Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I Like the Way You Work It

When you read a lot (or even a little) of self-help, you notice that everyone has some sort of catch phrase, some bit of prose they intend to their readers to take as a credo. This is my very least favorite: "No food tastes as good as thin feels."

First. You have clearly not tried Brandon's smoked salmon and my potato pancakes with a dollop of sour cream.

Secondly, this credo feels a little too Scarlet Letter for my taste. Every time I read it, I imagined some sad acetic kneeling in a small, darkened room, hairshirt folded over a hard chair, clutching a small whip. No food [WHIP ON THE BACK] tastes [WHIP] as good [SMACK] as thin feels [WHIP, WHIP].

But undeniably, exercise is good for the mood, good for the heart, a good bet for a healthy old ladyhood. As much as I wish it were a conspiracy by the Evil Dieting Consortium of Misogynists, I'm pretty sure it's not.

For a long time, I thought that I might stumble on my true exercising love. I laced up ice skates, envisioning myself confidently gliding out on the ice to the center of the rink, executing a perfect triple axl rose. I once purchased an exercise machine that required its user to lift her own weight. I hit the racquetball court, completely unaware that I would, within the half hour, wind up hitting a ball directly into my face. I'm the Lucy and Ethel of exercise.

It took me embarrassingly long to discover this: Most people who exercise don't like it. When they say they like exercising, they mean they like the feeling that comes after exercising. I have a friend who swims regularly; she told me that every single time, she hates getting in the water. A friend who plays soccer tells me that it's a real pain in the ass to get to her games. Even Ms. Oprah claims she hates her regimen with the personal trainer every single day.

There should be some kind of credo here, a sort of Exercising Inspiration for Pessimists. Maybe: Suck It Up! Or: I Promise This Will Be Over in Thirty Minutes. Or: No Exercise Feels As Good As the Moment You Stop.

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