The “Sustainable Fitness Plan!”

Lose ten pounds in just three weeks!

What does it take to get results like that? Trying to live in harmony with the Earth!

Today marks the 24th day I have attempted to live environmentally sustainably. I sleep in a used tent, bike anywhere I want to go, volunteer biweekly at Landslide Community Farm, and eat wild edible greens, farmer’s market fare, and dumpster-dived goods.

When my parents learned that I was going to try such an “extreme” experiment as trying to live 100% sustainably in urban Pittsburgh, they did not try to dissuade me. However, I began receiving e-mails and calls from them, saying: Did I go to the doctor yet for my poison ivy? Am I checking for ticks regularly? How about I don’t eat food out of dumpsters? While all good-natured questions, they expressed a typical parental concern that the situation I am currently in, while important, actually jeopardizes my health.

screen shot from β€œSust Enable”

I wish I could kindly let them know how misinformed their inquiries are.

I am in the best shape of my life! That is not some tagline to sell a product–that is the truth.

I have developed visible muscle tone, especially in my thighs and abs. I have no noticeable fat around my midsection or anywhere else. I have reserves of energy now.

Best of all in my opinion, I get to eat much, much more than I did before! Since I have been biking everywhere and working on the farm, I have a ravenous appetite. And who doesn’t love to eat? This is a seldom mentioned benefit to having a fit body–you can eat just about anything you want. On the other hand, when you’re in that state, you tend to only desire healthy foods. A win-win situation!

So, sure, the TV says you should hate your body and try to buy your way to fitness… but there’s no denying that a healthy, fit body doesn’t only look the best, it feels the best.

My advice for getting into optimal shape? Simple: Consider every one of your choices for its environmental impact, and adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Bike to work and the grocery store (put a basket on your bike!) Learn to repair your own bike. Learn to build your own rainwater collection system/composting toilet/solar energy heater. Eat only local foods during the summer. Garden for yourself.

Anyone who has ever achieved a fitness goal can testify: it will be difficult at first. Your legs may hurt from biking. You may feel tired at first. Therefore, it’s important to remove the temptation to just hop in the car when biking seems too hard. You will pass any physical plateau, and reach that better place.

Live daily in respect of the Earth’s limits. You’ll be amazed at the results.

  1. U-Poppa

    I’m sure any (natural, normal) parental concern has been overwhelmed by a tidal wave of parental pride at your accomplishments thus far. While some of us can not simply swap a car for a bike, we CAN be more conscious of choices we make every day. If we live in the present (and not dwell in the past or obsess about the future), we are forced to become much more aware of each action we take. As you say, getting started is the hard part. Once you build some momentum, every day becomes easier.

  2. David Zetland

    but wait! How does this match up with the venti caramel latte in my Escalade? Darn — I thought I could just take pills and eat energy bars to get in shape!

    Great point — go on Oprah with your ripped midsection. She’ll love it. (Downside — you’ll have to bike to Chicago…)

  3. Becki

    Sustainable Fitness isn’t only about being environmentally sustainable, but being able to sustain your fitness as well (hence sustainable fitness). So a sustainable change might be a move into a city or closer to work for the better transport links…Eating out less and learning to cook more…. Going organic for the things that matter to you, especially if the health benefits of organic are huge (e.g. organic blueberries contain twice the amount of Vit C than their non-organic counterparts etc).

    I’m trying to find that balance in my own life, and I’m glad to see you’ve found it in yours! Where can I find out more about your journey?

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