Getting It: When Being Healthy Sucks

by Rachel on April 15, 2010

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.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Diana April 15, 2010 at 7:56 am

It’s true, sometimes it’s hard as hell. But it’s sooo worth it. :)
.-= Diana´s last blog ..The 80’s and 90’s. =-.

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2 Melissa April 15, 2010 at 8:04 am

Such a good post! I agree with every single one of your reasons why being healthy sucks sometimes…I’ve definitely faced (and continue to face) all of them. But then I remember how proud I feel by doing things I never thought I’d do (like running races) or challenging myself with new workouts. These challenges are such a major part of my life now and I’m not entirely sure what I’d focus on without them… Plus, the people around me seem to have caught the running bug and it makes me feel so good that they feel good! And as for eating, I think learning to eat healthy now, early in our lives, will help us later. Obviously now we’re mostly focusing on looking good naked ;) but later in life, when we face losing baby weight (!) or feeding a family or a changing body as we age, we’ll know how to make good choices. In the long run, the benefits definitely outweigh the sucky reasons, but its nice to vent every once in awhile!! btw – love your blog!

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3 skinny latte April 15, 2010 at 8:06 am

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Agree with everything you said. Anything worthwhile takes effort…but my God I wouldn’t have life any other way.
.-= skinny latte´s last blog ..the grumpy run =-.

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4 Lauren @ Eater not a runner April 15, 2010 at 8:18 am

I LOVE this post. No one ever brings these things up! #8 is why I stopped blowdrying my hair……

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5 Yasmin April 15, 2010 at 8:25 am

So honest and true especially number 10! I wish I could be more spontaneous but my wallet and health can’t afford it at times.

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6 Melissa (It's a Veggieful Life) April 15, 2010 at 8:42 am

Well said! I wish I’d started being healthy when I was your age (or younger) instead of waiting until 40. Weight loss comes easy when you do it the “cheap” way and eat the crappy “diet” foods on the market, but it’s not lasting and it’s not healthy. And once you reach my age, it’s not so easy to lose weight and things are already starting to head south. :)
.-= Melissa (It’s a Veggieful Life)´s last blog ..Fat Flush Fruit Smoothies =-.

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7 erin April 15, 2010 at 8:55 am

so so so so true. it is so tough being healthy – i get criticized all the time. It’s like WTH i’m doing this to make my life better. lay off!

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8 Laura April 15, 2010 at 9:07 am

AH! Just the motivation I needed! I totally agree with you, and sometimes I let thinking about how I cant eat Chipotle every day of my life and have blackout drunk nights with my girlfriends discourage me from wanting to be healthy. But I know that a 1700 calorie burrito and 12 shots could never make me feel as good as I do when I look good and eat things that make my body happy! Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one that thinks “FML” sometimes ;)

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9 Ashley April 15, 2010 at 9:20 am
10 Maggie April 15, 2010 at 9:34 am

So many great points. I think the social stuff is definitely the most difficult for me. People can be so rude and disparaging about my choice to not go out or not have another drink.
.-= Maggie´s last blog ..The Hills =-.

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11 Nikki (YogaCookies) April 15, 2010 at 10:04 am

I can definitely relate to this post… especially in the partying department. Though I’m not much of a party girl, I do like hanging out with friends, kickin back a few beers and talking all night around a bonfire. But these days, those extra calories and mindless snacking take a toll on my body. I still drink crafty beers, but in moderation. No more than 2 or 3 if I can afford it when in a social setting. And I’ve reduced the amount consumed at home to once a week when we grill out.

And No.8 is definitely my biggest annoyance! I used to never wash my hair daily, but now I have to unless I get a day off from working out. I’ve been deep conditioning my hair 3 times a week now to make up for the dryness, even with moisture-rich shampoos & conditioners, it seems to help a bit.

But, it’s all worth the hard work.
.-= Nikki (YogaCookies)´s last blog ..Fun lunch recipe: Kale & Mozzarella Quesadilla! =-.

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12 Anna April 15, 2010 at 10:05 am

I really liked this post. I’ve been running for a while but only recently started to eat better food–and sometimes all I want is a vat full of Kraft macaroni & cheese, or maybe 5 or 6 mini pizzas…but every time I indulge on that level I feel awful. And when I spend a week sleeping in instead of getting a quick workout in before work, I feel…not great! So, even though it’s not the easiest, it’s really worth it. Thanks for the reminder!

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13 Laura Georgina April 15, 2010 at 10:56 am

I totally agree on ALL of it–especially that it’s totally worth it. But I do wonder how my Latin sisters of times past kept their booties so up and round and the rest of themselves so small before running shoes, gym machines, and exercise video crazes (dancing excluded).

I especially love reason 8–only last night I was boring the poor husband with details of why I want a new hairstyle/highlights, but couldn’t do it with the constant exercise-induced hair washing nonsense. I’ve come to seriously dislike people who work out and don’t sweat (um, my mom!)… Your hair? Lovely. Totally worth the effort, says me.
.-= Laura Georgina´s last blog ..The Big Anniversary Post: In Which I Show My Itsy Bitsy Grinchy Heart =-.

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14 Keri @ Iron Mountain Movement April 15, 2010 at 10:58 am

I only blow dry my hair now on Wednesday afternoons and weekends!

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15 samantha April 15, 2010 at 11:11 am

GREAT post. sometimes i look at my friends who can eat what they want and still wear a size 2 and i just sigh.

life isn’t fun if you forego plans to workout all the time, but life also isn’t fun if you are held back by your insecurities (my case).

