Sweating to the...Food Network?

I don't usually watch television while working out but the other day on the elliptical, I grew tired of staring at myself in the mirror (shocker, I know) and so my eyes wandered to the woman on the machine next to me. More specifically, I looked at her TV screen, only to see a cast iron skillet brimming with huge chunks of steak. Really delicious-looking steak. Like, that-smells-orgasmic-take-me-to-your-butcher delicious. Like Pavlov’s dog, I immediately pressed the "on" button on my remote and clicked my way over to the Food Network. Rachael Ray got me through the next 20 minutes with her cute/raspy voice chattering away as she prepared a steak and Gorgonzola dish with an apple crisp for dessert.

The thing is, I don't really even cook. The joke around our house is that I could cook IF I SO CHOSE. Alas, I do not. As a result, the fanciest thing my husband eats for dinner is barbecued salmon with couscous and sautéed spinach unless he chooses to order out. (Okay, that's not entirely true, I have whipped up veggie chili using a slow cooker and, exactly one year ago next month, I cooked flank steak for Valentine’s Day. And, as we all know, I can bake a mean giant challah. But what is it about watching Giada DeLaurentis mix up a batch of hibiscus spiked iced tea and Moroccan lamb chops while I sweat and pant that is so darn appealing? The distraction? The ability to be transported to a tastier place while doing something slightly unsavory? The blatant food porn? Her curvy-in-all-the-right-places-despite-chowing-down-all-day figure?

One foodie-exerciser wrote: “I now work out while I watch my food shows. This way, I can just savor the food with my eyes, burn a couple hundred calories over the course of an hour, and afterward, feel good that I didn't gorge on some junk food. Also, I don't have that much of an urge to eat because I'm a little tired and then I end up eating less. Oh, and working out between 7-9 p.m. helps b/c that's when I start wanting to get post-dinner snacks. So, it's not that bad watching food shows anymore. I don't risk getting in more junk food when it's unnecessary.”

Another jokes, “Watching Food Network at the gym reminds me of how many calories I need to burn to make up for that fried bologna. Mmm ... motivation.”

Do you Ellipticize and fantasize? And who gets you going? Bobby Flay? Emeril? Rachael? The Barefoot Contessa? Which chef makes you all hot and bothered and desperate to burn calories?

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