Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mens sana in corpore sano


Sounds like some well-intentioned but cruel purgative therapy from the 1930s, doesn’t it?

Au contraire; according to my old Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary “evectics” means “acquiring good body vigor and habits.”

At last! A word that describes my lifestyle!

Since I bought that Taber’s in 1979, my first year of nursing school, I’ve acquired a lot of good habits. Or to be more accurate – and honest – I’ve lost some bad ones.

Back in those early university days I used to jog with my roommate. Well, I was “with” her like a piano tied to her leg, thanks to my pack-a-day tobacco habit. I moved on to swimming: now there’s a gentle total-body workout! My friend and I swam forty laps of the pool, chatting the whole time, and then we headed for the Student Union Building for a well-deserved cinnamon bun.

Since we were enthusiastic, ambitious young women, we had pressing questions for our professors; they assured us that studying does not, in fact, burn more calories than simply breathing. I, for one, didn’t want to believe them and fortified myself almost nightly with a bag of Doritos, alternating a handful of nacho-flavoured chips with a smoke.

Being so busy improving my body with exercise and enriching my mind with classes like Understanding Nutrition, I didn’t always have time to cook, but luckily the guys at the pizza place down the street recognized my voice on the phone. Before I finished saying, “I’d like a–“ they’d hollered “green pepper and mushroom” to the kitchen.

There were other guys, too, who didn’t supply fast food.

That has all changed.

In between not finishing my nursing studies and starting my science degree, I discovered cycling. I ride whenever and wherever I can – short jaunts in town, longer trips around British Columbia, and self-guided tours in other countries. I walk to my local gym several times a week and just as regularly do not push open the door of the doughnut shop on my way home. I resist the siren song of chips as often as I can, I smoked my last Craven A twenty years ago this month, and I am very happily down to one man (and I’m sure he’s equally happy to hear it).

So I guess in my case evectics really is a kind of purge after all, though not, I’m glad to report, in a high-colonic kind of way. 

Thank goodness I've never admitted to my chocolate jones.


  1. I am completely disillusioned.

  2. You're disillusioned because I look so perfect, right?
    Huh? Right?

    My fellow treeplanters (now there's a grubby world!) used to call me the Ivory Girl because I never looked dirty. I think the dirt just blended into the background because I'm so very beige.

  3. "...I’ve acquired a lot of good habits. Or to be more accurate – and honest – I’ve lost some bad ones."

    i like this perspective. maybe if i practice thinking this way, i will lose some of my bad ones as well.

  4. Oh you are too funny Rachel! It made me think of my early working days, pretending to smoke little cigars and drinking very strong beer, in the company of like-minded people in the middle of trendy Quebec City bars.