Exercise and Why I Don't Do It

I recently went to the doctor. Not a big deal, but I just hate the forms you have to fill out, and how they always weigh you, even if you're there for a throat issue (which I was). And then they ask you questions like, "Do you drink alcohol, smoke, are you pregnant, etc. etc. etc." I know these are all valid questions, designed to help the doctor get an overall picture of your health. (I actually love filling out the history part, where I get to check "no" on all these diseases I've never heard of. It makes me feel so healthy. Weird, I know.) But the question I always hate is: How much do you exercise? Are you doing 30 minutes of aerobics daily? Weekly? Monthly? Basically, have you ever seen a treadmill in your life? The reason I hate this question is fairly obvious. I have to give the wrong answer: I don't exercise. I'm extremely sedentary, and have entertained the idea that I'm possibly allergic to physical activity. I walk away from doctor's visits either feeling really guilty, or trying to convince myself that they are all liars. Why don't I exercise? I've examined this, and the main reason I've come up is not a very good one, and is actually quite shameful, so I probably shouldn't share it, but here goes. (Deep breath): I'm already skinny. It's all completely genetic, I did absolutely nothing to deserve it, and I understand that most people can't eat Almond Roca and whole milk for breakfast and get away with it. BUT since everyone else can't tell that I don't exercise, I don't feel the need to do so. By society's views, I take care of myself, because I am thin, even though if all things were equal, I would certainly not be on the skinny side of things. Oh, the shame! I live in fear that someday my metabolism will shift, and I'll have no idea how to handle it. How awful is that? I would only exercise if it would change my body enough for other people to think that I look good? The health risks aren't a big enough motivator? I don't want my heart and bones to be strong? I don't want to avoid complications down the road? I don't want my immune system strengthened, and my cancer risk lowered, and blah blah blah blah blah? Of course I do, I just don't want to put any effort into it. Exercise hurts. It takes time. It makes me smell bad. Pass the candy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinness and weight don't necessarily equate to "healthy."

How's your resting heart rate and blood pressure? Cholestorol?

12/15/2005 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie J said...

anonymous is right. I'm skinny too--maybe a little too skinny for my weight. I do exercise but struggle with it because then it makes my metabolism faster and then I lose more weight. But I still walk 45 minutes 3 times a week because it makes me feel good. It gives me more energy and makes me feel better about myself in general.

You're right though in saying that society doesn't think we need to exercise if we are already thin. I hate the looks and the questions when I tell people that I exercise. "Why? Do you want to lose MORE weight?" "No, I just want to be healthy."

BTW If you don't exercise now you just may end up with one of those diseases you have never heard of later...

12/15/2005 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Oh, I know I'm not healthy just because I'm skinny. There are a ton of people out there way healthier than I am who weigh more. Which is why it's so shameful that I don't exercise.

My heart rate is a little high, my blood pressure's actually really good, and while my total cholesterol number is high, my ratio of good to bad cholesterol is great, which they say is more important than the total number. (Although it has been a while since it's been tested.)

12/15/2005 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous claire said...

Hi The Wiz, I actually just posted a response to you on T&S (not showing up yet for some reason). Anyway, FYI for you and others, I've read taht cholestorol levels go up in lactating women. They return to normal later though.

And don't worry, those of us who aren't genetically skinny take comfort in knowing (hoping?)your metabolism WILL shift, sooner or later. :-)

12/15/2005 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Hey, Yoga doesn't feel like exercise (although it can hurt, but it doesn't have to!), makes your butt look great, doesn't take too long (I do about 10-15 minutes a day--well, that's my goal, anyway), and it definitely doesn't make you stink. Plus, you can do it in the comfort of your own bedroom, your hallway, or even in your child's playroom with him climbing gleefully on your back while you do "downward facing dog."

So do some yoga, or get one of those pilates bouncy balls. They are tons of fun, they make your kids laugh, and they really do a work out on your legs while getting your heart rate up. What could be better? You could probably even eat candy on the ball, but I would do it between bounces so you don't choke!

I do think it's an interesting point that you bring up, though, that people equate body size with health. I know a woman with diabetes, and although she's not fat, you would never call her skinny. Thick would be a better term for her. Looking at her, you would never know that she has run at least 3 marathons. She could probably run most skinny people into the ground, and yet she definitely does not give off a traditional or popular picture of health. Sad.

12/15/2005 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Heather-do you have a Yoga video that you would recommend to a beginner?
the Wiz-ever heard of Juice Plus? Gives you that extra healthy kick with just a twist of a bottle and a swig of water!

12/15/2005 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


I started with "Yoga Journal: Yoga for beginners." I think I got it at Costco. Then I just periodically picked up exercise videos at the library, and now I just do my own routine, or asana.

12/15/2005 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Claire -

I didn't see your comment over on T&S, but with the sheer number of comments, it's highly possible I might have missed it. Did you have an answer to my question about the midwives being able to suction the lungs? I don't know if anyone would be able to answer it really and truly, since they weren't there and can't answer to specifics, but I'm just curious if that's something they do.

12/15/2005 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Oh, and carol-

No, I've never heard of Juice Plus. What is it? A vitamin drink of some sort?

12/15/2005 06:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Another Heather said...

I was the same as you. Now at 31, things are shifting for me. I was approached by a woman a month ago, who came to me with outstretched hands, headed towards my belly--she thought (incorrectly) that I was expecting. Oh the joy! I think I took it in stride, only because my husband and I have made some jokes about it. Though, I must admit I am now searching for some sort of motivation to get me moving. I am pretty certain it would be too difficult for me to change my eating habits--I like food! Also, I do want to be healthy and lively for my children. My mother was a very thin petite woman, often wearing sizes 1 and 3, but she had terrible health. Good luck with the waistline and your health.

12/15/2005 09:30:00 PM  
Anonymous heather h said...

Can I join your club? I too am skinny and unhealthy. I have a disgusting closet addiction to fast food. It's horrible.

Just wondering, and kinda off topic...what's up with people saying that "skinny" is in and that we all have to be as skinny as models or actresses and such. BUT then on the flip side I cannot tell you how many flip sarcastic remarks I have had to take from people about my weight. I get mean comments simply for being skinny. What is up with that?!

12/15/2005 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

the Wiz- fruits and veggies in capsules. my mom's a health nut and got me started on it to make me a healthier person. www.juiceplus.com/+cc90042

12/15/2005 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Ok, cursed be all you skinny women who can eat! Cursed, I say!!!
A voice from the other camp calls out, in dismay and agony, as the egg whites and whole wheat toast I ate last year are still on my butt!
I throw up EVERY single day of my pregnancies and I STILL gain weight! Oh, woe is me!

12/15/2005 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie J said...

Heather H, It's like they resent us! This girl thought it was just fine that I have a problem keeping weight on. She says she wishes she had the same problem. Uh, no you don't. It the same problem that fat people have. It's really hard for some people to lose weight. It's really hard for me to gain weight. Why is it so hard to understand??

Okay, sorry. this is a sore spot for me.

12/16/2005 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Jamie j and heather h -

I have found kindred spirits! People tell me how great it is that I don't gain weight, but then I also get a lot of comments on the opposite as well. I'm still not quite sure how to handle them, I just kind of roll my eyes and shrug.

The best one, though, was when a nurse asked me if I was anorexic. I just thought "Oh, yeah, I'm anorexic. Because anorexics really admit it when they are asked. You are a total idiot."

12/16/2005 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous marta said...

Dear Wiz, how many children do you have? You exercise.

12/16/2005 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie J said...

The Wiz,
So true!!!

12/16/2005 11:20:00 PM  
Anonymous heather h said...

wiz, I cannot beleive that you actually said that to her!!!

I was asked in high school if I was anorexic, I said no but I didn't even know what it was! I had to go home and ask my parents what the word meant.

I think we should all either A. learn to be happy where we are or B. learn to be happy with healthy.

Maybe I can say this because I am skinny but...not eveyone can weigh as little as me. I hate when I hear of women with bigger builds starving themselves trying to achieve a size 6. Some body types just aren't made to be 6's. So give it up! Enjoy life and enjoy food in moderation. be healthy (excercise and eat good foods), and if you are still a size 10, well then learn to love it- don't try to be something you are not. It has taken me many years to learn to be ok with my skinny legs. But, that is me, that is how I am biult and I just will always have skinny legs.

12/18/2005 08:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

There's a new game out for Playstation 2 that's an exercise program. It uses the Eyetoy, which is a camera that is used for virutal reality games. The camera films you and puts you IN the game--you see yourself onscreen, and your movements affect the game. The exercise game (called Eyetoy Kinetic) has different things you can do, but one example is blue and red balls float down the screen, and you have to hit only the blue balls. It's one of the coolest things I've ever seen, and I'm gonna get it for Christmas. I think it'll actually get me to exercise.


12/19/2005 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Maralise said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/20/2005 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Maralise said...

The most telling part of your commentary was this:

"I live in fear that someday my metabolism will shift, and I'll have no idea how to handle it."

I understand your fear although mine is a quite opposite in that I live in fear that if I don't eat and exercise to the satisfaction of some unknown diet god that I will turn into Oprah in the 80s (because I've been there). So, I guess the fear of what we don't feel like we can control is at the base of this issue. And that is universal whether you're thin or heavy due to genetics or otherwise. Thank you for your commentary and honesty.

12/20/2005 02:41:00 PM  

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