Or motivate yourself.
Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”
I’m absolutely miserable our first morning back in town after a marvelous month spent in sunny, but quite cool, Florida. I find myself faced with the prospect of pushing myself out into Chicago’s sub-zero cold for my daily five mile walk.
“Ain’t happenin’,” I think. “Now what?”
The bare minimum I will walk on a day like today is one hour. So, my only other option is to bundle up, race down the street to East Bank Club, chain myself to one of their high-tech treadmills, tough it out for that hour and get the whole thing over with.
As treadmills go, I especially favor the ones that look like “Star Wars” Strato Scooters, so I pick my favorite on the end, punch the “quick start” workout button and away I go.
However: by 13:09 into my workout, I’m already bored silly without my I-pod. I can’t believe I forgot it. That thing’s like an appendage to me, but today it’s in a different spot than usual because of last night’s travel and I just plain forgot it. My dang knees are crying, too.
How many of you would quit right here and now at the first sign of a little discomfort?
If you want to lose weight and get healthier, you have to work past the pain and walk every day. (Consult with your doctor first, but do get your butt moving ASAP.)
You know what your personal pain tolerance is and what everyday aches you have that you always use as an excuse to not move as much as you should. Stop letting those things hold you back. Stop holding yourself back.
Get on the scale. Look at yourself in the mirror. Feel how tight your waistband is. Look at yourself from behind. Notice how snug your shirts, sweaters and blouses fit.
It’s time for you to get moving. Or are you waiting for some catastrophic health event to strike where, if you’re lucky enough to survive, THEN maybe you’ll start to do what you need to do for a healthier, more fit life?
Back to the music matter: it works wonders as a distraction from pain. It’s one of the things that keeps me walking day after day after day. Studies prove that people who walk and listen to their favorite music are more likely to develop walking into a daily habit. (And for safety, listen only in one ear while you’re walking outside.)
15:51 minutes: I’m restless and looking for an escape. I spy some of Nautilus’s new, split treadmill machines called treadclimbers. Hmmmm.
17:09: My curiosity gets the better of me. I feel the need to switch over to one of the treadclimbers and keep my warm up going while I get oriented on this new cardio contraption.
“No need to run. 2 X’s the workout!” blare the red-dotted words on the screen. We’ll see.
I last five whole minutes – that’s the amount of time allotted to figure out how to work the thing – before I call it quits. I can’t move my legs another revolution.
“Continue workout?” red-dot flashes next. Not!
“Treadclimber, indeed,” I wonder. What genius thought this one up? But in my heart I’m envious of those who zoom along, cardio-cranking, proficiently smooth and sweating like hell. That’s the real name of the fitness game if you can handle it. Lucky dogs. Otherwise, take it slow, do what you can, but you do have to push yourself and practice every single day to get results.
And if your heart, knees, hips and back can take it, the treadclimber will seriously boil off your excess pounds in no time flat and then keep them off for as long as you continue to use it daily. That’s the key to one of dieting’s biggest “secrets,” consistency – doing it daily. Forever.
I can’t beat a path back to my old treadmill fast enough. The grass was not greener, and clearly I need music to get me through the rest of this workout.
Another turning point: how many of you would quit now? How many of you would figure, “What the heck,” and just stop right here?
I have to press on. No excuses.
Doing some quick math, I figure seventeen minutes on the first treadmill, plus the five minutes I spent on the tread climber, equal twenty-two minutes. That leaves me with a minimum of thirty-eight minutes to go – back on my original “Strato Scooter.”
A few minutes into it, I wish my knees would stop screaming while I wait for the Excedrin I popped a bit ago to kick in. I’m just thankful to be back on level “ground,” if you know what I mean.
My one eye slits open: only 30 more minutes to go. This is pure, unadulterated penance for my 30-days of wayward vacation behavior. Miraculously, however, I didn’t gain any weight even though we wined and dined with tastes of dessert almost nightly. (OK, so some nights there was more than just a “taste.”)
And don’t think I was a total slug while we were away. It was 30 straight days of walking a minimum of five miles a day on the beach and swimming an hour in a perfectly heated pool every afternoon that helped me keep my weight in check. Plus – two more dieting biggies: weighing myself every morning and being very stingy with every single white starchy, sugary carb I put in my mouth at breakfast or lunch that helped, too. (I never eat both on the same day anymore.)
Vigilance is vital. There is no other option.
I quickly count my blessings. In the old days I would have figured, “Heck with it, we’re on vacation,” and toss all caution and training to the wind. And by the time I’d get back home – I could easily be up ten, fifteen or twenty. Not any more.
But, at 11:23, (of the 38 minutes I have left this go-round) I discover I have to pee.
“No way,” I think. If I stop again I will never be able to get back on this thing. I know it. This is way too hard for me today – especially without my usual musical diversion.
15:52: For distraction, I sneak my Bluetooth outta my purse and clip it on my ear, placing a verboten call (club etiquette rules) to my business partner, whispering to her that I’ll be in within the hour.
I then slam my eyes shut, grab hold of the handlebar and by 20:44 I gleefully realize I’m over halfway there.
Failing to keep my mind occupied, I compulsively open my eyes again and again only to find the first thing I stare at is that dang elapsed time.
25:52: How will I keep on walking for the duration? Then I think about the consequences if I don’t – that does it for me every time. After struggling for a lifetime of being mostly overweight, I know full well what will happen if I ever succumb to such lazy thinking again.
An almost anorexic gal climbs onto one of the treadclimbers just a bit in front of me. Her legs and feet are a dizzying blur as she gears up to speed instantly without so much as a how-da-ya-do warm up. She’s tall and weighs maybe ninety pounds dripping wet – half of what I weigh, so what do I expect. The lighter the load, the faster you move.
“Only ten minutes to go, no one would know if you stopped now,” I hear. I know it’s not me but that dang Demon voice in my head trying to sabotage me yet again. I refuse to listen. “I would know, you ass, and that would never do.” Why risk entertaining such a bad habit now, after all I’ve done, after how far I’ve come? Quitting early just isn’t my style. I know how much better I look and feel without that extra 130 pounds. Even with my chronic pains, the effort’s well worth it. The pains are far less and I’m much healthier now.
33:17: My Demon is hard at work begging me, demanding, stomping his foot to get me to stop now “before it’s too late.” “Too late for what,” I snarl? Demon doesn’t come up with a good enough answer, so I press on, eyes clamped tight to shut out the elapsed time’s red-dot display.
36:28: Just a few more minutes. “You can do it,” I encourage myself.
“Don’t be a fool. No you can’t,” hisses Demon.
37:01: Only 59 more seconds of this misery. Rest assured, I will never forget that dang I-pod again.
I see myself punch the cool down button. Am I crazy or what? Adding five more minutes onto this treadmill torture for good measure is insane, but I do it anyway – just because I can, thinking, “Take THAT, Demon.”
I always make sure to get my daily walking workout in no matter how hard it is, no matter what.
How about you? You know there is no REAL excuse.
Do whatever has to be done. It’s always your choice.
Laura Dion-Jones Casey