In yesterday’s tomato post, Joy commented that eating garden-grown vegetables is a metaphor that helps people understand what is OK to consume. Our modern food culture, where anything goes, doesn’t encourage long-term health, so eating what you can grow is one way to learn to maintain weight.
Of course, you can buy plenty of produce at the grocery store too (I often scan my cart for a “virtue factor” — how much is produce, milk, eggs and other such things, vs. how much is processed junk). And the other major way to learn to maintain one’s weight is to exercise a lot.
For a variety of reasons, this latter option isn’t going to be easy in a world where we drive our cars everywhere. The best way to know you’ll walk briskly for 40 minutes per day is to live a 20-minute walk from your train station, not have a parking spot, and be constantly running late. This way the hustle is built into your life, morning and night. Many people don’t have easy access to parks or bike trails, and doing workout DVDs or running on a treadmill in a basement is just depressing.
But a high volume of exercise is the method that works for some of us, and these past few months, I feel like I’ve lucked into a situation that makes running quite rewarding. My home here in Pennsylvania is within walking (running) distance of two nature preserves. If I get up at 6:20AM, I can be out the door by 6:30, and home by 7:15, after a romp through some amazing natural landscapes. The sun streams through the overgrown trees along the trail. I often startle deer who are also enjoying the quiet, and step over earthworms who are enjoying a muddy breakfast. This morning, the mix of sun and clouds led to a fantastic rainbow. Early in the morning, the air is cooler, and fewer cars and people out means no one stares at my comical appearance.
Because, of course, as I round 32 weeks into this pregnancy, the stunning scenery becomes more important as running becomes more difficult. But as with the weather, just because yesterday was bad doesn’t mean the next day will be.
I think, as with jobs, finding modes of exercise we can stick with long term requires some hunting. It requires trying different things, and tweaking variables like time of day (running in the early AMs is a new discovery for me) and the faith that over time, all difficult things get easier. When I started running a few years ago, I couldn’t go a mile. Now that’s doable even with another little person along for the ride, kicking merrily as she enjoys the fresh morning air on the trails as well.
(Photo courtesy flickr user mahalie)