A Mission For Moderation

I wanted to do a continuation of yesterday morning’s post since many of you had interesting points of view on the decline of our nation’s health.  Pretty much everyone agreed that the shift in family values, and inexpensive cost of “junk” food both attributed to the downward trend, but you also commented about a lack of activity that could easily be to blame, as well. 

I definitely concur with this component, seeing it pretty much on a daily basis, that my students do not make fitness a priority. 

I had mentioned in the comment section that our class only has gym two days a week. Yesterday they were asked to do a five-minute warm-up on any of the cardio machines before they could participate in open gym, or basically do any activity they wanted that wasn’t sitting around. 

The whining that took place, and arguing with the poor gym teacher, about a measly five minutes on either the treadmill, elliptical or bike, was almost unbearable.  They spent more than their allotment of cardio trying to get out of it, than actually moving their bodies that had been sitting for nearly 6 hours before!!

But this topic does not just apply to the youth of my classroom.  My co-teacher readily admits that after getting his kids ready for daycare, coming to school, coaching, or doing some other obligations he has after school, he just doesn’t make extra time for his own work-outs.  And that’s ok.  He is not a lazy guy by any means, but he claims, he wants to be in better shape, cut out the sodas, etc. and just doesn’t prioritize it into his life.

As a society we have a lot going on.  Days are filled with stuff, whether it be work, family, errands, technology, community commitments…sometimes it just seems easier to swing by Wendy’s and skip a thirty minute walk.

Via comments, someone made a suggestion to me when I was discussing my need to exercise on a treadmill  She questioned why I don’t go outside and enjoy the fresh air, or walk to do some of my errands. 

And the answer is I would love to do that! But when I have time to be active is before school when it is dark, meaning I do not want to be alone in the park closest to my house, that is wooded and remote, and kind of scary if you are a lone female at 5:00 a.m.

AND I live in a super rural area.  There is nothing in walking distance of me other than farms, fields, and homes, which I am sure is the case for many of us.

Could I, or should I, break from my habitual treadmill obsession…probably, but it is not nearly as easy to prioritze fitness when I don’t schedule it in the morning.  So you kind of have to do what works for you, which can sometimes be a good excuse for people to not do anything.

BUT there is a flip side to this conversation…

I was talking to my aunt the other night, about how my cousin Skylar was transitioning into 7th grade.  She had pretty many problems with female bullies at the end of last year and I was hoping to hear a more positive report.

Fortunately the cattiness has declined, but she is now having problems at lunch.

What kind of problems?

“The other girls don’t like to eat, because everyone comments on what they have on their trays.  It’s just easier to wait until you get home, or not eat at all.”

WHOA! Hold the phone.

Now my cousin is a little picky…she went through a phase last year where she wouldn’t “eat anything with a face,” and really, there aren’t many vegetarian options at our school, so I can understand her difficulty at finding choices that fit her “lifestyle.” But she could have packed, or there are things like PBJ, string cheese, baked chips, etc.

So the real reason she was uncomfortable in the cafeteria was peer judgment.

I don’t blame her! I still struggle when my kids (or anyone for that matter) make rude comments about my brown bag choices! I told a student last week that he should focus more on himself rather than being so negative to others, and he just looked at me quizzically. 

I wouldn’t want to be the only person eating at my lunch table, if everyone else was sitting there with their bottles of water talking about how the popcorn the school provides will make them fat.  I too was this way in 7th grade, super self-conscious and ultra-selective with my food, but I packed my lunch because my friends were STARVING by 6th period, and usually had a full plate of food.

I would have rather been joked with about my LL Bean lunch sack than the fattening cookie I wanted for dessert.  It breaks my heart that this problem is becoming more and more prevalent because it just sets these kids up for an unhealthy relationship with their bodies, and food, and generates a seriously low sense of self-esteem.  

