Well, now that it’s the new year and all the celebratory gorging of the holidays is behind us, I think it’s a great time to focus on WHY I strive to exercise and eat fairly healthy.
For some reason, travel tends to involve a LOT of stairs, and a LOT of walking… usually uphill… on very uneven surfaces. Before our first trip, I was eagerly anticipating all of this… and I figured that it sounded like a GREAT way to finally lose ten pounds. Ha! I mean, yeah I did actually lose ten pounds… but it wasn’t as pleasant a process as I imagined it would be. And honestly, a lot of that was accidental. Like, we’d get lost, or a bus would drop us off in the middle of nowhere and we’d have to walk for miles just to find our way back. Or, we’d be so busy being lost that we’d be too annoyed to stop and eat and then suddenly realize that everything’s closed and food is now unattainable. I think you can probably see why this is a bit of a miserable, unsustainable weight-loss/maintenance tactic. But, it was definitely travel in general and our first trip in particular that motivated me to join the gym and to eat better in my daily life.
Here are some of the travel experiences that propel me to aerobics classes and the veggie section:
Climbing stairs like these (in the Arc de Triomphe).
On our first trip, I often found myself accusing Andrew of making me look fat in the pictures he took. Now, I’m not always the sharpest tool in box, but I’d like to think I’m fairly quick to figure out obvious things… like this. That is to say, it didn’t take me too long to realize that he wasn’t making me look fat — I was. And it was making me grouchy. Andrew has requested that I refrain from posting hideous pictures of myself here (even though I think it would be hilarious). So, I won’t be posting photographic evidence of this, but just trust me on this.
Furthermore, I felt out of shape! When I had more unhelpful mass (fat) than helpful mass (muscle), the task of maneuvering my body up and down miles of hilly streets and museum stairs was fairly agonizing.
Bergen, Norway: it’s not flat.
Also, there’s the issue of heat. Andrew and I have this amazing luck, in that 90% of the time, the places we travel to end up having heat waves. Being pasty northerners, we simply aren’t used to dealing with weather like this, and it makes every step we take much more difficult for us. Plus there’s the fact that in heat waves, I’m already sticky with sweat and sunscreen, so it’s uncomfortable enough without having to carry extra pounds on my person.
China in July: extreme heat & vacant eyes whilst desperately fanning myself in the shade.
Also, oftentimes in our travels we’ve found ourselves on precarious structures:
Suspension bridge to get to our tree-top treehouse in the Amazon.
Terrified on the tower of St. Olaf’s Church Tallinn, Estonia.
These are simply scenarios in which I was thinking, “If I were any heavier, I might bring this whole structure down with me.” Tremendous motivation to hit the gym and gobble raw veggies.
And then there’s the sheer volume of stairs. Stairs EVERYwhere. And they’re never easy stairs, either.
Well… maybe they’re easy for Steve.
Andrew also sees no problem with all these stairs. Fine then. I’m the only one who struggles.
Actually, in going through old pictures, I see a series of pictures of me and Steve looking exhausted, while Andrew is clearly darting about, photo-documenting the day. The evidence:
“My feet hurt. Can we stop for a snack?”
“I’m never standing up AGAIN.”
Aaaaaaand MORE steps. (Spanish ones… in Rome.)
So, that pretty much sums up my workout motivation, and why I try to eat more veggies, and less processed junk. For me, it’s all about the travel. I want to not think I’m fat in every picture. I want to bound gracefully up the trillions of stairs we encounter. I want to scuttle confidently along that suspension bridge or sketchy tower platform without worrying about it collapsing under my girth. Heck, I also want to fit comfortably into airline’s economy seating! I want to walk uphill for miles upon miles and be HAPPY about it. Because it’s difficult to appreciate fantastic scenery and the best travel partner in the world when all you can think is “every step hurts”.
And so… off to aerobics class I go!
Plus… it’s fun!