Awhile back, I had a conversation with a woman who had managed to gain an improbable 200 pounds while pursuing some sort of advanced academic degree. Ironically, she was the first person to seriously sell me on the idea that I, too, should foray into the postgraduate realm, although it’s now clear that I didn’t connect some of the more, shall we say, ample dots in sales pitch.
This week, I realized that I am over half of the way to packing on a 5th of this woman’s impressive poundage, and I came to the grim conclusion that I need to stop acting as though academic “crunch time” means opening bags of study snacks. I realize we’re still dealing with single-digit numbers here, but we hypochondriacs don’t like leaving anything to chance when it comes to potentially debilitating physical conditions.
I began with the admittedly “soft” approach of taking on Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods as my travel-time audio book, as though I expected to become vicariously slim by way of an audio tag-along down the Appalachian Trail.
When that didn’t work, I began building a resume of modest physical accomplishments. A handful of circuits around the neighborhood. A few minutes I appropriated on the track circling my son’s soccer field while waiting for his practice to conclude. An impressively sweaty 40 minute stint on the treadmill.
In truth, this type of activity is really my normal routine. It’s just that—wouldn’t you know—graduate school seems to have me sitting on my butt way more than I think the AMA would recommend. I find it seriously hilarious that an impressive scope of organizations ranging from literacy advocacy groups to health institutions blame television for the rampant snacking and staggering obesity figures in younger Americans while promoting—get this—reading as a solution to this grave cycle of wanton inactivity.
Unlike a graduate student waddling into a library, the theory just doesn’t hold its weight.