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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Putting My Ranty Pants On

Be warned. This is a rant.

On campus we're being offered the opportunity to get fitness classes for a reduced cost, if we jump through a few hoops. The first hoop is to sign on to a social networking site with a fitness bent called BeWell. Okay, fine, whatever. The second hoop is to fill out a health and fitness survey online. This started me getting grumpy because the last section is all about your willingness to change. Here's the thing - I don't need to *change* my lifestyle to be more healthy. I just need to continue doing my best practices. I already exercise at least 3 days a week and usually more, and usually for much longer than the minimum periods. I already eat pretty well, making sure to have a side of whole pinto beans at lunch most days to get my fiber (since finding fresh, hot veggies on campus isn't easy). I eat oatmeal for breakfast every work day. Sure, I've got my vices - coffee and Diet Coke - but I aim for moderation there. I don't smoke. I don't drink save for one or or maybe two cocktails at a party maybe once a month but usually less. I could eat more fresh veg and less empty-calorie carbs, but I do okay. So I get done with the survey and it gives me a bunch of feedback about how my unwillingness to change is the biggest barrier to improving my overall health. There's this explicit assumption that we all must not be taking care of ourselves. Additionally, there's the omnipresent BMI calculator result that says I'm overweight. Hell, it says my boss, who works out every day, doesn't eat normal human food and probably hasn't had a slice of bread (let alone with butter on it) in 20 years. He's the healthiest guy I know, and it said he's overweight. Um, no, actually, he's fit and has muscle, which weighs more than fat, and so doesn't work in the BMI scale. Grr.

So the third hoop to get cheap fitness classes was to attend an "interpretation workshop" which is a one hour session that's not about interpreting your results, but is instead about sitting in a lecture hall getting the lecture about all the stuff in the results section as if they had not been tailored for you to read already. So the lecturer goes on and on about how you have to eat a diet mostly based on plants, choose whole grains, eat fish, blah blah blah. Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, heard it all before. But here's the thing - back when I was working way too many hours and heading home after the grocery stores (or at least Trader Joe's) closed. I did not have time to cook food. I did not have time to pack a lunch. I did not have time to plan ahead. But there's plenty of dining options on campus, right? Well, yeah, sure, if you want burgers, fries, pizza, burritos, noodles, sandwiches and so on. If I want fresh steamed broccoli, I'm out of luck. If I want yummy green beans (like the ones from Whole Foods on Saturday... mmmm...) then no chance. If I want a nice stir fry with lots of fresh cabbage and carrots and spinach and onions and... well, suffice to say I'll have to go elsewhere. Yes, I could have salad, but that never sounds good on a cold winter day. There used to be a Fresh Choice at the Stanford Shopping Center, but that's gone, so even the salad choices are kind of feeble and not very colorful.

So I raise my hand, preface my comment with recent time issues, and ask if there are any plans to bring more healthy, veggie-based food onto campus. She suggests planning ahead and bringing food from home. Um, no. Then she goes onto the next slide and starts talking about BMI. Gah! Then she says if that doesn't work for you, then just go by waist size - less than 35 inches for all women and 40 inches for all men is for the best. Really? So Christyn, who is 10 inches taller than me doesn't get any leeway for a bigger waist than me? I'll now grant that my waist is 28 inches, so I make it well under their marker, but for my body type and size, if my waist gets much bigger than 30 inches, I need to be doing some serious personal reevaluation.

This was the part where I had to tune out and just read my book. Do not argue with the presenter of the required 1 hour course. Just sit. Just wait for the hour to end. Just go back to your desk and sign up for the nice, newly lower priced fitness class. Do not stew about how the campus (or the rest of the United States) is so eager to facilitate bad eating habits and then to chastise you for doing what is easy and available.

Yep, I'm really enjoying reading this book.


  • Absolutely! Take the money and run ;)
    Oh, and the cheap classes? Only if they've fixed the website otherwise you'll be going through the hassle of getting money credited back to your card... [Can't you just tell I've been through the whole thing?] Hope to see you in the dance class they have this Quarter!

    By Blogger rmikusko, at 7:51 PM  

  • Haha! Just had a conversation this weekend about who here would ever need mailed fruit of the month club.

    By Blogger Kim, at 9:47 PM  

  • Ouch. you're not making me want to go through the process to sign up. but I should pick your brain about what classes you're trying for.

    By Blogger tshuma, at 10:13 PM  

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