Food and Exercise

I’m here to talk about food. Food and exercise. This afternoon I pulled on my running shoes and went for a jog. The whole time, I was thinking about how much I hate jogging—I can’t breathe, I immediately get a stitch in my side, my ankle hurts, my knees ache. I was also trying to remind myself that I feel really good when I get enough exercise. Generally, the crankier I am, the likelier it is that I haven’t been outside or climbing in the gym in a while. Make no mistake—I HATE the idea of exercise. I love to ride my bike—especially mountain biking—but it’s exhausting. I love to climb in the gym, but I hate postponing dinner to head over there after a long day at work. I love to ice climb, but I hate being cold. I love caving, but I hate worrying about how scared I’ll be. I love running about with friends, but I hate the idea of spending an afternoon playing soccer. I love swimming, but I hate suiting up and sliding into cold water. I hate jogging. Yes, I just hate it. But the easiest exercise to get in the middle of day is pulling on stretchy clothes, pocketing my iPod, and lacing up my really cool Adidas (bought when I was laboring through triathlons a few summers ago). Then heading out to the bike path near work and going ten minutes in one direction until—thank goodness!—my watch beeps and I can turn back. Luckily, I inherited some of my dad’s desire for a regular schedule, which has made it easier to get in the habit of exercising. In college and grad school it was Abs of Steel, every other day, for years. I still do exercise videos that Dad taped from the TV back in the 80s—Denise Austin and Basic Training: The Workout with Ada Janklowitcz. I also did Buns of Steel for a while, until I realized that building muscle in your rear means building your rear.

Anyway, I hate jogging. And I hate the idea that I get a bunch of exercise and then I have to do it again! I should immediately look like a movie star. It’s all well and good to be healthy (as always, The Magic Mountain comes to mind), but I’m already fairly healthy. If I’m going to kill myself huffing and puffing up the path, I want to be gorgeous at the end of it, immediately!

I also exercise because I LOVE FOOD. I love it as much as I hate jogging (maybe more). Dinner is a beautiful reward for a workday. Breakfast soothes the pain of having to be awake. Lunch is probably my least favorite, but at work it gives me time to read for fun and enjoy some leftovers. I’ve always loved to eat, but I have no appetite. I’m never hungry. I think I have a terribly slow metabolism and I eat because it’s finally time, hooray! So I simply must exercise. I’ve struck a happy balance with my body. I eat more than I should, but I don’t worry about what I’m eating, and I live comfortably with the results.

I’ve recently discovered that I love to cook, and I’m also learning that I like to garden. I love to eat vegetables that taste like they’re supposed to, and that have to have the dirt washed off before I can eat them. I’d love to learn to can and learn how to freeze things in useable quantities—so I could pull out carrots in the middle of winter for a soup or a stew. (Advice welcome.) Since I’m talking about cooking, I’ll mention that we’re having a dinner party tomorrow. Dave suggested that I make either Indian food or stir-fry, but I decided on blue cheese rigatoni and spinach salad, with pineapple upside-down cake for dessert. If it turns out well, I’ll post the recipes.