Melissa Carter: Growing up, slowing down

Let’s remember our own experiences. One of my greatest victories as a kid was beating running champion Yvette Sharp in a dash across the kickball field during recess. That’s when recess was part of a school’s curriculum, and such impromptu races were a common way to pass the time at Brown Elementary School.   Basketball and volleyball were the games of choice in my junior high school’s gym class, and I was on the tennis team in high school. The hills of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville proved challenging for all new students, especially lugging a 15-pound backpack along the way.  The joke was you could tell what year a student was based on the size of their calves.

My life now is certainly not as active. Spending a majority of my adult life in a radio studio has required me to remain sedentary during the day, and my television/laptop evenings don’t offer a lot of cardio. I try to take walks, but the time spent and distance walked don’t compare to my days as a student. 

I respectfully disagree with those diet ads I see and hear, informing me that as a 40-something my old body’s systems are breaking down, resulting in weight gain that can only be conquered by their pills. 

The reality is I don’t walk to work with a weight on my back, I’m not taking a break during the day to sweat it out on the basketball court, yet I can afford to eat and drink more than I did back in my days of youth.

Diet fads aren’t going to cure your weight issues, but neither is hating the body you’re in right now. Eating right and exercising are not new concepts, and it seems the more comfortable we make our lives, the more anxious we become about our bodies. 

If we look back to how active we were forced to be in school, maybe we’ll realize we shouldn’t be insecure to put on a bathing suit today. It’s not age or a natural lack of will — we simply stopped moving.

If I were to write a book about this issue, I’d call it “Live Like You Were in College.” Even those that didn’t go to college could benefit, since the concept is simply walk everywhere with a backpack full of books.

You would also eat like you were on a meal plan, only having meals available during certain hours of the day. No counting calories, no joining a gym.

I’m pretty sure results would be immediate.


Melissa Carter is also a writer for Huffington Post. She broke ground as the first out lesbian radio personality on a major station in Atlanta and was one of the few out morning show personalities in the country. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCarter