Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Everybody's Doing It

For today's post, I point you to this comment made on Manolo for the Big Girls:

(And, by the way, I’ve got a healthier lifestyle than I used to have, too.
But that was my decision. Nobody else’s. As it should be for all of us.)

That's a good way of putting it, don't you think? Because everybody's doing it. I'm doing it, my family's doing it, my friends are doing it, even Afrobella is doing it. (Note to self: add Afrobella to blogroll.) Everybody's making the conscious decision to eat a lot healthier... and if somebody had to say so in order for us to do it, that was from our own volition. Nobody else's.

I, for one, am painfully aware that I'm bombarded by messages every day to Eat Something Healthy. There isn't a day at the supermarket that goes by where I don't see something or somebody telling me to eat healthy. Some of it can be outright lies (Safeway, I hate you for taking the flax cereal off the shelves and putting HFC in your Eating Right cookies), some of it can be blatant marketing (shut up, Bob Green) and some of it could actually be good for me. But do I listen? Well, two times out of five, I do... but that's not enough.

And don't get me started on my student teaching "job," where my lunch breaks are punctuated by listening in on my fellow teachers talking about how their diets affect their health and their teaching. Which reminds me: If there's any person whose lifestyles and careers should be affected by their diets, it's teachers like us. Sure, there are those the God-knows-if-it's-good-for-you lunches offered by our cafeterias every single day, but it's painfully evident why we have to stay healthy. Not just because we want to be role models for the kids, but we also want to be, you know, not dead by the time the little varmints are done with us. What good is our job, after all, if we can't have the stamina to chase after the kids, or our immune systems are weak enough to take us down with a nasty virus every time somebody touches us? What about our blood sugar levels, hormonal surges, and all the other things that affect our level of crankiness?

So I made the commitment. I switched my breakfast from coffee and pastries to multigrain cereal and green tea, and made sure I woke up early enough to make them. I found a bus route that enabled me to walk 20 minutes - uphill, I tell you! - from the bus stop to the school, just so I could get the exercise and still be warmed up by the time I get to the classroom. I studied the cafeteria schedule closely so I could pack a healthy lunch on the days when I don't feel like eating what they're serving. And those are just the small steps, mind you - but that's where everybody has to start, right?

I'm already a pants size down from all the heavy lifting I had to do when I worked at the store; I won't be surprised if I'm a lot smaller by the time graduation comes around in May. That, however, is just a small bonus for me. If I can make it through the next few months without getting sick, losing my energy, or losing my head altogether, that would be the best thing that could happen to me.

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