I love the simplicity and eloquence of Patty Limerick’s “Pedestrian Diet and Exercise Plan.” So much of it just makes sense and echoes my own diet and exercise regime. But one tidbit really struck me about the value of walking beyond just the health benefits:
As you set out for a walk, choose a problem that has you stymied in your work. Devote the walk to thinking about that problem. Move it around in your mind. Approach it, and then retreat from it, and then come around from behind at it. Here is a very likely outcome: in the course of the walk, the problem that simply sat in your path, blocking your motion and your progress, will submit to solution, or sometimes even to a reconceptualization that makes it into more of an opportunity than a problem. By taking the walk, you will have actually saved time and increased your efficiency at work. The act of walking will, in very down-to-earth ways, set you (and your imagination and your problem-solving capacity) free. Exercise can focus and unleash the mind in a manner unmatched by no other conscious act. In truth, if the measure of performance is true problem-solving and solution-finding, a whole array of professionals and consultants should be able to allocate their exercise time as “billable hours”!
I love this, and intend to practice it next time I am stymied by some problem or facing writer’s block. Thanks, Patty Limerick! After reading this, I want to give you a hug.
Here’s her Part 2: “Eat all the time. Never go hungry on the Pedestrian Diet”:
Never go hungry. Eat whenever the impulse strikes. Eat everything you can find in the way of apples, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, pineapple, and I have probably left out several fun and appealing fruits. Reduce the obstacles presented by the seeming hassle of preparation: every day or two, put ten minutes into cutting apples in quarters, washing grapes and strawberries, etc., and storing them in the refrigerator for easy access, so that not a second will pass between feeling hungry–and eating! Nothing can count as “forbidden fruit” on the Limerick Pedestrian Diet. On the contrary, as you settle into these new habits, fruit will become more and more astonishing in its power to knock your taste buds for a loop, almost overpowering the unleashing of endorphins as a good time.
Same for vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, or zucchini with feta cheese can taste like a gourmet meal. Eat enough salads well-stocked with cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, lettuce, and arrgula, and you are well-installed on the high-ground. Thus you are free to indulge in any salad supplement like olives, avocado, artichoke hearts, anchovies, smoked salmon, slices of roast turkey or beef. You do not, in other words, have to become a vegetarian (although it is always an interesting fact to contemplate, that it takes seven pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat). Perhaps most important, do not hold back on the salad dressing. Dump it on. Do not ask for the dressing to be brought on the side, and do not dribble out a drop or two on an otherwise graceless salad. Once again, dump it on. If you are eating a salad, you have made the fundamental commitment to eating a plate filled with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, carrots, etc. (really, when you think about the make-up of these items, you are lunching on a big bowl of water with a little fiber thrown in), and no one (not even you yourself) has any right to punish you by withholding the salad dressing.
(And thanks for the link, Boing Boing!)