all of the selves we Have ever been
I continue my battle with inertia.
Wintry weather and rich holiday food have not helped. It is a profound truth: a body at rest
does remain at rest…I am searching for that outside force that will get me moving in the
Stuffed with Thanksgiving Day dinner leftovers, mostly desserts, I rally the strength to lift a finger and find myself again climbing the tree of knowledge. Health experts and influencers abound on the internet. Surely, there is one who is right for me.
I survey the literature. It turns out that a square meal is not a brownie and a well-rounded meal is not a pie. Who knew? I need a new program. Diet? Exercise? Both?
I scroll down looking for a name I recognize, someone with history and credentials. I see something familiar: “Did you ever eat a pine tree?”
No, Euell Gibbons, I did not--not even a pinecone. I did try Grape Nuts once. I’m pretty sure that was a close encounter. Upon further reading, I discover that dinosaurs considered pinecones a delicacy. I’m not sure that piece of news is a selling feature with dinosaurs being extinct and all. Folklore suggests that a woman should place a pinecone under her pillow if she wants to become pregnant. At my age, that’s one more reason to keep pinecones out of the house. Not the abs I’m looking for.
Euell Gibbons was one of the first health food advocates I can recall from my youth. He was a well-known outdoorsman famous for eating pine trees, cat tails, and other bits of nature. I was pretty fascinated by the man when I was a grade schooler, but now I wonder: can the pinecone spokesman really be trusted? He died at the age of 64 with the cause of death in dispute. Some say he died from heart attack or ruptured aortic aneurysm. Others suspect he died from eating bad food. Bad genes were implicated as well. Maybe not the approach I am looking for…
I move on to another health guru of my young adult years: Jim Fixx. He started a revolution in exercise, making running a very popular sport with the publication of The Complete Book of Running. Fixx turned to running as he attempted to turn his life around. I guess gravity and inertia had gotten to him as well. A history of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day probably hadn’t help. Again, genes were not in his favor. Jim’s father died at a young age from heart disease. Despite his dramatic turnaround, Jim Fixx died of a heart attack during a daily run. He was fifty-two years old.
This is not looking good. I have already outlived the health legends of my youth. It was not through any conscious effort on my part; it was the luck of the draw. I had better genes.
I narrow my search. I need a guru with good health advice and good genes.
Enter Jack LaLanne, of course! He was a staple of daily television beginning in 1959, and he lived to the age of 96. Until his final brief bout of pneumonia which he refused to treat, LaLanne continued to work out each day and operate his fitness empire. As a kid, I admired LaLanne’s jumpsuit and ballet slippers. I thought he might be one of Santa’s more handsome elves.
LaLanne started out with a fifteen minute morning program. Well, I’ve got fifteen minutes. Things are looking up!
And Jack wasn’t so fancy. Low-tech all the way. My kind of guy. He used basic household items like a kitchen chair for his equipment. I’ve still got one of those, and there is not a week’s worth of clothes hanging off the handlebars.
Jack was focused on serving stay-at-home moms of that era. What a perfect time for a comeback. Stay-at-home moms are back in business and looking for curriculum for those remote learning gym classes.
Jack LaLanne referred to body parts as “porches.” The behind was the back porch, the abdomen the front porch…With all of this outdoor social distancing, it’s a perfect time to work on the porches. I go to YouTube and pull up a couple of his workouts. Not too bad.
I dig for his diet tips. The tide turns. It’s a bummer. (Or should I say porcher?) In his real life, LaLanne worked out two hours every morning. After that workout, his breakfast consisted of hardboiled egg whites, a cup of broth, oatmeal with soy milk, and fruit. His only other meal was a dinner of raw veggies, egg whites, and fish. Sounds like prison food. And yet, prisoners are allowed to wear comfortable, loose clothing. They are not tortured by tight waistbands and spandex. An exchange of freedoms…
Maybe I’ll stick with my program. Inert and alone on my big back porch seems like the patriotic thing to do in a pandemic.