Middle Ages


The serf bowed as he approached the lord in the great hall. Lacking a hat, he nervously tugged his forelock and waited to be recognized.

“What is it, my good man?” the lord of the manor said from his warrior’s chair.

“Beg pardon, milord, but I think I can get a higher yield of beans from your fields if I plant from north to south this time.”

The lord smiled benevolently on his peasant. “Good thinking – but this season, we’re planting alfalfa. The soil needs the nitrogen.”

“Alfalfa, sir?”

“I’ll send you the seeds. That’s how we will increase our bean yield next season.”

The peasant, walking away to his humble but warm hovel, marveled at the wisdom and care of his lord and master. “Thank God,” he thought reverently, “that I don’t have to keep track of all of this stuff!”

Flash forward about a thousand years and hear the same conversation (almost) – this time between me (the serf) and Barbara (my lord and master) standing in the large gym at Body Dynamics in Falls Church, VA.

“Barbara,” I said, tugging my forelock nervously, “My scale has been stuck on 230 pounds for months now. It’s so much better than the 260 that I started from, but now it’s driving me up the wall. I want it to go down. What do I do?”

“Don’t look at the scale.”

“What?” (I might as well have said “Alfalfa??”)

“How did you lose the thirty pounds?”

“Oh. I ignored the scale.”

“That’s right. Just do these exercises and don’t weigh yourself. It’s just a number.”

“But it’s such an easy number to track.”

“It’s getting you OFF track. Stop weighing yourself – seriously. Do what I tell you, eat the way Chip taught you. Ignore the scale. Okay?”


I wandered away, deeply grateful that I have someone to keep track of these things for me so I can go on about my life thinking about why my dog has taken up barking as a hobby, or whether anyone can buy a Christmas gift for a 19-year-old that would actually be wanted.

These aren’t just my chronological Middle Ages; they’re my fitness Middle Ages too – progress has been made, but the enlightenment still waits ahead. I follow behind Milord Barbara wherever she leads me!

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From Monty Python. The Holy Grail, of course.


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