Does writing keep you out of shape?
It does for me.
I wouldn’t say I’m pudgy, but I used to be a pretty good athlete with very little fat on my body.
Since I graduated from college, started my marketing career, then moved onto writing, I noticed one big change:
I don’t push myself physically anymore.
Sure, it wouldn’t be a day without riding my bike or walking around for a little bit, but I don’t seek out those areas of discomfort that make me REALLY healthy.
I indulge in pizza or junk food on most weekends, I take my time on my bike and the pull-up bar I bought for my bedroom door is quite dormant.
I gained about 20 pounds since I graduated college and last month I decided to change that upward trend.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being comfortable. I enjoy the leisurely (at least physically) craft of writing . So I wanted to see if I could add a small level of discomfort while still receiving quality results. I didn’t want to get “ripped”, but I wanted to look and feel healthier, and in turn help energize myself to write more.
So I’m proud to say that over the last 30 days (prior to my vacation, so I guess more like 40 days) I lost 10 pounds, while writing and writing and writing some more.
Here’s how I did it and hopefully you can try your own rendition:
Healthy snacks and meals
In high school I had a personal trainer for football and he always told me that most people who work out don’t actually see quality results because they don’t have the right diet. He said that 85% of losing weight or gaining muscle is diet and the remaining 15% is exercise.
I love pizza and beer on the weekends. I also eat chips or chew on salty sunflower seeds while I write. Ok, so I didn’t cut the beer out of my diet, but all my meals consisted of things like turkey sandwiches, oranges, carrots, cottage cheese, celery and other healthy stuff. For snacks, I stuck to unsalted almonds or other nuts.
The best thing about this? All of these foods are delicious. I always loved them before and for whatever reason they just slipped away from my regular diet.
Write away from home
This is an area that might differ for every person based on personal preference and location. However, I would suggest choosing a location to write outside of your home and then walking, running or biking there everyday. I chose to bike to the Chicago Public Library which is about 16 miles there and back.
Yes I know that sounds long, so you could obviously adjust accordingly. However, I would encourage you to get a bike and try it out. I hate running, but when you’re on a bike time flies by and it’s more enjoyable than taxing. Not to mention, if you are going to write every time, you have a set destination with a determined goal which helps pass the time and make you excited to arrive.
Get up to go get things
I typically use Amazon to deliver all my groceries and toiletries directly to my doorstep. However, this past month I stopped doing that and I would only purchase groceries that would last me for about two to three days. That way, in order to eat I was frequently required to get up, walk or ride my bike to the grocery store.
Writing bursts + exercise bursts = reward
Before I ate or watched TV or did anything that would provide me any comfort I would write for one hour straight, then I would do three sets of 10 pullups or as many pushups as I could handle. After that I would reward myself with some sort of comfort. This helped my writing and my health.
Looking back I believe the key to my success was that I created destinations – places I need to be, whether it was to write, eat or congregate with friends and simply substituted a car or public transportation with walking or riding my bike (try rollerblading or skateboarding or uni-cycling – whatever floats your boat).
This, combined with eating a little healthier allowed me to achieve my goals of integrating my writing life into a healthy life. It pays off too. You feel better, want to write more and have a higher appreciation for life.
Let me know in the comments how you promote your own healthiness. Maybe you use your writing to stimulate exercise?