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Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Just Do It
Update: Wow! The response to this is already greater than I anticipated, and that's awesome. I think this should be a low-key, fun promotion of healthy living, tailored to the relatively sedentary academic lifestyle. I'm eager to get started; if no one minds, I will write up the first "Fitness Friday" post tomorrow with some ideas to get the ball rolling, and we can then decide what to do from there. Still looking for a catchy, fun group name, however -- anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Update II: Actually, I really like the idea of starting a new blog for this plan. That way, we can keep this separate from academic postings and everyone could contribute on an on-going basis. Do you all want me to do this, or are there volunteers? I'm happy to do it if no one else wants to.

Update III: I've set up a new blog for this on Blogger. I was going to do it on Wordpress, AD, but it looked like you had to be a Wordpress blogger to contribute, so I decided to go with Blogger since that's what most of us already use. (But Wordpress templates are lovely!) I'll have it ready for posting by tomorrow. If you think you'd like to be a content contributor (in addition to being a commenter), send me an email using the address in my left sidebar.

My gorgeous friend PhdMe recently posted about her frustrations with feeling unfit and unattractive (even though we all know that, in reality, she's probably just as lovely as her writing is or more so). I could relate. As I wrote in my comment to her, I have never felt as unhealthy as I do now: it's a lethal and lethargic combination of dissertation-related eating habits (goldfish crackers were my weakness, along with chocolate milk), lack of exercise (unless you count pacing around the office trying to think of how to conclude a paragraph, or running books back to the library), and lack of the ability or desire to get dressed up to go out (who can relax and have fun when there's Chapter Six to write?). My half-serious suggestion was to start a Post-Dissertation Fitness Group. I think I'm wholly serious about it now.

Let's figure it out together. Here are some ideas that have been floating around in my head:

1.) Someone could be in charge of setting the week's goals for exercise (e.g., 10 minutes a day, 25 minutes a day, or suggest an activity to do). Each of us could then post when we accomplished the goal, and also when we did not. For me, accountability helped to get the dissertation written -- accountability to Mon, ABDmom, phdme, B*, Articulate Dad, Peri, etc. -- and perhaps accountability would help all of us here, too.

2.) We could post healthy recipes to share. We could even decide on a week's healthy ingredient (e.g., blueberries) and try to incorporate that ingredient throughout the week's meals.

3.) We could each dedicate one day of the week on which to post our progress, how we're feeling, successe and failures.

4.) Everyone could pay me a low, one-time $60 initiation fee. You could pay in installments, or I could bill your credit.... wait. You don't like that idea? Remember, I have Pond House to renovate! Stop being so stingy!

5.) We could post links to health-related articles, perhaps based on activities we've chosen (e.g., health benefits of running, safety tips from B*'s course on Rollerblading (!)) or nutrition research. Or if we read something in a magazine, we could post a citation. (Goodness knows we're all pros at citation.)

What do you think? What ideas do you have? Suggestions for a catchy group name? It may sound a little hokey, but it's at least a start. Even if you're feeling completely fit and healthy, you could join, too and be inspiring! It's summer: it's time to break the bonds of the computer and spend a little time taking care of the body that houses our most precious asset -- our nerdy brains.

Who's with me? (Note: it will be considerably less fun if I have to do this by myself.)
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 6/28/2006 08:45:00 PM  
30 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 9:34 PM, Blogger Rhonda said…

    I'm in. I just started a running program this week (2 days now!).

  • At 10:14 PM, Anonymous New Kid on the Hallway said…

    I'd be interested. I am sooooo out of shape and I feel icky.

  • At 10:20 PM, Blogger Dr. Mon said…

    Oh Lord--the peer pressure. Dr. J has been trying to get me to exercise regularly for some time. Perhaps I could use some group support. I'm ... in...on the fitness. I'm not giving up dessert yet!! One step at a time!!

  • At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Peri said…

    Oh, lord! The very thought gives me the willies. I'll try, though. I need it. Getting off my fanny would be a good start.

