The Farmhand Dinner Theatre workout

It’s funny how things evolve over time. Take the farmhand dinner theatre workout.

In a way, this concept has its roots in our bedroom closet, where late one winter morning I discovered an unopened eight-pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups left over from Christmas.

My willpower at that point, when faced with such a find, was roughly the equivalent of the shipwrecked dogs in that Far Side cartoon who vote unanimously to immediately devour all the provisions. (Caption underneath: “Why dogs rarely survive shipwrecks.”)

The only thing that saved me was that it was nearly lunch time. I was using a lunch format then loosely based on our dog-poop yard strategy: Contain the offending material to a specific area with known and maintained borders. What this meant at lunch was that if I were going to indulge in a “thrill food,” I had to contain it within the first course, which would then be immediately followed by a large serving of veggies.

So I ate a couple of Reese Cups as my first-course “dessert” and worked my way through healthier and duller foods until I was placated.

Meanwhile, evolving on another track was my version of Jeff Yeager’s Ultimate Cheapskate workout, in which I spend an hour doing yard work as a means of getting an upper-body workout. (According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, just because I jog several times a week doesn’t mean I’m getting enough muscle-strengthening exercise.)

These two evolutionary paths collided last week on a day I intended to rest my legs for a ten-mile run the following day. I’d been grazing all morning, using up all but a handful of my day’s allotment of Weight Watchers points. Meanwhile, my outdoor workout was failing to deliver much in the way of either exercise or yard enhancement. I was flitting around various weedy spots in the yard without maintaining the upper-body rhythm I’d been hoping for.

Suddenly, in a moment of inspiration-via-rationalization, I “reframed” my day in a way that tied everything together and made it look … well, not smart, exactly, but full of potential, at least.

I decided my morning grazing, if lumped together as one large meal, could, in retrospect, be considered an old-fashioned farm meal reminiscent of the days when hard-working country folks needed to sustain themselves for an afternoon of laboring in the fields. A midday “dinner,“ in the classic country sense of the word, to be followed by an evening supper.

Only my farm dinner came with a modern dieter’s twist: Dessert comes first. In this case, a peanut butter graham “thin” was cast in the role of dessert, followed by carrots and green beans, a banana, grapes, an orange, a cup of minestrone soup, and a double-helping of boiled egg white sandwiches. (Glaringly absent: meat and potatoes. I rarely eat either these days. But if I were to have a baked potato, I would probably nominate it for the dessert course because of its blood-sugar spiking effects.)

Afterward, ideally I’d put in a solid hour of outdoor work — something more satisfying and labor intensive than what I wound up doing last week — and follow up with a light supper.

Thus the farmhand dinner would be followed by the farmhand workout, while the “theatre” component would take place entirely in my imagination, a nod to this elaborate fiction I’d concocted.

True, this is all pretty much just a thinly disguised rationalization.

But now that it exists, at least in my mind, I’m curious to see what kind of meal-and-chore combinations I can come up with.

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2 Responses to The Farmhand Dinner Theatre workout

  1. Skip Cunningham says:

    “Rationalizations are more important than sex. Have you ever tried to go a week without a rationalization?”
    –Jeff Goldblum in The Big Chill

  2. tischcaylor says:

    Great quote from a great movie. That’s been on my mind, in fact, because we’ve got a “Big Chill” weekend coming up at IU soon.

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