The other afternoon I was out walking my new puppy. (A new rescue puppy. See the back story here.) It’s a fair bit of cajoling, a little rewarding, some carrying, and a few bits of actual walking. See enthusiastic (not so much, let me sleep) puppy right here.
On our way home, I ran into a neighbour with her dogs. We agreed that early socialization was great for puppies and that the walks were a good way of getting him used to meeting new people and new dogs.
“It’ll be good for you too.”
At first, I thought she meant the socialization. I’ve been joking about the challenge of being an introvert in my neighbourhood walking a puppy. Everybody stops and talks to you.
But no, she went on the explain that the exercise will be good for me. She patted her hips in a knowing way.
I didn’t explain that I’d already ridden my bike 165 km that week and that I’d been out running three times. I kind of assume that my neighbours know this about me. There’s a lot of lycra clad people coming and going from my front porch.
I guess she didn’t see it. People certainly don’t hear it. And because the truth would contradict some basic beliefs, such as the belief that fat people are fat because we never move our fat bottoms off the sofa, it doesn’t seem to sink in.
I’ve blogged a few times about the time our department secretary recommended that I start to exercise for weight loss by getting off the bus perhaps one or two stops early. That advice might not be bad advice normally except at the time I was training for a triathlon. I was working out with the campus triathlon club most mornings, often riding my bike in the dark and the snow, to make the 6 am swims.
I thought my activity was hard to ignore. I was the chair of my academic department at that time and I was actually kind of worried about my office. Between the bicycle, the swimming clothes strewn across the bike drying, and the running clothes everywhere it looked a bit more like a locker room than the office of an academic department chair. I guess I needn’t have worried.
In the case of a fat person evidence of exercise can easily be ignored.
I tried to correct the department staff person but I didn’t correct the neighbour now. Where to start really? Exercise doesn’t necessarily lead to weight loss. You can’t tell how much someone exercisers by how much they weigh.
Partly I didn’t speak up because it’s not worth it and partly it’s because I don’t owe anybody a story about whether or not and how much I exercise.
No one asks whether I am trying to lose weight. They just assume that’s what I’m aiming at.
It’s wrong to offer anyone unasked for health advice. It’s rude.
I just shook my head smiled and walked away.
Happy puppy update: He’s walking better….we’ll work on running later….and getting up to speed on that necessary academic dog skill of walking to coffee shops and quietly sitting under my chair while I work.