    Does this mean I'm not burning enough calories blogging? I wonder how many calories are burned off typing? I'll get on that question right away. ;)

  • At 11:49 PM, Blogger ArticulateDad said…

    Okay... this morning, I strapped the boys into their bike trailer, put on their helmets, grabbed this week's Economist and got on my bicycle trainer to ride for 21 minutes. They loved it. Of course, they love it when we really go for a ride, but I'm building up to actually make it all the way up the hill we live on.

    I'm going to try to ride that thing at least 20 minutes a day, until I get my cardio fitness back to something normal. We finally got me a weight bench (it was my 37th birthday present... yup you got that, a year and a half late). So, I'm working in some lifting as well. Here's to us.

  • At 7:34 AM, Blogger BrightStar said…

    I'm thankful that Mon mentioned one step at a time... I'm the type who gets frustrated so quickly that I think if I can't fix everything at once, then why bother!

    I need something like this, but it's going to be VERY hard for me. I need support for thinking about how to get exercise into my life.

    I can contribute at least one healthy recipe a week.

    I am all for celebrating small successes.

    I need help being reminded to break this process of getting healthier and losing weight into small goals (and not feeling like I'm a failure if I don't instantaneously lose 30 pounds, because that's too long term of a goal).

  • At 8:44 AM, Blogger apparently said…

    Count me in! The Husband and I have agreed to eat healthier and exercise after vacation (starts Sat) but I won't do it alone because I am lazy. I'm teaching in the fall and I'll be on the academic job market so I really want to feel better, more confident, etc. I can't afford to feel fat and frumpy anymore.

  • At 8:45 AM, Blogger apparently said…

    oh, and I love the idea of having an ingredient of the week & posting recipes for that ingredient.

  • At 8:51 AM, Blogger RageyOne said…

    Support is important when trying to get healthy! I think it is a great idea.

  • At 8:52 AM, Blogger DRD said…

    I may not be post-dissertation, but I'm in. It would be nice to enter a PhD program at a decent weight with good habits to help me get through without a ton of weight gain.

    Are you going to run it on your blog? Or should we set up another blog where everything is in one place and everyone who is in can be a contributer?

  • At 11:23 AM, Blogger Seeking Solace said…

    Hi! New reader. I found you via B*

    I have been working out on a regular basis since January. I work out with a couple of my faculty friends. We encourage each other and push each other, especially when one of us does not feel like exercising. There is something about being accountable to others that make exercising worth it.

    I thought about starting a blog ring where people could share their successes, frustrations, tips etc. I would love to share what has helped me over the last six months.

  • At 12:56 PM, Blogger RageyOne said…

    A new blog for this is not a bad idea. Would it be a community blog where several people post or would it be sent to you for posting?

    Over the past year I've been on a weight loss journey have achieved success. I can post about what I've done along the way.

  • At 1:37 PM, Blogger ArticulateDad said…

    Hey, I haven't tried a multi-user blog yet. I've got a blog (my dad's poetry) over at as well. So it doesn't have to be just blogspot. Through wordpress it's pretty easy to add new users. Not sure about here. Just set it up, and we'll follow.

  • At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You might want to check out

    It's free and you can keep track of your weight, exercise and what you eat - including nutrition breakdown. There is a calendar, as well, which means that, when you backslide, you can go back and see what you were doing when you managed to lose a few pounds.

    It can be a little work sometimes in the beginning when you want to customize foods, but it has a drop down box for recently eaten foods that makes things very easy.

    This site seems tailor made for academics who enjoy analyzing data. :) But I like it, too.


  • At 2:45 PM, Blogger DRD said…

    To do a community blog on blogger, someone with blogger has to set up a new blog as a subaccount and then email invites to all of those who want to be contributers (you must have a blogger account to contribute as far as I know). Those people can all then post their sucesses, goals, recipes, etc on their own. Only people with administrative access can mess with the template or edit just any old post.

    While I would be happy to set it up, I am pretty new to blogging/html and struggle to customize templates. So, it wouldn't be anything fancy and there might be better candidates out there.

    My biggest question for the is this: It mentions you can have a public journal. But, can we link our journals into a support group without leaving fitday? I've never used it so I don't know.

    My concern with is that it might (or might not?) be too tracking oriented and wouldn't allow for the support element of academics trying to integrate health into their life. My guess is that we need the "verbal" support/accountability via comments from people that we already have built a bloggy relationship.

