Rhythm has always been a challenge for me, especially in the context of what I call the “shifting sands of The Independent.” Working at a newspaper means that some days are stultifying, just plowing through a pile of mundane tasks, while others are a nonstop marathon of excitement and adrenaline.

When you add major change to an already unpredictable routine, it can really get tricky to keep up with exercise and fitness goals. So it has been for me this week. I’m grasping for rhythm.

I’m starting over in most ways, and I feel the same sort of shyness about say, going to the gym, as I did when I first thought about going to a gym. It’s a little disheartening, actually, but I’m keeping my mind focused on the massive power of baby steps. It’s tempting to want a quick fix.

One thing that I’ve done is now gone about two weeks without smoking a cigarette. My lungs are grateful—and that’s not a baby step, that’s a great big step. It feels good to be successful.

Purple sweet potatoes and red chile is a regular part of my diet.

My diet when my workload gets heavy tends to yo-yo between good home-cooked food and junk food. I have no medium setting, for diet or anything else in life. That means I need to make meal planning a higher priority.

I have a plan to join a Silver Sneakers class in Moriarty next week, to write about for this column. I haven’t made it to kickboxing recently, but I’m looking for a way to squeeze that and a regular gym visit back into my schedule, too. I have learned that I get more exercise when I’ve got some external accountability. And I’m past the point of wanting to beat myself up because I show up for somebody else—the point is to show up.

Slacking for as long as I have means that I’ve lost ground physically. Things like getting up off the ground are harder than they were a few months ago. This has left me very reticent about jumping back into things I was doing fairly recently. But here’s the thing: Even though I really feel almost like I am starting from zero, I’m really not, and I just need to remember that.

When I first started in this journey out of the couch potato zone, I got excited about exercise through what I call crazy dancing. That’s just basically turning on some great dance music and prancing around like a dingaling—with weights. I like to do this in the privacy of my own bedroom.

What I like about dancing for exercise is that it’s a joyful activity, and it’s fun. So it’s a gentle way to remind my body that moving around feels good, so that next time I head for kickboxing class, I’m ready to give it my all.

One thing that’s not on my list of things to worry about his Halloween. My kids are grown and nobody will trick or treat at my house, so there is no candy binge in store—and that’s no trick.

Have you gone through fits and starts in getting an exercise program established? I’d love to hear your strategies for staying on track. Contact me at leota@lobo.net or 505-286-1212, or find my group on Facebook, “I’m Losing It!”