Movin' On UpOpinion
OPINION — Those of you packing a few extra pounds around will be happy to hear that weight loss is a negative thing. If you’ve been considering the possibility of maybe thinking about starting to mull over the idea of beginning to get in shape, don’t. According to some students at Dickinson College, promotion of improved health is a dangerous narrative. I have no idea where Dickinson College is, since the Breitbart story I read didn’t mention that, but it sounds like a good place to put in a doughnut shop.
When I was a kid I read stories in Outdoor Life and Field & Stream about getting in shape for high country hunting. Packing an elk or mule deer out of the mountains ain’t easy, especially since there’s very little oxygen up there. But those stories were published before Political Correctness was invented. You can’t tell people they need to lose weight and get in shape anymore, because that’s considered fat shaming. Health is now offensive. It’s about time.
The Dickinson College administration posted signs around the campus encouraging students to use the stairs instead of the elevators, because ‘exercise strengthens your heart and muscles.’ The students didn’t care for that a whole lot. One girl said the signs made her feel guilty, and that taking the stairs often caused her to feel dizzy. She said, “I started realizing that I shouldn’t put my body through pain or stress when there is an elevator I could use.” So there you go.
Another student said, “These signs were effectively fat shaming as they promoted weight loss as a positive thing. It had a negative impact on campus to have a series of signs that glorified a dangerous narrative that feeds into eating disorders.” I couldn’t agree more. Who needs to constantly be reminded they’re out of shape? Not me.
Back when I was in college (2014-17) most of my classes were in a three-story building. The elevators were right by the stairs, and a lot of students used the elevators. Luckily, since I was 53 years old when I started, most of the students thought I was a teacher, so they usually made room for me on the elevators. I rarely had to shove any of them out.
But being a college student is not particularly healthy. Sitting on my gluteus maximus for three years caused me to gain 25 pounds. During my last semester, I had to take a kinesiology class, which is what they call Phys Ed now. For some reason. And during that class we were all required to do sit-ups, push-ups, and a bunch of other horrible things, so we could be evaluated. And even though I was in the worst condition of my life, and 56 years old to boot, I scored in the top five percent of college students in the nation, physically. And yes, that includes all college athletes.
Which is not to say I was in shape at all. I wasn’t. My exercise regimen usually consisted of sitting in a bathtub full of water, pulling the plug, and fighting the current. My most rigorous workout was when I would try to scratch the spot right in the middle of my back without rubbing it against a door frame. I once pulled a muscle tucking in my shirttail. No one will ever mistake me for Mark Wahlberg, but college students today are basically the physical equivalent of coleslaw.
After college I began a grueling daily regimen of thinking about getting in shape. It’s been a difficult process, but nothing worth doing is ever easy, just like nothing worth stealing is ever left unattended. I found that getting in shape is actually not all that difficult. It is, however, amazingly unpleasant and painful.
I think the most relevant factor in getting fit is attitude. My wife had the attitude that I should mow the lawn and lift heavy objects and open jars and stuff. Since I was unable to do any of those things without a fully equipped ambulance on hand, I decided it was time to start actually working out, instead of just thinking about it. My fitness goal was to improve my overall physical health and increase my cardiovascular something or other to the point where I could crank my pickup without getting short of breath. It was an uphill battle.
My wife had a garage sale treadmill, which allowed me to run without actually increasing my distance from the refrigerator, so I tried that. The first day, through extensive mental preparation and sheer determination, I ran nearly a hundred yards. It was epic. I could almost hear the theme from ‘Rocky.’
It took several months, but I finally lost the 25 pounds. Now I feel great, when I can feel anything at all. I can crank my pickup, and even raise the tailgate without extreme exhaustion. Not everyone will be able to achieve such amazing results, I realize. My advice is to go back to college, where no one will be allowed to tell you you need to get in shape without offending the thought police.
Anyway, I plan to put my new self to use this Fall by shooting a bear with my longbow. I’m still a long way from being able to pack it out, but I’m not worried. I traded the treadmill for a winch . . .