For those of you who really know me, you know that I can be quite lazy. I have always had really great intentions of working out and getting in shape, but it has always been easier to sit back and do everything other than make it to the gym. I have had my membership at Lifetime Fitness since March of 2008. I was determined to be in the best shape of my life by my 30th birthday…that didn’t happen!! I was making it to the gym roughly 12 times a month to get my discount on my membership fees, but there was no consistency to my workouts or workout schedule.
Last November, I decided I had had enough of being lazy, something had to give. I set a goal to workout everyday for the next 30 days, right up to Christmas. I figured I had rested for 30 years, I could make it to the gym for 30 days. This might not have been the wisest idea as the body does need time to rest, but it was only for 30 days. After the first two weeks, my body was feeling it. However, I made it the full 30 days and lost about 5 pounds. It was a pretty amazing accomplishment for me. Although I only lost 5 pounds, I felt awesome not only physically but mentally as well (I had set a goal and stuck with it)!
Well I knew that I needed to set another goal, or I was just going to go back to my old ways of being lazy. I needed a goal that was just out of reach, where I was going to have to really push myself to achieve it; but still attainable if I really worked hard. My goal was to workout 300 out of 365 days. I already had the first 30 days done, so the momentum was there. For those of you who don’t like math, this meant I only had 65 days of relaxing to enjoy. This equated to roughly only 5 days off a month.
In all honesty, when I set this goal I really didn’t think I was going to be able to accomplish it. In March, I got sick and missed two entire weeks of workouts. Now I really didn’t think I was going to make the goal. It has been a struggle at times to muster the determination and motivation to workout. It is so much easier to not have to get ready to go to the gym, and not have to get all hot and sweaty. However, all I had to do was remember how great I felt after every workout, and that if nothing else I had accomplished the most important thing that day…taking care of myself. I have not worked out at 100% every day, I haven’t pushed myself to the max every day, and that was hard for me because I have always been the “all or nothing” type of person. I was finally able to convince myself that it was okay to not be at 100% every single day. I realized that when you are working out nearly every day, you can’t expect your body to always perform at 100%; it gets tired and it needs rest.
Somewhere along the way, around the end of June or early July, I injured myself. I started having very subtle pains in my hip. Since I had set this goal, I had to keep going and I worked through the pain. The problem was, it got worse. The pain eventually radiated down my leg into my knee. Unfortunately, I do not have health insurance and was not able to go to the doctor. The pain was so excruciating at times that it actually woke me up. I finally decided that I was only going to make things worse if I continued, so I took a break from walking/running since this is when the pain was at its worst. For about a month, all I did was the bike and the stairclimber. I eventually made my way back on the treadmill and so far, so good.
I can’t believe that it has almost been a year since I started this journey. Today is day 249 out of 310. I have 55 more days to go, and I will be working out 51 of them! So far I have lost roughly 30 pounds which I guess is great, but not as much as I thought I would have lost. This may be due to the fact that I have not dieted. Life is too short, and I want to eat what I want, when I want!!
The physical changes are nothing compared to the mental changes. This has made me realize that I can do anything I set my mind to. Is it difficult? Yes, but the things that are truly worth it, are usually difficult. I’m doing things that I never thought I would be able to do. I remember the first time I tried the stairclimber, I wasn’t able to stay on there for two minutes and there was no way that I could let go of the machine. Today, I am doing 30-45 minutes and no holding on!! I have always wanted to run, and have a goal of one day running a marathon. I’m finally running, and doing incline sprints and it feels wonderful. I am definitely not ready to run a marathon, but I am closer than I was 310 days ago.
I recently read a great book called “Courage to Start: The Guide to Running for Your Life” by John Bingham. I highly recommend this book, even if you have no desire to run. I really agree with the author that running is a metaphor for life. “You can learn the lesson of ‘living in the moment’ as a runner. You can learn that each step must be taken at its own time and in its own pace. You can learn that it does little good to worry about what you’ll do at the finish line until you get there. Every race has to be run one step at a time.” I loved this passage because it speaks to all of us. It reminds us not to worry about things, unless and until we face them. It reminds us that every project, obstacle, problem we face has to be dealt with one step at a time. “We arrive at where we are in our lives one day at a time. If we wake up one morning and realize that we have drifted off course, we still have to make our way back one day at a time. There are no shortcuts from where you are to where you want to be.” Isn’t that the truth? This is exactly why I have only lost 30 pounds, because I didn’t gain all of my weight in one year, and I won’t lose it all in one year. I will continue to lose it one day at a time, just as I gained it. “Improvement is defined as being closer to where you want to be than you are right now.” A week, a month, a year from now you will still be you. The only question is, will you have moved closer to who you want to be.