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16 Katy April 15, 2010 at 11:27 am

I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS. I’m always questioning whether its me being a health “freak” or my friends and family who aren’t being supportive when “questioning me about not having another margarita.” Two of my favorites:

“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?”

and

“The fact is, sometimes my instincts are more Lindsay Lohan than Carrie Underwood.”
^I feel the same way, girlllllllll. Keep writing! :)
.-= Katy´s last blog ..…AU has a “Garden Walk”? =-.

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17 Emily April 15, 2010 at 11:41 am

The Mental Energy one is the best description I have ever heard! People are always asking me what foods I miss, but reality I don’t miss any foods, I just miss being able to eat without counting carbs, fats, calories and fiber and not having to read every food label that happens to pass my way!

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18 jessica c. April 15, 2010 at 11:57 am

Hello! Ok, so I have been enjoying your blog for quite sometime, yet haven’t really been commenting. Lurking I suppose:) I have to say I LOVE your blog. I enjoy the humor and fun it brings to my day, plus all of the great information. Gotta say I loved the recent post on bras… my girls need something new and fabulous this summer and it was perfect timing! Keep up the fun recommendations!

This post today is fabulous! It is exactly what I needed. I have been feeling down on my weightloss/shape up/become more fabulous journey and this was a great reminder that I am not alone. I was just whining last night…. why??? why do i have to work so hard?? i hate washing my hair! and being responsible!! and working so hard!! whyyyyyy?? Thanks for helping me to remember why :)

xo
Jessica C.

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19 sarah @ syrupandhoney April 15, 2010 at 11:59 am

#7 forreal! i work in an office that seriously lack health consciousness and have been badgered by coworkers for both taking walks during the day and for bringing meals without meat. okay i eat meat but i’m comfortable not having it with every meal – sorry if my culinary expertise kicks your ass.

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20 Alicia April 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm

A big YES to #7. EVERY Monday, one of our volunteers comments on my veggie wrap, which is then followed up with another comment along the lines of “yes, she does eat!” UGH.
.-= Alicia´s last blog ..restaurant review: The Cornerstone Brewing Company =-.

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21 Sophie @ yumventures April 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Girl, you hit the nail right on the head! Sometimes I JUST want wings and cheesy bread for dinner! But then I know how I will feel that night, and the next day. THANK YOU for always being so honest…just because you live and eat in a healthy way doesn’t mean you have to like it all the time!

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22 Robyn April 15, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I so know what you mean about bedtime! I remember the Glory Days in college where staying up until 5 in the morning and having to be in class at 8 was no big thing. Now, if I’m up past midnight, I feel like hell the next day. What happened in two years? I’m still young, right? Right?! Gaaaahh!
.-= Robyn´s last blog ..icanhazcoffee: has laundry drying, a glass of wine in hand and has Carla Bruni turned up . . . Love this moment. =-.

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23 Bronwyn April 15, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Wow, this is so true on so many levels.

Sometimes I hate that I have all these worries my friends seem to NOT care about. And it sucks that sometimes I don’t go have the same fun because I know how shitty I’ll feel the next day and how I won’t be able to work out as well… But I also know in 10 years they’re going to be wishing they had done more (as ridiculous as that might seem) so it’s ok.

Sigh, I just wish I could find a guy in a like minded situation. ;)
.-= Bronwyn´s last blog ..Focusing =-.

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24 Stephanie April 15, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Awesome post! And oh my god so true! It truly can be so difficult. Sometimes I just want to throw my hands up and say fuck it. I’m eating that pizza and bag of bbq chips. In fact, I’m dumping that bag on top of my pizza and eating a chip pizza!! ha-ha I’m kidding…well kind of…
;)

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25 Carla April 16, 2010 at 2:48 am

Oh Rachel! You never cease to amaze me with your on pointness! I completely agree with you! The kids i teach totally think i’m one of those lucky people that dont really have to work out and that i just honestly dont like junk food! But thats not true! I was a FAT KID and being under 130 lbs is hard WORK for me! I have to bring in pictures to prove to them its not all that easy, and even then they still dont believe me! But honestly you said it best, nothing worth while ever comes easy, so in the end we’re much better off :)

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26 Amy B @ Second City Randomness April 16, 2010 at 10:59 am

Love this! I feel like I’ve lost my edge (as you discuss #1) sometimes, but at least I feel so much better… lol. No more Lindsey moments for me either…
.-= Amy B @ Second City Randomness´s last blog ..Street Lights =-.

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27 az April 17, 2010 at 10:58 pm

#8 is the story of my life!!!

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28 Ana April 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Okay, so I’m a little tardy for the party on the commenting here, but I would just like to thank you for writing this post. ALL of those reasons apply to me, especially number 8. Except for instead of hair, it is my make up. It takes me about 30 minutes to make my face presentable ( yes, 30 and yes, and no, I am not a drag queen.)
I also have a number of twenty something friends, who never cook, constantly drink beer and smoke like, two packs a day. Yet, every morning they wake up with dewy fresh skin and steadily remain at 120 lbs.
On one hand, I loooooove living healthy, I love cooking and exercising, but on the other hand I get really resentful of people who don’t spend the time, effort and money on their health simply because it makes their lives easier.
The weird thing is, that as time goes on, I find my body rejecting any crap that I put into it. Like, I love nachos but eating them makes me feel like shit the next day.
So, once again thank you soooooo much for this post. Kind of makes me feel more normal. I was beginning to think that I was the only organizationally challenged freak out there, and that staying fit and the only one having the getting ready in the morning problems :)

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