My point to my little a.m. rant yesterday was not to completely put down the processed food industry, or those who make choices on convenience or economics rather than wellness.  The thought behind it was to promote balance and moderation, something I am REALLY trying to achieve myself.

I like having a salad at lunch, and enjoy some greek yogurt with fruit, but I have found that I also like cookies, crackers, and granola bars, which often come in a package.

I also want to try to get away from such structured forms of exercise.  Physical activity has and always will be a major part of my life, but in the recent past I have completely relied on solitary sessions on cardio machines rather than the hikes, tennis or walking 18 holes, my husband and I used to enjoy.  Maybe I need to shift my schedule in order to make these things happen again, but that is all up to me, the choices I make.

The leaves are changing, and we live pretty darn close to a wooded area that is great to trek through anytime during the year, but particularly in the fall.  I hope to transition to doing more of those types of fitness, and Zumba with my friends, rather than pounding away on a treadmill with just me, my headphones and the 5 a.m. news!

I hope I didn’t come across as accusatory or offensive because I understand the ease of making choices that may not ALWAYS be in your best interest, but I feel that a life of moderation is the best for mental health, which is equally as important, but perhaps less emphasized, as the physical.   

Have a fabulously balanced thursday!

P.S.  On a similar note, check out my guest post on a moderation vacation, as I prepare for our anniversary trip to The Food and Wine Festival in Walt Disney World!

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15 thoughts on “A Mission For Moderation

  1. That happened to me in my lunch room when I was in 10th grade!! It was miserable and also started my eating disorder. its so sad its happening in a 7fh grade lunch room!! That seems way too young!! But I agree with your new attitude towards packaged foods and exercise. Sometimes if I plan out a long workout I dread it and try to convince myself not to do it. But exercise is just part of my daily lifestyle then I cant avoid it and dont dread it 🙂

    • it really does break my heart because it seems as if girls are getting meaner and meaner, younger and younger…thats why i love operation beautiful. its super important to instill positive self-talk in girls when they are little!

    • it really does break my heart because it seems as if girls are getting meaner and meaner, younger and younger…thats why i love operation beautiful. its super important to instill positive self-talk in girls when they are little!

  2. Let’s set up a weekly (or bi-weekly) date to walk at south hills!!!! 🙂 plus we NEED to make a trip to TJ! I’m running out of stuff!! Eeeek!!

  3. I want to have kids one day but reading posts like this makes me really scared. I dealt with the standard bullying but no one ever teased me or my friends about what we ate or really how we looked (at least not to our faces). And let me tell you, I was not super cute in middle school. Obviously there is something wrong with our society that our 12 year old girls are terrified of eating! I wish I knew what to do to help alleviate the problems but the best I can do is to keep fighting EDs and set a positive example for other girls/women.

    • it breaks your heart doesnt it. Kids are so mean and i think middle school might be the hardest because its such an awkward stage. im taking my cousin to lunch this weekend so we can talk. i need her to know how much i love her and how beautiful she is inside and out…thats really all we can do because no one can control the cruelty of some silly 12 year old lunch table terrorizer!!!

  4. This never really happened to me, but I saw it happen to others. I always sat with a bunch of band geeks and we were all geeks and knew that so none of us even tried to be cool or cared in high school. We always ate something for lunch and it was usually something from the hot line, but occasionally we would hit up the machine for something in addition to it or one of those hot Otis Spunkmeyer cookies.

    But I do remember there were some girls who really didn’t eat much at lunch, especially in high school where you were not forced to go to the cafeteria, you could go to the gym or library or something and totally skip out on the food altogether, say you had to study, etc. I really don’t know how they managed to do it, but a lot of them were cheerleaders or did a sport, I don’t know how you can skip lunch and expect to perform your best at practice. So sad.

  5. I love your comment about everything in moderation is good for mental health. I think that’s the key. If you beat yourself up over every little thing you do or don’t eat, or how much exercise you do or don’t do, your mental health suffers. In the end that’ll destroy you and that’s no good.

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