Why it’s ok to hate exercise

Dearest Reader,

I don’t know about you, but despite my best efforts to be a more active person, exercise doesn’t come naturally to me. I have never understood how people enjoy the discomfort of exhausting yourself, sweating and muscle aches, and it’s not something I can do without that little bit of “forcing myself”.

I recently saw a clip by brilliant comedian Tom Papa on Conan in which he explained why exercise is hard for us to do, and why it’s just so easy to get fat.

You’re trying not to be fat. Either way, fat’s coming. If you’re not fat, you’re working your ass off. You don’t eat food. Embrace it, your winners. That’s why you’re fat. Part of the first generation that doesn’t have to fight for survival. Good for you! Food everywhere. Perfect temperature everywhere you go. Every day you wake up a perfect 72 and snacky. Thank you America! It’s good. Just embrace it. Don’t tell me what you’re quitting – I don’t care. “I’m quitting gluten.” “I’m quitting meat.” You looked awful yesterday, you’re going to look worse tomorrow. Why are we talking about this? Let’s go get ice cream!

Tom Papa and I both speak from a position of privilege, of course. But if you are like me and one of the fortunate few to grow up in the world of excess and abundance, you’ll realise that yes, we don’t need to run around for survival, we don’t need to eat limited food because we can have as much as we want, and our efforts are spent not on surviving and foraging for food, but on engaging in physical activity despite our comforts, using things like the “pretend getaway machine” at the gym on which we run and sweat for virtually no reason at all.

Our evolution, it seems, has not kept pace with our luxuries, so we now must create artificial exercise, and resist succumbing to the convenience and luxuries we have at our fingertips. 

While this makes exercise in no way easier or more attractive, I feel better knowing that I’m not abnormal, and that it is perfectly acceptable not to be enthusiastic about exercising. It’s the kind of relief you get when you finally realise that everything that’s wrong in your life is your mother’s fault because that’s how psychology works.

In essence, my hate for exercise is Mother Nature’s fault – why did she give me a body that demands the sort of physical activity of an ancient Amazonian warrior and then put me to live at a time where there is virtually no need to move?

While we now have someone to blame, dearest reader, this is no excuse to let yourself go. Sure, sit down with Ben and Jerry and have a Saturday of binging Netflix. It would be silly not to, seeing as it’s right there. But you and I know that we can’t fight Mother Nature, and she wants you to get your ass off the couch and choke down a salad once in a while. Because if you don’t, she’ll literally kill you.

But just know that as you’re doing your squats and sweating in pain, my thoughts are with you and I angrily shake my fist with you at the irony of it all. 

 

 

 

Summary of Self-Help Books

Dearest Reader,

On a recent visit to a book store, I wandered around and found the self-help section.

Intrigued by what society is currently wrestling with, I browsed through the sections and recognised that all these books could be divided into the following categories:

  1. I am too fat
  2. I am too poor
  3. I have no friends
  4. I am too stupid

So here I am, dearest reader, to help you through these issues with a simple post that broadly covers all of them, along with a no-nonsense solution.

1. I am too fat

Well, if you are residing in the western world, this comes as no surprise. It is cheaper, easier and requires much less effort.

But if you don’t like the excess amount of ‘you’, the solution these books give you is healthy, educational and considers your psychological wellbeing. These are commendable contents, and the bottom line is – eat less, exercise more. Find whatever is making you want to eat, and deal with it.

But of course, many of us still fail. So here’s my suggestion.

Just don’t do anything.

Literally, sit in a chair, turn on the TV, stare at it and do nothing.

Don’t get up to buy food, don’t get up to cook food, don’t lift your phone to order food. If you do this long enough, you’ll lose weight.

Just Netflix this one out.

2. I am too poor

Keep sitting in that chair. Don’t do anything, don’t see anything, don’t spend anything. You keep Netflixing, and like a magic trick, you’ll save money while losing weight.

3. I have no friends

Perhaps you lack the basic social skills that are appreciated by other humans, such as humour, good conversation or the willingness to get intoxicated and do ridiculous things that others can capture on video.

There are countless books on learning social skills, opening your heart to people and finding love, all of which require digging into the depths of your childhood to deal with your mother issues. Eventually, you’ll eat wholemeal pasta and discover Jesus with your new friends.

If you prefer the easier and quicker alternative, you might find that dogs are quite easy to befriend as long as you provide them with food. It doesn’t even have to be good food.

You may have to limit your social interaction to the strategic throwing and subsequent retrieval of tennis balls and sticks, and develop a tolerance for the collection of faecal matter, but it’s a small sacrifice for what I understand to be a low-maintenance kind of friendship.

4. I am too stupid

This is a tough one. It requires time.

You may not want to go through the entire “…. for Dummies” range, nor do you have the kind of time and money to go back to school.

Alas, we can’t all be groundbreaking professors, skillful doctors, clever entrepreneurs and inspiring leaders. But this is no reason to despair; in fact, being a little on the stupid side has come back into fashion, as recent evidence suggests.

So now, as you’re browsing through the dummy section and feel a little embarrassed, always remember that with the right attitude, even you could become the next president.