For the last fifteen years, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on my ass. I blame my desk job, the weather, television, genetics, my partner, friends, pets, the way I was raised, and the crime rate–just to name a few. Coming up with good excuses is my true gift, as easy for me as breathing.
Besides my ability to craft a great excuse, I’m also extravagantly thrifty. I blame a decades-long period of self-inflicted poverty. I’ve never minded spending, even when I didn’t have money to spend (hence the self-inflicted poverty). But when I do buy something, I tend to use the hell out of it. After wringing every cent of value from my purchase, I toss it in the pile for the garage sale we have every three to five years.
These two facts about me recently collided. I’ve had to spend a small fortune for prescriptions, medical procedures, and visits to assorted and sundry doctors over the last few years for issues resulting from my crummy diet and lack of exercise. My gift for coming up with good excuses failed me. The blame fell squarely on the shoulders of the man in the mirror.
For the third time in my life, I started seeing a therapist. Maybe you’re smart enough to figure things out all by yourself. I’m not. Being a creature of habit is my undoing. About every ten or twelve years, I get stuck in a rut so deep it takes expert assistance to get me out. Mostly it’s about dumping negative thought patterns (I can’t…) with something more positive (I will…).
As recently as January, I’d given up and accepted my unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle as something I couldn’t change. The years of being proud of my appearance, liking the way I looked in my clothes, and feeling good about myself had passed. I’d reached the peak of the mountain and was beginning to slide down the other side.
Now I’m climbing that mountain again. The peak is too far off in the distance for me to see. I’m eating a healthy diet (mostly), exercising six days a week, and working hard to get in shape. I feel good, and feel better about myself with each new day.
This dramatic change in my lifestyle didn’t happen overnight. First I started riding my bike three days a week. A month or so later I started Weight Watchers to get a grip on my diet. Then I started going to Zumba classes a couple of times a week and downloaded the Couch to 5K app to my smartphone. Joining the gym was my way of both cutting the cost and maximizing the value of my “exercise” dollar.
Today I go to Zumba three times a week and am the undisputed Zumba King of Athens. I run two miles, three days a week and am working my way up to three miles. I see a trainer once a week and follow the program he put together for me three days a week. Other than the muscle pain, I can feel a difference in my body. I’m even ready to switch from my full-fat nightly dish of ice cream to frozen yogurt.
These changes don’t guarantee me a longer life. They do, however, help me to feel better about myself and the life I live. I’m frankly amazed at myself–especially that I’ve become a runner and even enjoy it. But the biggest shock is that after tomorrow, you won’t find any full-fat ice cream here in…
My Glass House