    On the other hand, I know that fertility calander sites allow for you to "share" their individual charts via a link. If that were the case, then individuals who also want to do fitday could put a permanent link to their chart or whatever on the sidebar of a shared blog.

  • At 3:06 PM, Blogger Honeybee said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 3:07 PM, Blogger Honeybee said…

    Got here via B*, I think my first comment disappeared, sorry if I double-post.

    I put on a ton of weight last summer and it remains. Uni gym costs money I don't have over the summer. I'm all for ideas on how to get moving, new recipes and accountability!

  • At 3:24 PM, Blogger Dr. Mon said…

    My vote is for a community sounds nice but somewhat overwhelming. However, if there is an option to link journals, I'd be down with that.

    I just need some motivation to get in shape--Dr. J is so good about exercising--I feel like such a slouch! Well I am.

  • At 5:22 PM, Blogger phd me said…

    I'm late to the party! As B* said, this is a great idea, I'd love to join, but this is going to be VERY hard for me. I hate exercise; I'm horrible at taking care of myself - why make the effort to cook when you can just open a bag of chips?; and I have no patience with my own failures.

    And I wonder why I'm having issues at the moment...

    PM, you're wonderful. I'm almost willing to pay you the initiation fee! How about a standing invitation at my place if you ever come to PRU City?

  • At 5:45 PM, Blogger Bella Sultane said…

    I'm in (via B*). I have a bunch of toning-type goals that I would love to work on. It would be fun to try to tackle them in a group!

  • At 6:34 PM, Blogger ABDmom said…

    Ugh. I'm in. I'm not much for healthy recipes, as you know, but I could use the accountability for exercise and whatnot.

    Ugh. This is scary.

  • At 6:58 PM, Blogger Repressed Librarian said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 7:00 PM, Blogger Repressed Librarian said…

    Count me in! I am another who is not post-dissertation, but I do have a sedentary academic job. I have written a few times on my blog about body issues and my lack of accountability when it comes to exercising and being disciplined. Blogging has already helped in other areas of my life, and this group could be just what I need!

  • At 7:48 PM, Blogger Seeking Solace said…

    Count me in. I think a community blog would be a great idea. Stop by my blog or email me at

    I have posted some great workout playlists on my blog in the past. Mustic is so improtant to my workouts and I love to share my latest creations!

  • At 9:39 PM, Blogger Weezy said…

    once the waters receed and friends are back in shape...count me IN.

    Great idea and thanks for taking the initiative.

  • At 10:20 PM, Blogger trillwing said…

    Oooh. . . Great idea! I have dissertation AND 10-month-old pregnancy weight to lose. :(

    Looking forward to this!

  • At 8:14 AM, Blogger DRD said…

    Email me an invite at

  • At 10:30 AM, Blogger BernieRA said…

    I was not granted tenure this year, and decided that one of the things I needed to do was make certain the folks sitting across the desk at interviews didn't think I was one cheeseburger from a heart attack.

    I changed my eating habits (less junk, coffee from home and not from Dunkin' Donuts), put in my "8 Minute Stretch/ 8 Minute Abs" DVD every morning at about 6am, and I walk at least 3 miles 5x a week.

    I've worked my way up to interval training (jockspeak for 'I can't run that far, so I mix walking and running') and I've lost over 30 lbs. I feel so much better, and it's totally changed my attitude on everything!

    Good luck. You deserve the best you can get!

  • At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Lori said…

    I'm a new reader but could definitely use the accountability; between the stalled dissertation and the year old baby (complete with unlost pregnancy weight), I need help! Not a blogger member (if you decide to go that route), but willing to join.

  • At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Re: Fitday

    I'm not sure how the public journal works, because I've never tried to use it. I kind of think that they put this feature in specifically for the accountability factor. But really, I just mentioned it as a way to keep track individually in addition to the group blog. Particularly for the calendar function so that, when looking at the weight graph to see when you were most successful in shedding weight, you could go to that date span and see what you were doing in terms of exercise and diet. That's what I have found most useful about it, in addition to the ease of keeping track of calories and nutrition.


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