Yesterday Theodora wrote a post on Hollaback Health about the idea of happiness and health blogging and how bloggers’ happiness is infectious. I’m a pretty happy blogger; I’m a total optimist, and I’ve got good cheer and motivation to spare. But as I lay in bed last night, totally exhausted from my workout, I was thinking that I sometimes feel like health bloggers’ sweetness is a little more Splenda than they’d like to admit. I think that when we’re really passionate about something and want other people to be too, there’s an inclination to make it seem easy. But…sometimes being healthy sucks.
I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer, but this is true. And I realized I wanted you guys to know that while I truly love cooking healthy food and doing workouts that make me feel good, yeah, there are things about healthy living that make me want to give a middle finger to the treadmill and go slide down a tequila water slide and then frolic in a bagel ball crawl.
Top Ten Reasons I Sometimes Get All, “BUT WHYYYYY DIDN’T GOD MAKE ME NATURALLY SKINNNNNYYYYY????”
10. It requires a lot of mental energy. Sometimes I think that if I put half the time and effort I spent into thinking about my body between the ages of 13 and 24, into, I don’t know, real issues, we wouldn’t have global warming. You know how people say women and girls aren’t encouraged to do math? This is bullshit. Pounds, calories, carbs, inches — women love numbers. We do math a lot; I’m guessing you can figure out percent of calories from fat faster than any dude. You don’t need a calculator when you have a vagina.
9. It requires time. Too much time? I don’t know because I don’t know anymore what it’s like to not grocery shop, to not cook every meal at home, to not work out. Why do I buy so many infomercial products? Because I need all the time-savers I can get! The extra two minutes it takes to pull out a colander instead of draining the pasta with the lid of the pan (brilliant BTW) are two minutes I need!! Two minutes of lunges…go!!!!
8. It requires me to wash my hair way more than I’d like to. Seriously, I hate washing my hair and blow-drying it so much. If it weren’t for that, I’d do cardio all the time! Anytime of day! I love cardio!! I love getting sweaty! But dear God, I want the sweat to go away when the workout ends. Even if the workout doesn’t take that long, showering seems to take forever. (So then I’m just like, Well, fuck, if I have to wash my hair anyway, I might as well go for 45 minutes, and then, before I know it, the day is half over.) When I got injured at the beginning of 2009 and couldn’t work out, I could sleep in by an extra two hours — because that was 20 minutes of gym travel, 30 minutes of gym time, and more than an hour of shower time I didn’t have to worry about.
7. People can be really rude about healthy choices. I’m sure we’ve all faced those moments when someone judges our healthy food or gives us a ‘tude about not having another margarita. Yes, I’d like to have an all-you-can-eat life, but I’d also like the energy to get off the couch, something that’s hard to come by when I don’t make healthy choices.
6. Sometimes it hurts. Last night, my neck hurt, my hips hurt, and I was overwhelmingly exhausted, all from kicking my own ass. Usually it feels good in a “hurts so good” kinda way. Other times I wish my DNA would sculpt my thighs so I didn’t have to. I hear that there are people out there who don’t get off the couch and therefore do not ever find themselves clawing through a bottle of narcotics due to their quest for health. Oh…hmm…lucky them!
5. It’s not cheap. Yes, it can be cheap, and I find ways to make it cheap (which require more mental energy and math; see #10), but it’s definitely a matter of making sacrifices. And sure, it’s cheaper than a triple bypass surgery, which is why I do it. But you know what? When I look at my twentysomething friends, it’s frustrating that some of them don’t spend a dime on a fitness routine or on healthy food. So let’s not get into a conversation about our 401(k) plans, OK?
4. Guys don’t always get it. I can’t deal with guys who don’t care about their health…or maybe they just can’t deal with me. It’s no surprise that when I was at my unhealthy-diet-craziest I was attracted to wrestlers. I needed someone more vain than I was. I don’t always want to date jocks, but athletic guys are on the same page. They’re also more into their bodies than they are into me.
3. Trans fats don’t taste bad. I love healthy food, but I love all food. And that means, that yes, I love me some low-brow, processed, shitty food. Not as much as I used to and not really even so much that I miss not eating it, but yes, I admit that it would be awesome if eating a donut and a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast every day did not leave me feeling like crap.
2. I can’t party as much. The fact is, sometimes my instincts are more Lindsay Lohan than Carrie Underwood. But I know if I don’t get to bed by midnight, I feel awful the next day, which tends to kill all my healthy intentions. Add a hangover to this, and I’m looking at a healthy-goal disaster. So I call it an early night more often than not which makes weekends/social life/dating a huge pain in the ass.
1. It’s hard to be spontaneous. I think this is the hardest thing for me, especially because in the past it’s had a big effect on friendships and dating. I wish I could go out to dinner or for drinks at the drop of a hat and never worry about “bedtime.” As I get older and smarter, I’ve gotten better at making it work. I can enjoy food and indulge and honor my cravings. I skip workouts when I need to skip them and remind myself that having a good body is dumb if you have no friends and no life. But sometimes I wish I could say yes to every invitation, heart health and waistline and cellulite be damned.
But the thing is…it’s worth it. It really is. And I know that we want people to think it’s easy so they’ll do it, but good things require effort! Maybe because it’s not easy to get up a half hour early to work out is why it feels so damn good when we do it. And whenever I get too whiny, I remember that when I got injured and started living out my bagel and tequila fantasy, I felt like crap.
So even when it’s a pain in the ass, I don’t regret choosing to live a healthy life at all. Being sore is better than being sluggish; dating jocks is fun sometimes because they can toss you around; and, really, being poor, healthy, and cute is totally fine with me.