Thursday, May 24, 2012

Physical Reality

Does laughing count as exercise?
I talked a little bit last week, in my re-entry into blogging, that one of the things I committing to is a better regimen of taking care of my body. It’s not just because I’m “supposed” to, and it’s not just because I’ll be shooting love scenes this summer and need to be in top shape (though, now that I typed that, I think that should be a top reason.)

I’m committing to caring for my body because there are all kinds of signals tugging at my shirt sleeves, begging for my attention:

• Friends of my mother are being rushed to the hospital, and/or are dying unexpectedly. 
• I’m starting to “feel” old. As in, sitting cross-legged for a few hours results in me looking like a comedy act when I try to stand up. 
• My boyfriend (aka The Boy) is extremely athletic, and can eat whatever he wants. I want to keep up. 
• I feel in better mental health when I’m paying attention to wellness. not because of endorphins (though I’m sure those help) but because I’m at cause rather than a victim of my circumstances, which makes me feel powerful. 
• As an actor, I work for Mount Sinai Medical School as a standardized patient, and playing characters who are ill patients is a HUGE wakeup call to take care of my health. 
• My father died of a heart attack in 2006, so there are at least some risk factors for heart disease.

• I drink a fair amount of alcohol, and don’t really want to stop - and those are some seriously empty calories.

• I also like cheese. Lots of cheese. And bread.

The list goes on and on, but you get the idea.

So, I’ll share with you what I’ve been doing as a way of keeping myself motivated to (somehow) have you, my precious readers, hold me accountable:

• I run every other day with The Boy. I don’t run that far yet, only about 1.75-2 miles per run, but I can always increase my frequency or distance when desired. (I used to be a distance runner when I was younger - how many of you knew that?!?) 
• I walk as often as possible rather than taking subway connections.

• I take the stairs instead of escalators. I love stairs. It’s weird. 
• I’m looking into more fun activities that involve my body (that’s not dirty at all.) I’m a huge fan of dance classes but am on a limited budget, so I’m looking for music venues with dance floors to get my groove on.

As far as diet goes, I have an approach that’s oddly successful for me: I eat the healthiest thing I can stand to eat every time I have a meal. Normally that means: no meat, low salt, lots of fruit or veggies, lower fat, etc. This removes any guilt from having the food I love (cheesesteak, nachos, booze) because I have it only when I don’t want anything healthier on the menu. And, believe it or not, the law in NYC that makes chain restaurants reveal their calorie counts has been enormously helpful in my managing my health.

With drinking, The Boy and I are attempting to trim back our drinking to every other day rather than every day. Those of you who are not in NYC may not realize how difficult this is. When I lived in San Diego, drinking was tempered by the fact that I was a safe and conscientious driver and would only drive when sober. That limited how often and how much I would drink. In NYC, most business meetings and social gathering center around alcohol, so I find myself drinking most of my days calories without even knowing I’m doing it.

Funny story - last night, The Boy and I were grabbing a late night bite to eat at an Irish pub, and the guy next to me asked me from where I was visiting. I said I lived here, and he seemed surprised. He later revealed that he saw a glass of water sitting in front of me but no booze, and said that only tourists drink water at bars, because they forget that they don’t have to drive. Yep. That’s the culture we live in here.

How are you addressing your health? Any ideas that you can share with me to make my quest more fun or fruitful?

Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit


  1. Congrats on your healthy living successes! =D

    All the things you described are exactly the reasons to do active things... It's all part of living a healthy lifestyle. Everything affects everything.

    As a teetotaler I get asked why I don't drink. I don't ask people why they drink but like Erin's experience points out there are many who don't understand why someone might limit themselves. The answer is simple: Balance.

    Erin, if you haven't tried juicing yet, I cannot recommend it more highly. Get inspired by watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. It's a simple meal and it gives you an incredible amount of veggie and fruit goodness in a glass. A green juice is a nice dinner substitute and a citrus juice is a great add-on to a meal.

    Part of my regular routine is to do 2-3 reps of 10-30 push-ups before going to bed. It only takes about 3-5 minutes and is a great upper body workout.

  2. Congrats on all your success in this arena!!

    I personally cut all sweets out of my diet, because once I have one cookie, I must have twenty more. Now, when I get a sugar craving, I eat an apple.

    I had gotten pretty good at going to the gym (I often put movies or TV shoes on my iPad and watch them while jogging on the treadmill or elliptical), but I recently sprained my ankle, so most forms of traditional exercise are out. Time to go on a stationary bike until I can run again!

  3. Gary -
    I haven't explored juicing, but I'm fascinated by what you've written. I already have that documentary in my Netflix Queue (Instant View, baby!) And push ups and sit ups are my "off day" workout regime, which I probably should have added to the list. I feel much better knowing that other healthy people are doing the same things. :)

    Jill -
    I'm lucky that I don't have sweet cravings, but I do have salt cravings (which I've heard is because I'm not drinking enough water.) I never thought of having an iPad for use at the gym - what a great idea!

  4. Good idea - I've been eating really bad/waaaay too much lately. I need to stop! I get the craziest sweets cravings though (but I don't really get het savory/salty cravings). An iPad for the gym is a brilliant idea - then I won't get bored by the silly sports programs that seem to be all that they show! :P


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