Birdwatching is surprisingly fattening! You wouldn’t think so by the looks of it. Yes it’s not quite a sport, but hey — you’re outdoors! Depending on where you bird, there’s usually a lot of walking to birding spots and and hiking through trails, often carrying a lot of gear. Things like bottle of water, insect repellant, a notebook, a bird guide book, and at the very least binoculars. The list of gear to carry can grow huge if you plan to take photographs, make a video, or make a sound recording.
Why is birdwatching fattening? Sad to say, but after spending hours in the woods surrounded by the glory of mother nature many birders head straight for the nearest fast food drive through en route home. A lot of birders bring trail food and water, but after a long day walking around, you can only eat so much trail food. Then, if you had a really good birding day with lots of new birds, you need to celebrate! And that calls for a round or two or beer! Some birders even have a “beer bird”. That’s when you cannot have a beer at the end of the day unless you’ve seen a particular bird that’s named at the beginning of the birding day. All that standing around exposed to sun and the wind for hours is energy-sapping. Unfortunately, it’s not calorie-burning. Then there are the comfy birding clothes. Birdwatchers see khaki-colored, shapeless pants with garter waistlines and think, “oh, birding clothes!” Those garter waistlines are evil! Prepare for a shock when you try to get into your regular clothes after spending a few weeks in garter pants.
As a former cyclist turned birdwatcher and who is now going into farming, I wondered, “wouldn’t it be great if there was some activity that automatically kept you slim and healthy? And wouldn’t it be fantastic if that activity were FARMING?” Farming has a lot of good things going for it. You can control what goes in your food, you have lots of fresh air, and you wear snug cowboy jeans! Farmers seem very active — horseback riding, minding the chickens, checking the plants, putting up fences, planting trees, making bird habitats, making compost. The list goes on. A friend who visited the farm said, “it looks like you have enough projects to last a lifetime.”
Somehow though, the idea of being on a farm is also tied up with thoughts of many lovely food possibilities. I already bought a breadmaker because it seemed like it would be so perfect to eat fresh cinnamon raisin bread for breakfast or merienda on the farm. This may have something to do with the summer vacations of my childhood spent riding ponies and eating raisin bread. The husband is imagining home made pizza from a wood burning oven for dinner with home made ice cream for dessert. The ice cream maker has been ordered and is already on the way. Oh no, it is entirely possible that this farming idea is a big excuse to eat lots of yummy things!
What to do? Obviously, farming is not “the” magic bullet for staying thin and healthy. The the thing is, there is no magic bullet. There is no one lifestyle choice or practice that will guarantee your health. Even going vegetarian or becoming an uber-triathlete won’t guarantee that you will be healthy. So you should just do whatever it is that will make you happy. Go birdwatching. Ride a horse. Do what you love. Be with people you love and who love you back. Of course you will need your health to enjoy all that love and happiness. So take care of yourself and stay healthy by making healthy choices everyday. Or at least try! Drink a lot of water, exercise every day, and hara hachi bu!