Just Do It


    I remember watching  cartoons as a kid when one of those public service announcements came on  declaring, ‘you are what you eat.’  I was shocked and even frightened,  could it be that I was really made up of hot dogs? I recall thinking  about the Salisbury steak they served at the cafeteria and wondering if  it was still in me.  It was the first time I actually thought about what  I ate and I should have given it more thought as I got older.   Instead  I spent my high school years living on cheeseburgers and shakes and my  college years living on beer and pasta.  It was true, I was what I ate.   I was a bit of meat wrapped in a pasty white, doughy bun of a body  filled with fat.  Pasty white and doughy (and sometimes drunk) is no way  to go through life.  I could have done better.

    The diet gurus change their  particular suggestions weekly but the theme remains the same; eat a  variety of foods, eat everything –good and bad – in moderation, get out  and get some exercise as often as you can.   I suggest limiting your  eating to items that are either delicious or nutritious.  It sounds  crazy but I’ve noticed a lot of what we eat is filler and eaten either  out of boredom or for social reasons. 

    When it comes to exercise, Nike  said it best in the 80’s, “Just Do It.”  It can be anything you want it  to be; walking, jogging, running, swimming, biking, baseball,  basketball, football, golf, tennis, lacrosse or all of the above.  As a  matter of fact, like diet, a wide variety of exercise, done in  moderation is the best.  

    Exercise is like  a brutally  honest friend; the relationship will develop and change over time, it  will always give you direct and honest feedback and if you leave it, you  will miss it.  Your relationship with exercise will require you to  change and evolve.  What feels good today might be too painful tomorrow  and you will have to change.  Try to develop a relationship with  exercise that is steady not mercurial and learn some exercises that you  can do your whole life, not just ones you can do today. 

    I hate to exercise but I love the  effects.  So I trick myself into exercising.  If I am supposed to be  headed to the gym I tell myself that I all I have to do is drive to the  gym parking lot and if I don’t want to go in then I don’t have to.   Usually I go in,  but sometimes I have to trick myself into going  in to  the gym so I tell myself, ‘just go in and you can quit at any time  during the workout.’  Ninety five percent of the time, I finish the  workout and 100% of the time I am glad I went and I feel good about it. 

    Even if you are a professional  athlete you have to develop a long term relationship with exercise.  I  would even suggest having separate exercise time away from your work out  time.  When you are a pro or even an enthusiast, like someone who does  triathlons, you are combining your exercise time with your work time or  your hobby time.  This can be a dangerous proposition as an injury  directly effects your sources of happiness and money and could lead to  emotional and mental consequences.  Avoid this by developing a  relationship with, not a dependence on, exercise; your brutally honest  friend that you can’t live without.