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Saturday, June 29, 2013

sloth...sin or not?

No, no, no. That title has nothing to do with the lack of blogging up in here. Get that idea right out of your head.  

As anyone who has ever worked in an office can attest, people's co-workers see what they eat and don't eat and they all a.) seem to have an opinion on that and b.) mostly aren't shy about voicing it.  And as anyone who has ever worked in an office primarily composed of women can attest, the average (American, at least) woman is either overweight or thinks she is and starts a new diet and/or fitness plan on the average of every second Monday.  Put these two facts together and your average fit female office worker is going to get some interesting comments lobbed her way.  And thus a friend who has lifted heavy for four consistent years, regularly jogs part of the way to and from work, and tracks almost every morsel of food that goes into her mouth (and has a stunningly beautiful body to show for it) was told the other day that well, the reason she looks like she does is "good genetics."  O-kay.

In the discussion that developed in response to my friend telling us about this little wtf moment, I reflected that I was fortunate.  My former co-workers saw me lose 15-20lbs from diet alone and then start working out seriously and become fitter and fitter-looking in the process. They were completely aware of the amount of work and effort and self-discipline that went into it.  Someone meeting me today for the first time might be under the misapprehension that I'm naturally on the thinner side or that I've always been athletic and thus athletic-looking or that the reason that I'm not overweight is because I'm one of those people who doesn't like tasty food and beer, and thus might make wrongheaded and dismissive comments. My former co-workers, having lived through my bodily (I hate this word, but) "transformation" with me, absolutely didn't.

What they did say--all of them at least somewhat overweight and all of them not happy about it and continually (like I said above) starting a new diet on Monday that usually crashed and burned by Thursday--was "I couldn't do what you do, Andrea."  And they were correct. They couldn't. Because they just didn't care enough to. They didn't want to enough.  Which is IMO absolutely fine.  As I reflected the other day when we were discussing this, my own immersion in getting really fit occurred at a time when my elderly dad who I had been taking care of passed away suddenly, my son who had been really ill for some time had reached a point where he was no longer in crisis at all, and I went through the break up of a relationship. Put all those things together and I suddenly had lots of free Andrea Time to go to the gym. Could I have worked out as much as I do now when I was caretaking two other people, working five days a week, and trying to carry on a romantic relationship? Well, yeah, I could have been one of those people who gets up at 4:30am every day to be at the gym at 5.

I'm not one of those people.

Yes, strictly speaking, no matter how little time I had, I could have made time for the gym. I did, however, not have the energy or the will to do so. And I think that's just fine. I don't judge myself or anyone else who doesn't shoehorn six+ hours a week of working out into their schedule. Sometimes there are more important things in life than having a quote unquote good body. Sometimes those more important things include lying on the couch watching baseball.  No one should feel guilty if they put other priorities ahead of losing weight or gaining muscle or becoming the fastest or strongest 45 year old on their block.  People are allowed to decide for themselves how much effort they want to put in to their appearance and their physical fitness. I firmly believe in that.

On the other hand--you knew there was a "but" coming, right?  On the other hand, I have a real problem condoning people who are completely sedentary.  I won't judge you if you never step foot inside a gym. I won't judge you if you have thirty pounds to lose but you don't really care enough about it to pass up the cannolis. Because, shit, cannolis, man, they're fucking delicious.  I will judge you if you get in the car to drive two blocks. And it's not raining or below freezing, okay? I will judge you if you sit on the bench at the playground watching your kids run around. More than 50% of the time, okay?  I will judge you if you let yourself get so completely out of shape that sprinting a few yards to catch a train makes you feel like you're gonna die or you're so weak that (like a friend's mom who's not much older than I am) you can't carry your own vacuum cleaner up to the second floor. People with actual medical conditions excepted, okay?

There's not making your body a priority and then there's neglecting it such that your actual quality of life is affected.  Two different things.

Please feel free in comments to tell me how full of shit I am. In either direction!



  1. Neurghhhh I need to think about this post and come back. I agree with you. But I hate myself for agreeing with you because we shouldn't judge at all. Judging isn't going to achieve anything and until we walk a mile in their shoes....
    But on the surface I agree with you. If you aren't healthy enough to play with your kids in the playground I will judge you.

  2. I have a hard time with people who whine and complain about being "fat" or out of shape but then never even try to do anything about it. Instead they come up with every excuse why they can't.

  3. I go back and forth over whether I think being completely nonjudgmental is a good thing. In a way, I think NO ONE is, and therefore people who think they are are just fooling themselves and are probably judging unconsciously. Which is worse than being aware that you're judging and feeling mildly guilty about it ;-)

  4. Having followed tree peters over here from Cranky Fitness, I must confess that I sometimes drive three-tenths of a mile to work when it is not cold or raining. It's not because I'm unfit, however, it's because I'm running late. It takes me seven minutes to walk there, and only one minute to drive. You may judge me for being lazy and not getting out of the door on time, yes. On the other hand, today I walked in what turned out to be a twenty-four hour total of 3.8 inches of rain. I was soaked. And I enjoyed it.
    The other reason I drive to work is when I have to go to the grocery or something; experience has shown that if I go home first, I'll stay there and run out of cheese.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky