More threads by Eunoia


this is part of a chapter from Ellen Degeneres' book The Funny Thing is...

"Dieting has to be one of the hardest things for a human being to do, that is besides parallel parking. And unless you're a driving instructor or a valet you know what I'm talking about (she goes on to explain in elaborate detail how akward parallel parking is)... When you decide to go on a diet, it's never because you feel great and want to reward yourself by reducing your food intake and exercising more. The idea usually comes to you after you've gone bathing suit shopping or right before your high school reunion. You feel ugly, depressed, and totally unlovable. Let's face it: These are not healthy states of mind for a major lifestyle change. These are feelings that make you want to curl up with a quart of Haagen- Dazs and watch the Lifetime network all day. Now I'm not saying [some movies don't have their] own healing powers... But if you're already down on yourself, lying on the couch watching reenactments of real-life heroism and eating as much ice cream as you can... is just a quick fix. Eventually, we all have to put the spoon down and get up off the couch.

When I'm feeling flabby, here's how I try to look at it: I've been on summer vacaction with my body, and now it's time to get back to school! Everyone knows you can't learn anything at school that has no teachers. This is why I recommend getting a personal trainer. Now, it sounds very "Hollywood" to have your own personal trainer, but, in fact, they have them at every gym anywhere in the country, maybe even in the world, except Sweden. No one in Sweden goes to the gym. They're all tall and thin and healthy eaters by nature. It's something about the altitude and the fact that no starches are allowed in the country. I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere.

The good thing about personal trainers is that they make you feel guilty. Sure, that sounds bad, but think about it. How many times have you seen someone who jogs around your neighbourhood every day without fail and thought to yourself, "How do they do it?" The answer is, they feel guilty enough on their own to make themselves do it. Sure, if you asked them, they'd say something like, "Oh, I love to jog." That's just ridiculous. No one loves to jog, it's painful and boring. People just feel like they have to. Getting a personal trainer is like buying that same guilty feeling, but with the extra bonus of disappointing someone besides yourself if you flake out. Your practically want to work out. Practically. (she goes on to explain how she got started with her personal trainer)

Rico (her personal trainer) told me in all sincerity one day, "You can go to any rstaurant. Just don't order bread, potatoes, rice, fatty meals, dessert, or wine."
"Let's see, that leaves water and carrots. Sounds delicious." I don't think he heard me. I was about fifteen feet away from him...
"You can eat whatever you want, just eat less of it. You like pizza?"
"Yeah! Let's go get some pizza!" I dropped the medicine ball and ran to get my jacket.
"No, I mean, if you like it you can have it. Just have one slice."
I don't think I've ever had just one slice of pizza. Unless it was one of those really big slices you buy one at a time. But those are easily three slices of regular pizza in one huge slice shape." (story goes on)

I thought this was an interesting take on dieting and healthy living, then again most people can't afford a personal trainer! But the point is to get someone else to help you stick to your HEALTHY routine, like a friend with whom you can exercise. Engaging in a healthy lifestyle, eating right, and exercising isn't just about losing weight, it's about finding a lifestyle that works for you, and becoming fit- ie. I'm sure we all know someone who is skinny but is not fit at all (being thin IS NOT the same as being fit or healthy, one doesn't imply the other). Also, I would think that some people actually do enjoy exercising (ie. as a stress release) but that point is up for discussion, lol... for example, would people still exercise for the pure joy of it if they would know it has no benefits to them what-so-ever?

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That's a good question. Would people still exercise for the pure joy of it if had no benefits?
When I get into my routine, I like to say that I enjoy exercising, but let's face it. I feel like I accomplished something and did something good, but wouldn't it be more fun to go shopping or meet up with friends?
You're right, the point is to be healthy, not skinny. But, I bet there are some people who think to themselves "If only I could be skinny without having to exercise, I wouldn't do it so much."
I know that there is exercise that people find fun - roller blading, biking, playing sports... Just look at kids. They come into the classroom with red faces and breathing heavily, and they still have to do a couple of laps around the room before they can calm down. Were they "exercising"? Well, yes but they don't think of it that way. They exercise all day. There are 8 periods every day with a 10 minute break after each - the kids are active at every break. Then, after school they run around again and go to Teakwando lessons.
I know, we're not all 10 years old anymore and 1 Teakwando class a day would have me sleeping an extra 10 hours a week. But, the point is to find something that's fun. Have you ever played badminton for 1 hour? It's tiring and great exercise, but I've had a lot of fun doing it. And, everyone is different. Some people like doing more structured workouts like going to the gym. Often they enjoy the social aspect of going with a friend or talking to the regulars. My boyfriend can't stay focused at the gym and ends up sociallizing too much and leaving early. But, bring him to the mountain and he suddenly becomes Mr. Climber. I think you have to find something that's right for you. Human nature causes many of us to become competitive with ourselves when we get better at the activity. That's OK, as long as you know WHY you're pushing yourself. Hopefully it's not out of feeling guilty, but just because you're enjoying the accomplishment and taking the activity further.
For someone who has/has had an eating disorder, it's difficult not to focus on fat and calories when you're exercising, but I think it is possible to come to realize what you really enjoy and to alter your reasons for doing what you're doing. Hopefully we can all get there.[/quote]


these kind of questions seem so tricky, b/c it's difficult to differentiate between having a perspective coming from someone with an ed and then from a healhty point of view understanding the complexity of the question.... I know that for myself exercise means burning calories, with the benefit of being in shape, then again, how much can someone be "in shape" ie. healthy if you HAVE an ed?? That's almost an oxymoron.

Exercise in itself though can and should be a part of someone's healthy routine to be fit, stay in shape etc. There is nothing wrong with exercise as you said, as long as it's done for the right reasons, and if it is to "cancel out" some calories then at least if it's done in moderate amounts with some kind of joy while doing it? Again, exercise doesn't have to be this horrible thing where you do it until you're exhausted, especially if it's boring... it could very well be something enjoyable- playing sports, pilates, swimming...


You're right, because with the kind of lifestyle that the average person has now I think it's necessary or at least ideal to do something that burns a significant amount of calories. When I say significant, I just mean more than typing at the computer. Some people might be extremely athletic and love pushing their bodies to the limit. But, probably the average person would more enjoy going on walks or doing what they can at the gym or taking dance lessons. Even some aerobics routines are fun and only 30 minutes long. I wish I could find an aerobics tape here. All the hype now is yoga and pilates which are really good, but I'm really busy these days and I'd like to get some cardio in. I can't even find a routine to download. Does anyone know of a recent aerobics tape that's about 30 minutes long?


Diana, this is a really good article on aerobic exercises & fitness.. it kind of goes into the whole "why" it's good etc... quite interesting. At the bottom it also suggests ways of getting your aerobic workout, so even if you don't find that exercise video, there's other ways you can do aerobics.. some of them are more "low level" aerobics, but hey, it's a workout!

Aerobic exercise: What 30 minutes a day can do to your body
10 great reasons to love aerobic exercise
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