Keeping a diary throughout this fitness journey has kept me accountable. It also has chronicled my daily activities, experiences, thoughts, conclusions, evaluations … and, yes, even my complaints!
After every session with Eddie, I’ve hopped on the scale and stood with my back away from the digital display. Each week I’ve reminded him not to disclose the number because I have not wanted to know the results. Today I got curious.
“Do you want to know the number on the scale?”
“Nooooo,” I said before he could complete his sentence.
“Are you sure?”
I hesitated. “Just tell me if the number is changing.”
“Yes,” he said smiling, “Changing in a healthy direction.”
UGH! Been sluggish for the past few days. Last night I attempted to do my core exercises at home and felt distracted and disinterested. Even the glute bridges, an exercise I like a lot, held no appeal. I knew my husband and son would not be home for another 20 minutes, so I opted to turn on the radio and dance. However, every song was slow-moving and, again, I got preoccupied with other things.
What’s up with me? I felt like I was doing so well on this journey, yet this week I have been unfocused, lazy and unwilling to move. I had to force myself to get on the treadmill today. As I was walking my usual (dare I say boring?) steps, I thought: “Do I have to do this the rest of my life?”
Suddenly, like a lightning bolt, I had a revelation. I, like so many who begin a path to wellness, mistakenly assumed that the journey would stop after eight weeks when I’d “arrived.” I’d get to some magical place emotionally, see the ideal number on the scale, reach a significant level of endurance or be able to lift a particular amount of weight. I believed that I would “graduate” and be able to coast the rest of my days.
Then I recalled the words of a family friend who had been sober in AA for more than 30 years: “You don’t stay clean on yesterday’s shower.” By the same token, I won’t stay fit today on the workouts I did last week or last month unless I am doing today what I did on day 35. (Or whatever day. Pick a number.)
So what’s the point of all this? The point is I don’t know if I can do this the rest of my life. All I have is today. And today I did the best I could. I got on the treadmill for 18 minutes.
This morning I began the day with another reluctant visit to the fitness center. For the second time this week, I skipped my core exercises at home and got on the treadmill for less than 20 minutes.
Today marked the start of week six of my journey, and as you know now, dear Reader, I had been feeling less than enthusiastic the past few days.
Then amid my downheartedness and defeatism, I received an email at work that changed my attitude and brightened my spirits.
“I just read both of your articles on your fitness journey this morning. I just wanted to say that I think you’re doing an AMAZING job with your journey so far and that it’s such an incredible step into a healthier you.
Many people are stuck in their same routine thinking they need to work out doing the same mundane exercise over and over, when in reality mixing up your workout and stepping out of your comfort zone will make you a happier AND healthier human. I love that you’re doing this and I think many people will be inspired!
“Keep up the awesome work.”
I immediately responded, “I can only hope to inspire people in the way YOU inspired me today!”
I admitted to Eddie how apathetic, lazy and dispirited I’ve been. Wanting to atone for my lackluster fitness routine this week, I almost asked him to be especially merciless with me during today’s session. (As if punishment by overexercising was going to help build my morale or ambition.) He gently reminded me that every week will be different and that I can learn to trust my body. (What a concept!) He told me that I’ve been working hard, and I may have needed to “take it easy.” After all, muscles need to repair, rest and rejuvenate lest I injure myself or lose interest altogether.
I felt much better after acknowledging the lapse in my workout routine. What I perceived as failure and frustration was really a blessing and a benefit.
KARA MARZIALI is the director of Communications for the Jewish Alliance.