I didn't have a choice. I was hooked on ordering exercise equipment and diet plans touted as "the last machine (or diet) you'll ever need." I wanted to believe the claims. And, for the time it took me to read the numbers on my credit card to the operator who was "standing by," I did.
This explains my Ab Roller, for a tight tummy. My Health Walker, for long, lean legs. My Exercycle, for fat-burning and a faster metabolism. And I could start a library with all the diet books I've bought on the Home Shopping Network.
For years, I'd hop on my newest workout machine or begin the latest fad diet with enthusiasm. But then I'd get side-tracked with one excuse or another. My back hurt, so I couldn't exercise for a few days, and my motivation disappeared. The holidays were coming; why restrict my eating now? Even looking in the mirror while forgetting to hold in my not-so-tight tummy was enough to derail me. And once I'd blown it, I'd overeat and put on 5 pounds. I felt, and looked, worse than I had before I bought the exercise equipment du jour.
But I couldn't give up my TV shopping. Every time I abandoned a workout machine or ate too many barbecued potato chips, I'd see a new infomercial and buy yet another fitness product or diet plan, choosing to ignore the small print at the bottom of the TV screen that said, "Extraordinary results. Your results might be greater or less."
Mine were always less.
Recently, however, I did do something extraordinary: I simply turned off the TV.
I'm not sure why. Maybe I was just tired of my bank balance decreasing while the numbers on the scale continued increasing. Or maybe I finally realized that the road to good health lay inside me, not on the television.
Instead of watching infomercials, I've been taking yoga classes a few times a week. Also, I found a walking buddy, and once or twice a week we walk for an hour.
As for trying every new diet on the best-seller list, that's over too. I'm simply concentrating on eating well. Fruits and vegetables, fish, tofu, whole grains and lowfat dairy products are at the top of my "to eat" list, along with an occasional candy bar. Since I know chocolate isn't leaving the planet, I indulge every so often--rather than making it one of my daily food groups.
What's more, I hid the scale under my dusty exercise equipment. I stopped using it to tell me whether I was going to have a good day or a bad one. Now liberated from the tyranny of numbers (and TV), I enjoy the more important things in life: my health, my family, my work.
The other day, as I was on my way to a yoga class, my next-door neighbor waved to me and said, "You're looking good. Have you lost weight?"
I smiled. "I don't know, but I sure feel great."
Harriet Cooper continues to ignore her scale--and her TV--in Toronto.
Cooper, Harriet. "Operators standing buy! For one infomercial junkie, turning off the TV proved to be all she needed to look and feel better." Shape Mar. 2004: 194. General OneFile. Web. 15 Nov. 2009.
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