When everything is going great, this column is so easy to write. Even the struggle to get to the gym is easy to write about when I’m making it to the gym every now and then.
But like everyone, periodically I stumble and fall. Boy have I fallen hard this time—haven’t made it to the gym in a month. I haven’t done any crazy dancing, or weight lifting, or rock wall climbing, or running, or even walking. I wouldn’t say I’ve thrown my diet out the window, but there may or may not be a pie cooling on the windowsill.
To make matters worse, I’ve had a very painful spot on my foot for a couple of weeks, and at the end of this week I’m getting some major dental work done—both things that impact how hard I can work out, and what I can do.
I’m having serious doubts about being able to run in any races on May 14 at the Torrance County 50+ Games. That’s a goal that I’ve been working toward and thinking about for a year.
I feel so discouraged.
When I get this discouraged is when my “no beating myself up” rule goes by the wayside, and I berate myself all day and into the night about everything that I’m not doing, and all the things I’m not getting done, and all the ways I am letting myself down. That voice is pretty easy to quiet down when I am making progress—some progress, any progress. When it’s all down the drain, like it feels right now, I have a tougher time keeping that tendency in check.
Actually, right now I feel like giving up altogether, and only a few threads are keeping me going at this point. One is this column, and the accountability it provides. People still ask me about my fitness program everywhere I go—and that helps so much! If I were on my own, by now I would have thrown in the towel.
Another thing that keeps me going is the gravity of the commitment I have made to myself to pursue an active lifestyle. I just turned 50 and I’m a brand-new empty nester. This should be the prime of my life, and I do not want my physical condition to be the factor that slows me down or stops me from doing things I want to do. My health matters. Taking care of myself has to be a priority. It is important. I don’t want to be diabetic or to die of a heart attack and I’m at risk for both.
So I find myself in the position of constantly having to talk myself down off the ledge of giving up.
Giving up isn’t an option. Intellectually I know that, and I’m a stubborn woman. Even if I slide hard right now giving up is not part of the plan.
I do have a plan. I need to remember that and return to it. So this Monday, for the first time in what seemed like a million years, I made it to the gym with my daughter. It may qualify as the wimpiest workout of all time—but I made it there. I lifted a few weights, and I walked half a mile at a snail’s pace on a treadmill. I didn’t even break a sweat.
Also this weekend, I got my lunches for the week packed up—a huge deal when it comes to the quality of my diet during my work week.
That workout was all about putting one foot in front of the other, literally. When we got there, my daughter had a raging headache, and I was limping and in pain. Neither one of us wanted to go, but we went because we haven’t been there in so long. It was about follow-through. It wasn’t easy. I was hoping no one would remark on my long absence and no one did. The psychological effort of going in there after being out so long was real. I felt like crying, and I felt like leaving and not going back. I understand why people give up on their workout goals.
Still, after all this moaning and crying, there is good news. I hadn’t been on a scale in about six weeks—I weighed myself Monday and was down by three pounds. More good news: I walked half a mile and my foot feels better today than it did yesterday. I am nursing a tiny hope that my foot will get better instead of worse.
The best news is that after a month of not getting the level of exercise I’ve become accustomed to, it really did feel good to get back into the gym, all of the difficulties along the way notwithstanding. Exercise really does feel good.
What are your struggles with staying with a fitness program? How do you stay on track? You can contact me at 505-286-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or join the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!”