Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

Wendy crop  compress  40

My Mission

Helping Others through the Synergy of Science and Caring
How this blog supports my mission


« Too Old to Die Young | Main | Preparing for Tough Times »

October 20, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Polly Leshan

I found the piece by Kolata disturbing, not because I don't think there is often merit in pushing oneself, but the picture of an almost skeletal elite runner right next to an article about family treatment for anorexia nervosa made me wonder about a subtext which might well be explored.

Wendy S. Harpham, M.D.

Dear Polly,
Excellent point. Healthy Survivors know when to slow down or stop, even if it means resisting the Rambo culture of working through treatment without missing a day. Even if it means letting go of some of your usual roles and/or responsibilities.
With hope, Wendy


Good athletes also know when to slow down or stop, whether it's a prerace taper, easing off to prevent overtraining, or resting and healing after an injury. I think the NY Times article focuses on pushing oneself because so few of us do, and skips over taking it easy because that's the default for so many.

Wendy S. Harpham, M.D.

Any idea why the default setting for most people is taking the easy way out?


Aside from "It's easier" (a tautology if I ever wrote one), I really don't know. Perhaps, just as evolution seems to have set us up to indulge in high-calorie foods whenever they're available, it may have also set us up to conserve energy whenever possible, for the same reason: to build up fat stores to stave us over the once-inevitable famines.

My mom tells me I was self-motivated as a child, so inborn personality traits may also be a big player. But I don't think it's a strictly have it/don't have it proposition, because I've seen people change and start pushing themselves after decades of taking the easy way out. It would be really interesting to study people like that to find out what made them change.

Medical News

You can also rely on yoga and meditation for relaxation and focus.


I'm iprmesesd! You've managed the almost impossible.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad