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Confessions of an “Active Couch Potato”

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Monday, October 12, 2020

A change of direction thanks to a Spark friend and some neighborhood squirrels.

As my spark page explains, I was always active and fit even as I packed on the pounds. If I had been able to control my eating, I may never have needed Spark in the first place. DH sometimes called me “ravenous woman” or “bottomless pit.” I can even overeat healthy food.

Using the nutrition tracker and my food scale I reached maintenance and stayed there year after year.

I first heard the term “Active Couch Potato” on a Spark Friend’s blog (Watermellon, I think) who referred me to this article.


I recognized myself immediately. Run, walk, swim, aerobics, weight training in the morning, then I would sit around the rest of the day – reading, surfing the web, watching TV and eating, of course. Why not? Look at how many calories I must have burned.

I revisited that article upon my recent return to Spark. It’s been easy for me to fall back into old habits.

Enter the squirrel. You’ve seen squirrels running back and forth repeatedly gathering and burying nuts.

What if I broke up my afternoon of couch sitting like the squirrels? Walk a repeated path through my house but NOT using it to gather snacks. DH named it the “route of the confused squirrel”

As the article indicates, there are health benefits to even short intervals of exercise. So now my afternoon is punctuated with several intervals of continuous walking through the house. 10 minutes qualifies as “exercise” but I walk for 12-13 minutes which equals ¾ mile for me. It all adds up and 12 minutes really isn’t that long.

I still do the morning exercise I always like (except swimming, darn COVID!), but no more afternoon couch potato.

A trip back in time for those who didn’t know me way back when.
My aha moment is different than most. In a local 5k I had just won my age group with the slowest time I had ever recorded. AND I won a turkey for being the oldest woman running (there were older women walking the race). Here I am. Smiling? More like a grimace. DD (Hayburner1969) is carrying my turkey.

What could I do? I couldn’t possibly train any harder.
1 Spark year later and 25 pounds lighter I ran 3 ½ minutes faster in the same race and my joints appreciated not dragging the extra weight up that final hill.
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