I had a nagging feeling all week that as far as my exercise program goes, I wasn’t getting it done. But as I was working out at the gym today, I realized that not only is that perception wrong, but this week I actually got pretty close to my goal state.

The hardest part of this journey into better health and fitness is the mental aspect. I mean, that’s so obvious it’s almost a no-brainer. Except it isn’t.

What I was feeling this past week was that I wasn’t doing enough. Maybe that’s because I skipped a workout Monday, and that set the tone for the week in my mind somehow. But I went to the gym on Wednesday; on Friday played with my new exercise machine (an older model NordicTrack ski thingie, and if anyone has any tips on how the hell to work the thing I’m all ears); and all weekend long I was run ragged by my two grandsons, including several boisterous bouts of crazy dancing and basketball at the park; and on Monday made it back to the gym in what I think I can now confidently say has become a habit. (Right, Trish?)

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I prepared my meals for the week Sunday afternoon, and my visit from the grandcritters did not derail my diet. Well, except for snacks we took on the road when we went to Santa Fe. Full disclosure: We did have popcorn and corn nuts from the gas station. Could have been worse. Much, much worse.

My goal is to transition to an active lifestyle. That’s been the point of all this work, all this writing, all this effort. Not to lose weight (although I will be happy when that happens in any significant way; still at 238, sigh), but to get exercise and to eat good food. My aim is to avoid diabetes and lower my risk for a heart attack significantly. I’ve made huge strides and my resolve is stronger than ever. And I feel better than I ever have, healthwise.

That’s why it’s paradoxical and weird that I would simultaneously feel like I’m just not gittin’ ‘er done. Go figure. I’m thinking maybe because those activities fit into my routine without me having to think about it much, I feel like I didn’t do enough? Maybe I think it has to be a struggle to be a worthy effort. And I tend to lament the classes I want to attend but don’t, particularly yoga. That might add to the feeling that my effort is not up to snuff somehow.

But in fact, having things like going to the gym be part of my daily life is exactly what I’m after. I don’t want physical activity to be an afterthought, but integral. I want to play basketball with my grandsons, and not watch them from the sidelines like I used to do. I want to hike, and climb, and run joyfully the way a little kid runs. I don’t want to grunt when I tie my shoes. I want muscles.

Speaking of gyms, I’ve belonged to a few. Currently I go to Family Fitness in Edgewood. I had always been very self-conscious at the gym. Worried about what I look like and how fat I am and blah blah blah, sorry I just bored myself there. It has sometimes been an obstacle preventing me from doing things.

There’s a lot of camaraderie at Family Fitness. Today a young guy said we were “pumping him up” as we did box jumps. I have gotten high-fives and been approached by young men several times, always for them to say some version of, “Way to go!”

The young women, I notice, stay under their headphones a lot, but they also offer smiles. And the older folks are quick with a compliment or question. I am enjoying my time there immensely, and that, of course, is the reason I keep going back. I think it’s fun, and that’s been my plan from the beginning: To find exercise that is fun.

My takeaway from all this rambling? My perception is skewed—that’s how I got out of shape and obese in the first place. So my plan continues to be sound: When in doubt go back to the plan, and don’t give a lot of attention to my perception of how it is.

Are you working to get healthy and fit? I’d love to hear your story. Contact me at leota@lobo.net or 505-286-1212, or join my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!” An archive of this column is at edgewood.news, going back to the first one, and you can find me on Twitter, @leotaharriman and @news_ind.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.