Daily: Mind/Body balance for the extraordinarily lazy

I’m expanding the focus of Bluestalking to include more personal stuff, more about my life outside books and writing. We’ll see how it goes.

Today, it’s personal.



Mum had a Charles-and-Diana wedding mug that had survived longer than the marriage itself. Mum had worshipped Princess Di and frequently lamented her passing. “Gone,” she would say, shaking her head in disbelief. “Just like that. All that exercise for nothing.” Diana-worship was the nearest thing Mum had to a religion.

Kate Atkinson, When Will There Be Good News



I’ve written previously about my lack of grace and spatial awareness leading to a rib-fracturing fall on New Year’s Eve. Again, I swear I was not inebriated. Not to sound puritanical, because it’s not the drinking I object to, but alcohol gives me a headache.

Not worth it.

Plus, it seems so Ernest Hemingway sitting in the semi-dark alone, pulling on a bottle. Next thing you know, I’ll be sprouting a hairy chest, ripping open my shirt, roaring self-praise and fishing for marlin.

It’s one short step away.

2018 was supposed to be about strengthening my body, getting my middle-aged self back into a healthy routine. Before the year even began, I hit a speed bump. I can’t  always breathe above a shallow wheeze, nor lift more than five pounds. I can’t twist or bend without using great caution, even sneeze without my eyes popping out.

In a bid to feel superior to other NY resolutionists, I joined a gym before the holidays. Then I could say, “I already had a membership before January 1; I’m no newbie!”

Karma sure slapped me down and fast.

When I was vegetarian, I felt superior to lowly carnivores. I enjoyed mixing up fruit and veg shakes with things like Spirulina added. The more disgusting and sludgy it looked, the better I felt about myself – even if occasionally ill-advised mixtures made me gag.

I was one of those people.


Very Basic Vegetarian Starter Template:

Breakfast options:

  • Oatmeal with nuts/fruit
  • Veggie Omelette ( add salsa, cheese, etc. if you’d like)
  • Greek Yogurt Smoothie (add soy or almond milk to thin + any fruits)

Lunch options:

  • Stir-fried Veggie/Tofu
  • Roasted Veggie Wrap or Sandwich
  • Loaded Baked Potato (any veg, salsa and/or cheese if you’d like)

Dinner options:

  • Stir-fried Veggie/Tofu
  • Loaded Baked Potato (any veg, salsa and/or cheese if you’d like)
  • Veggie Omelete (add salsa, cheese if you’d like)


  • Smoothie
  • Fruits/nuts


The thing about being vegetarian wasn’t just cutting out meat, especially the dreaded RED. Things like french fries, though plants, I considered cheating. I was vegetarian for health reasons. Cutting out meat meant vigilance about the health benefits of all foods. I spent indecent amounts of money on supplements I probably didn’t even need. Recent studies scoff at most of the vitamins and other “healthy” extras I was taking. With my strict diet, I didn’t need all that.

I worked out hard, sometimes twice a day, going in for yoga or another exercise class in the morning, back for cardio and weight training later. This was before I returned to work after twelve years as a stay at home mom, mind. I’d never have the luxury for such single-minded devotion now – not to mention the money to belong to a gym that has both classes and cardio/resistance training equipment. Have you priced those? Dear holy mother of god and all the saints and angels.

Hitting middle age – actually past the middle, unless I plan to live over 100 – is humbling. Muscle mass decreases, as does skin elasticity. I curse gravity. My day job is 100% sedentary. So is freelance writing. All that sitting does terrible things to overall health.


A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.

AA Milne, Winnie the Pooh


I admit I don’t particularly watch what I eat. I care a lot about keeping the grocery bills down, and healthy food is more expensive than crap. Ridiculous logic, I know. It’s the dietary equivalent of irritating people who say to me, “I don’t have time to read,” then blather on about everything they’re bingeing on Netflix.

YOU HAVE TIME TO READ, YOU CHOOSE NOT TO DO IT. Don’t give me your lame excuses.

So, I have money to spend, I just don’t always do so wisely. It’s all about priorities. Health-wise, I’m just as bad as they are intellect building-wise.

