Awareness, Examples and Fun: My Gateway to Healthy Living

BlogHer Original Post

But even this knowledge wasn't enough. I'd never learned, for example, what dehydration could do to a body. I didn't know what inconsistent sleeping patterns could do to a heart. I didn't know what taking too much acetaminophen could do to a liver. I didn't know bundling up did little to prevent catching a cold. I didn't know what lives in our make-up brushes (to think I used to wash them only once a month!) and why it's important to mind make-up expiration dates.

The more I worked on this section, the more aware I became. Granted, there are some downsides -- I am considerably more paranoid about what I'm doing to my body than I used to be. But I would rather think about the consequences of my actions than pretend I live in an indestructible machine.

The last stage of the transformation began to unfold after I moved a few streets west from where I used to live. Closer to the beach, in an area with more houses instead of buildings, the new place was a dream. Unlike my old place which was in a more commercial area and where people were mostly running from point A to point B as quickly as possible, the new place was always alive with that unheard-of urban breed of human: neighbors. People who stopped and said hello when they saw you, asked how you were, brought over their gluten-free muffins when they made extra, invited you to their dinner parties if they saw you reading by yourself on your porch. The whole suburban nine. It was weird.

What was even weirder is that they all looked like an ad for a sports drink. "Is it just me, or is everyone in your neighborhood always on their way to the gym?" my friend Jordan asked me walking into my new place. He wasn't kidding -- I've yet to see a single person in anything other than yoga pants and sports bras. And it isn't a question of comfort, either. Regardless of age, gender or body shape, everyone is fit. You can't swing a Birkin in this place without hitting someone's six-pack.

I wondered if my neighborhood attracted this kind of person. Maybe all the best places to work out were only a block away? No, that couldn't be. My old place had been right around the corner from an Equinox and no one around there seemed much improved for it. I couldn't figure it out.

One morning, while checking for mail, I was startled by a neighbor jogging past in fuchsia yoga pants and a white sports bra. "Sorry about that!" she called out, turning around while still jogging in place to check on me. I smiled and told her I was fine, trying not to stare at her abs (I could have grated cheese on her abs, I swear to God). I couldn't stop thinking about it afterward. She'd looked like she was having so much fun, standing there, jogging in place. Was it fun?

I hate jogging. It makes my ankles hurt. But I couldn't get her smile out of my mind. She looked ecstatic. I remembered the stuff about neurotransmitters and exercise. And of course the research about women who orgasm while working out. If I was missing out on anything, I would sniff it out. Not jogging, though. Something else. Anything else.

Rodrigo was a cyclist, I remembered suddenly. He still rides his bicycle from time to time. Cycling might be a reasonable option. So I called a friend who'd borrowed my bicycle a year prior when he'd first moved to Los Angeles. "I never ride it," I'd told him then. "Seriously, I've ridden it twice. Once because it was new and another time into storage. You can borrow it as long as you need." He confessed he'd never ridden it either and would be happy to bring it back to me. I rode my bike that same day, terrified I would fall over or get hit by one of L.A.'s notoriously impatient and distracted drivers. Or both.

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