physical disabilities that restrict movement (and for “physical disabilities,” I’m including anything that makes a body not move well, whether it’s from a chronic pain condition, paralysis, old age that makes you not as limber as you used to be, or any other reason), our bodies were made to move. Have you ever watched little children at play? They run, just because they can. They create games that involve jumping and crawling and skipping. Sometimes their preferred method of moving from one place to another is hopping.

I propose a new idea to look at both food and exercise: let’s do it because we enjoy it. Because we can. Because it’s FUN!

Okay, it’s not really new. I’ve been saying this for a while, and so have other folks. But really, forget the punishment. Exercise for the fun of it. If you can, ride a bike, go for a walk in a park, play lazer tag, go roller skating. If you can’t do something that active, find something that you might be able to do — chair dance to your favorite music.  Find an activity that you love to do, and do it when you can.  Just because it’s fun.

Another meme I’ve seen going around reads:

Exercise should be about rewarding the body with strength and endorphins, not about punishing your body for what you’ve eaten.

And fun. Let’s never forget the fun!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to take my dog for WALKIES!!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. vesta44 permalink
    October 3, 2013 1:43 pm

    I’m creating a mix CD for my computer that has all the songs I love and just can’t resist moving to (for some reason, there are a lot of Cher’s songs on there). I may not be able to get up and dance to it, but I sure as hell can chair-dance to it. I figure any movement is better than none, and this is movement that’s fun for me, and is quite unconscious at times – don’t know how many times I’ve had my headphones on at a job and been told by someone that I need to stop the dancing in my chair because it makes the people around me want to know what I’m listening to (and listen to it too so they can join in). Who knew?
    So yes, movement for the fun of it has my vote!

  2. Nof permalink
    October 3, 2013 2:14 pm

    I saw the “Zombies, Run!” app promoted around the Fit Fatties forum, so I bought it last week. It’s good–I usually lose interested in gamified activities very quickly, but this has a story (narrated by British people, no less, so I can pretend I’m in 28 Days Later) so we’ll see. It’s also a running/couch-to-5k app that has no mention of weight that I’ve noticed, and the calorie tracker doesn’t work (at least for me–I don’t think I disabled it but maybe I did).

    Fun > punishment

    • October 4, 2013 7:24 am

      I LOVE the Zombies running game. There’s just something to be said for starting to sprint on an uphill while looking slightly crazed; and when Marathon Grandpa (a regular runner on my route who kicks my butt without trying) asks you what’s wrong you can say you’re being chased by zombies.

      I wish there were more of these types of exercise programs, for every sport there is. Make things fun!

  3. October 4, 2013 11:45 am

    Back when the gym was still affordable, I really didn’t enjoy the machines much. I’d stretch out on a mat in the appropriate space and then head right for the pool. Swimming is the only part of the “regimen” that I ever really looked forward to.

    • bronwenofhindscroft permalink
      October 4, 2013 11:47 am

      That’s what I used to do when I had a gym membership. Just go to the pool and swim laps. That was my fun.

      Then I’d reward myself with the hot tub afterwards! 🙂

      • October 4, 2013 11:56 am

        Hell, yeah! As soon as I make my first million, I’m totally putting in both a hot tub and a pool. :p

  4. October 4, 2013 8:10 pm

    Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    I have to make a conscious effort not to go into punishment/weight loss mindset when I exercise. It may seem hard to believe, but when I was in my twenties and thirties, I would exercise for sometimes up to five hours a day. Past my teens, I was never particularly thin, although sometimes I managed to get my weight into the 130’s when I was in my 20’s and 30’s. It was a real battle to keep it there, and I was always berating myself for being “fat and ugly.” This was my motivator–telling myself that unless I exercised excessively, I would become “so fat and ugly” that no-one would ever want me.
    At nearly 50, my motivation for exercise is and has to be different. I have knee problems and sciatica, in part brought on by doing physical jobs and in part brought on by simply overdoing things.
    I measure my success by how fluid my range of motion is and by reduction in overall pain rather than by weight loss.
    Sadly, I would still opt for the magic wand wave to make me a socially acceptable weight, simply because I would prefer to be invisible. But that doesn’t mean that the realistic part of my brain can’t remind me that this is not a good reason to exercise. Feeling better is.

  5. October 5, 2013 2:14 am

    My dog is my role model for exercise. She gets so excited about going for a walk that she literally spins until I can get the leash on her. She doesn’t do it because it’s good for her, she does it because she LOVES it.

    I’m not quite there yet, but I aspire.

  6. JennyRose permalink
    October 7, 2013 1:31 pm

    A friend put something like this on her fb page. I told her she was awesome “as is” and I loved her for that. She said it made her day.

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