When I was a little girl, I would make my mother read Little Red Riding Hood to me over and over again. And each time she got to the part with the wolf, I’d cover my eyes in renewed fear that poor Red was a goner. It took some time for me to grasp that the story always ended the same way. This is a lesson I have apparently not taken with me as I’ve grown. And the modern tales I read over and over and over again anticipating a unique outcome? Fitness magazines.
I rip these suckers off the shelves in droves anytime I’m in a stone’s throw of an airport newsstand. I’m equally proud and shamed to say I have four – oh yes four – of them in my carry-on bag as I type.
I realize it sounds innocent enough. Any reasonably health-conscious person should care about the next best running shoe and the fiber intake of Carrie Underwood. And who can’t benefit from the little kick-in-the-pants dose of motivation that comes from learning you can “whittle your middle without doing a single crunch”? But with my ever-increasing arsenal of life-betterment periodicals, I’m slowly realizing that the lunge doesn’t really change from month to month or magazine to magazine – and neither do these other features:
Cover Story: The likeable, sunny-faced actress on the cover very recently lost exactly 10 pounds by eating oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and salmon and steamed veggies for dinner. She also drinks lots of water and wears earrings that cost more than your house.
Health: One of your guilty pleasures is killing you slowly.
Fitness: Portable tear-out cards will let you try the latest yoga-spin-lates pose in the privacy of your 24 Hour Fitness.
Beauty & Fashion: Acquire the confidence to mix bold prints with loud patterns with non-slip headbands with teal nail polish with confidence – the ultimate beautifier.
Sex: You’re doing it wrong.
Nutrition: Slash the fat from your favorite comfort foods by swapping butter for flaxseed and kale. You can also find a weeklong menu of healthy meals that will help you lose weight whilst still indulging in your finger-in-cookie-dough habit.
Perhaps there are worse vices than forking over twenty bucks a month for identical magazines that give me a temporary burst of pleasure. Perhaps even though I expect a different outcome with each flip of the page I’m still clinging to the right side of sanity. Or perhaps there’s still hope of a brand new ending – as I still have about half of my Women’s Health left to read before I land.
What’s your vote? Do I need to kick this habit or is it really all that bad?