I maintain a love of vegetables and fruits from my old life. Hardly a day goes by I don’t put healthy things like spinach and mushrooms – especially spinach – into what I eat. At home it’s not as bad. I eat a lot of omelettes stuffed with veggies, very little cheese, and I put these same veggies in pasta, etc. But when I order in, or go to restaurants with the kids, I eat what they eat – what they can afford to eat being young and thin, with an actual metabolism.

I could easily improve; I just don’t.


Easy Peasy Grocery List for Above Template:

  • assorted veggies
  • assorted fruits
  • baking potatoes
  • nuts – almonds/walnuts
  • sandwich wraps
  • whole grain bread
  • hard tofu
  • greek yogurt – the big size
  • almond or soy milk
  • oatmeal
  • eggs
  • cheese, or salsa, or other condiment you’d like for flavoring
  •  oil or vegetable spray for stir frying

Tell me that’s not easy…


Lying here with a temporarily debilitating injury, suddenly I’m filled with all these thoughts of what I could be doing to improve my health. If I weren’t lying here, I could be hitting the gym hard! I could be taking the dog for long walks!

I could, but would I? It’s so easy telling myself this when I absolutely can’t perform activities outside essential self-care and taking the dog out. In a couple of weeks when I’m healed enough to gradually ease into exercise, I’ll find other excuses to overcome.

I’ll admit it: I hate most forms of exercise. It’s boring as hell. I type really fast. Does that burn NO calories?


If I can prop a book up and read while I’m doing it, it’s bearable. Also, there are audiobooks. If I’m outside, and there’s something to see, there’s my camera.

Maybe I don’t hate every form of exercise. Oh, FINE.

I’m not great at self-motivation. I not one of those super-charged people. Yes, I know, most of those people get that way through pre-planning, not letting life lead them around. Poor me time needs to morph into utilizing this time I’m down with an injury – a genuine reason I can’t exercise, not an excuse – to work up a schedule for exercise, to find recipes that are healthy but don’t require expensive, exotic ingredients. And, FFS, I don’t need to budget for unnecessary supplements.

I know what I need to do; I just need to do it. I’m frustrated, and tired of being frustrated with myself. I am better than this. What I’ve done in the past can be done again. Just as I’m scheduling time to get out and socialize, to re-join book and writing groups, to write more and more often, I need to make firm health-related goals.

The key is balance. See, I know that. Will I be the twice a day workout queen? I doubt I’ll see those days again. But can I improve? Absolutely.

My Moleskine notebook is sitting next to me, barely utilized this year. I see lots of blank pages to use for goal setting.

I can’t exercise, but I can plan what I’ll do once I’m cleared.

I can’t shop for food beyond what I can carry, which isn’t a lot, but I can research, find recipes, and get sample menus planned.

There’s no lack of helpful information out there on health matters, nor tips of keeping track and make yourself accountable. If I have time to moan and feel sorry for myself, I have time to get pro-active, as well.

I know a man who drives 600 yards to work. I know a woman who gets in her car to go a quarter of a mile to a college gymnasium to walk on a treadmill, then complains passionately about the difficulty of finding a parking space. When I asked her once why she didn’t walk to the gym and do five minutes less on the treadmill, she looked at me as if I were being willfully provocative. ‘Because I have a program for the treadmill,’ she explained. ‘It records my distance and speed, and I can adjust it for degree of difficulty.’ It hadn’t occurred to me how thoughtlessly deficient nature is in this regard.

Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods



This applies to all my 2018 goals, though for today I’m approaching only this one. It’s a big one, an over-arching lifestyle change everything else hinges on. And I don’t expect perfection with this, as I shouldn’t with anything. Those of us who spend a great deal of our time reading and writing, working desk jobs to support our habit, have to take a serious look at how well we take care of ourselves.

It’s about forward progress, friends. I improve my mind every day. I work on reading and writing, as well as getting myself out of the house. Now, it’s time to balance that out with:


Professional satisfaction

General Organization



One step at a time.





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