Tag Archives: obesity

Exercise for Dummies

Namaste! Tree pose with cactus arms.
Namaste! Tree pose with cactus arms.

“What are you doing?” He didn’t need to preface his sentence with “Now . .” It was implied by his tone.

“I’m shoving a magazine down my pants. What does it look like I’m doing?”

“No need to be sarcastic.”

“I’m using the magazine as padding to protect my spine from the hula hoop.” My new waist whittler had killer knobbly bits on the inside. To demonstrate, I gave the hoop a little spin.

“See? No pain. Whoops!” The fruit bowl took a hit and needed to be pushed back a bit. With the table cleared, myself carefully positioned between bed, window and wall, and Jimmy well out of the way, I could get my hooping exercise indoors instead of looking a fool outdoors.

I tried again. “If I put the magazine in my pants, keep my feet firmly planted, put my hips into it, concentrate and don’t let the hoop slow down, there’ll be no damage to me or the trailer.”

“That has to be one of the most stupid things you’ve ever done.”

“Thanks!” Who, after all, wants to be predictable?

“You’ve already injured yourself once.”

That was my leg. I can’t hurt my leg. The table’s in the way.”

“I still think it’s stupid if you’re risking hurting your back.” He’s trying to insult me or frighten me into stopping. It isn’t working.

Exercise is an issue in our confined quarters. We walk when we can, I swim when there’s a pool on the campsite and we both do sit ups about every six months. Even with constant tweaks to our diet to reduce calories and improve nutrition, our waistlines are expanding.

I worry about the blood pressure and obesity implications of eating a big meal then taking one step to the couch to have dessert and vegetate in front of the telly for the rest of the evening.

With Jimmy away for two weeks I had contemplated our lifestyle and found it lacking. In the midst of doing what I wanted, when I wanted to (instead of falling into step with the tour director/camp commandant) I exercised frequently and cleaned up my diet between bouts of reading trashy magazines and watching trashy TV.

“Guess what I had for lunch today?” I had asked Jimmy during one of our international phone calls.

“Please don’t tell me.”

“Sautéed spinach with Parmesan cheese slivers on top.”

“Oh God help me.”

“It was yummy.”

“The thought of it makes me feel sick.”

“Tonight I’m having jumbo shrimp braised with garlic, onion, ginger, Jalapeños courgettes and spinach.”

“I won’t come home.”

“Tomorrow I’m having a crab cake.” Jimmy doesn’t like seafood, shellfish in particular, so I gave him all the details because there’s an unruly streak in me.

Back to the exercise matter, it is only four steps from our dining “room,” or living “room” or “bedroom” to our toilet. We joke about going upstairs to bed. It’s one step up. My pedometer registered just 151 steps from late afternoon to bedtime.

Where’s that hula hoop? And my magazine padding?

How do you include exercise in your daily routine?

Can you imagine me hula-hooping in this same space? It wasn't a great success.
Can you imagine me hula-hooping in this same space? It wasn’t a great success.

Obesity Solved

As newbies to civilization the cause of the American obesity problem became clear to us. Cable TV is in the process of transforming us all into couch potatoes. As Jack, the cable guy, snipped and plugged and programmed, Jimmy and I were astonished at the channel list – Home and Garden, Country Music, Classic Rock, Vintage Cars, The Military Channel, A & E, Speed, Canal 52, Digital Music, Digital FM Radio and on and on and on. “Ooo! Look! There’s a jewelry channel.”


For the past two years we’d “enjoyed” watching a tiny flat screen TV in our caravan, receiving terrestrial channels broadcast in French and Spanish. Having a smattering of both languages helped little with translation. Ensconced in our new apartment, we were as excited as kids at Christmas at the prospect of television shows that we could understand.

As soon as Jack left, Jimmy commandeered the remote and splayed himself across the couch, mouth open, eyes glued to the screen. Every 30 seconds or so I would hear, “Oh! BBC World News,” or “There’s a soccer channel!” Excitement mounted as an eyebrow exercised a facial muscle, “Sky Sports News!” Then a little arm action, “Premiership football!” and lastly most of the upper body celebrated “Arsenal vs. Chelsea tonight!” He’d been deprived of European football/soccer in any language. Things calmed down again and after some leg raises – right and left onto the coffee table, and arm raises – right and left crossed over chest. He was sedated once more by the big flat screen with only some high speed thumb action flicking endlessly between football and motorcycle racing and the occasional yelp or groan emanating from him.

OK, confession time. I have made fun of Jimmy, but after I’d been up for an hour and a half by 7:00 am the day after cable installation, my thumb joint was sore. I’d surfed and searched and watched an evangelical lady preacher with big gems on her fingers, Sponge Bob Square Pants, all 15 minutes of a commercial for the tempur-pedic mattress having noted the toll free number and envied everyone getting a good night’s sleep, a Wal-Mart advert in Spanish and then settled on cruising through the 79 digital radio channels on TV, everything from Adult Alternative (uncensored) to Rap, Rock, Retroactive and Rock en Español. I was transfixed with the Traditional Christmas Music channel and Gene Autry singing the cowboy version of Frosty the Snowman.


I’m now doing telly yoga and meditation. “The spirit of light in me respects the spirit of light in you.” This rather lovely and calming meditation was swiftly followed by a boisterous advert for a “Yoga Booty Ballet” DVD.  “Only two payments of $19.95! Order now and firm up your booty! 30-day money back guarantee!”

I have to tell you, though, that when Jimmy got up (only in the sense of not still in bed), and fell into his dent on the couch, I found him in a trance staring at a still picture on the TV-cum-radio of Bob Seger sitting on a Harley while singing (Bob not Jimmy) The Little Drummer Boy.

When the novelty wears off, we’ll get some exercise. Or not. But our waistlines tells me we should.

Apologies for the title. I haven’t solved the problem, just identified it. There’s no magic bullet here.