What are you really giving up for the sake of convenience?

Recently, on Masterchef Australia, one of the contestants was competing against a professional chef for the elusive immunity pin.

The core ingredient was cheese, so she decided to make a twice-baked soufflé.  Of course, she would need to whip up egg-whites for her dish. And upon doing so, she said something like this:

I know chefs like their gadgets, but where I come from, we do this the old-fashioned way.

And she proceeded to energetically whip the whites till stiff.

All I could think was: yes!

Why? Because if not careful, we humans will eventually make ourselves physically redundant.

Think about it:

Many of us get up in the morning, and then sit on the commute to work, sit all day at work, before sitting back on the commute home. If we cook dinner, we’ll be standing for half an hour or so, otherwise, we’re sitting watching TV, browsing the internet or are on our device, which we continue to do after we eat dinner, and then finally roll into bed.

We also invent things so that we can reduce the remaining movement that’s left in our day.

Like the electric eggbeater so we don’t have to use our biceps.

The escalator so we don’t have to use our legs.

The robot vacuum so we don’t have to walk around pushing and pulling the vacuum ourselves.

The car boot that opens with the press of a button so we don’t have to lift and move our arms above our head.

The voice activated parallel parking of cars, so we don’t have to use our arms.

Siri {if you have an Apple device, you’ll know what I’m talking about}, so we don’t even have to use our fingers.

Heck, soon everything will soon become voice activated so we don’t have to use any body parts.

Of course, these changes can be helpful for certain situations — however it is the mindless misuse of such manmade conveniences that is getting us into fat trouble.

If we’re not mindful, we’ll find ourselves fast heading towards a lifestyle similar to the humans portrayed in WALL-E.

Sure, we’ll save more time. But more time for what exactly?

Working more?

Fitting in more TV?

Online shopping?

Spending an extra hour or two on social media?

The introduction of such conveniences, while gradual and seamless, has a significant impact. It changes our culture, the way we live, and literally the way we move, or in this case, whether we move at all.

To counter this lack of movement and associated obesity, the modern way of thinking is to do to around 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. This is not enough if you’re sitting for much of the day.

And that’s just our problem: exercise is viewed as something separate to the day’s happenings.

This makes it challenging to create time for yet another thing we have to do in the day.

Instead it would be easier and wiser to make movement an essential part of our daily activities, what is now termed as incidental movement. This is the traditional, natural way of being {and living}.

As Mark Bunn writes in his book Ancient wisdom for modern health: rediscover the simple, timeless secrets if health and happiness:

Apart from the need for survival, exercise was traditionally associated with flow, dance, pleasure and joy. Today, the very thought of being active is often seen as an inconvenience or an undesirable necessity. Many of us need inspiration, discipline, a personal trainer or the distraction of music just to get off the couch. These are signs that we have forgotten that natural wisdoms of exercise and lost our connection to the intrinsic joy of movement.

As far as movement is concerned, blessed is the waiter, labourer, dancer, cook, gardener and dog walker.

Yes, there tends to be more dollars in a desk job — but when money becomes the driving force with which one leads their life with, the excuse of smarter use of time becomes easy to justify. Such as when paying some one to clean the house makes sense, money wise, because you’ll earn much more than the cleaner by working at your desk job.

Having mostly a desk job as a writer, I am grateful for every opportunity to move  — but I create opportunities too.

Previously, where I once saw, vacuuming, cooking, washing the dishes as a chore, they’re now wonderful opportunities to use my body, senses and be on my feet moving.

If I catch myself moving ‘too efficiently’ – I may consciously choose to move inefficiently, creating opportunities to move more. Such as when talking the bins out, I may do them one at a time, instead of trying to take both at once.  Or when moving things from one place to another, I may make a conscious choice to do extra trips than I need to.

And when I’m on the laptop writing, I’ve used a timer as a reminder to take movement breaks, or work without the power cord till the battery runs out {a couple of hours with an 11 inch Mac air}, which forces me to get up and do something else. At times, I place my laptop on a higher bench so I can type while I stand.

This is in addition to walking my dogs and doing yoga most days, and, of course, housework.

In the end, it’s about re-considering the way we live and our attitudes to movement, and making some conscious choices and opportunities to move more.

By the way, while the Masterchef contestant lost, she has stronger biceps than the chef.

7 thoughts on “What are you really giving up for the sake of convenience?”

  1. I love the way you think, Lesh. You are so accurate in what you say here. I’m really good at being a computer potato (don’t like to just sit & watch TV) and for most of my life I was deeply depressed. However, I worked to get beyond that depression, and when I did, I discovered that my body really does want to move. While I’m certain I don’t move as much as I need to, I still do exercise regularly, and try to move around the house, doing various chores. I think the best exercise I’ve found is hiking and scrambling around on the rocks at our local state park where we volunteer as tour guides. Apart from the joy of just being outdoors, there is so much of nature to see while we are there that I am highly motivated to go out there and move around. It’s really nice to have a motivation to exercise, since I find it really easy to ignore when my body tells me it wants to move. Thank you for yet another great post.

    1. I love your comment about being in nature, scrambling round on the rocks and being a volunteer. Gracie.

    2. Hey Susan, thanks for your thoughts. I don’t think I move as much s I need to either, but being conscious about it and doing the best you can is all that we can do. Lesh x

  2. Dear Lesh,
    Over the last 30 years I have embraced the joy of morning walking, getting up even earlier to catch the sunrise.
    I have seen so many women struggle with their weight, hire trainers, eat out too often and end up a few dress sizes bigger, blaming menopause. Walking is still the most reliable, gentle on your body exercise and housework comes a close second.
    As mother of 6 children, I remember thinking every trip down to the laundry kept me trim. Love your blogs and recipes. Thank you o wise one!

  3. Lesh, I really loved what you had to say about making movement a natural part of our day and that we are living with the unfortunate mindset that movement is inconvenient. The human dystopia video is such a great warning for us all too!

  4. Stumpled across your blog and I’m nodding to everything you say in this post!- Baking is another form of gym for me!
    It’s amazing and yet frightening the environment that we’re trained to be accustomed to. From those gadgets that makes life supposably more convenient to the 40 hour week that drives the inner desire for people to purchase quick fix happiness with the little free time they have. Glad you are based in Melbourne too.

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