Perhaps you’ve experienced one of these narcissistic moments sometime in your life (if not, just humor me): you’re walking past a reflective window, or leafing through some vacation photos, and you catch an unexpected glimpse of your body. Your real body — not the image you have in your mind, or the image you hope everyone sees.
You backtrack and take a closer look, just in case there was some mistake. But alas, your eyes were not playing tricks on you. And you think to yourself, THAT’S how I look?
I had one of these moments recently. It made my stomach turn.
I know, I know how frivolous and self-absorbed this sounds. For the record, I’m not overweight. My blood pressure, cholesterol, and BMI are all fine. Nevertheless, I now realize how much I’ve let myself go in the last few years.
Keeping fit in my 20s and 30s was a borderline obsession for me. Nowadays, despite maintaining a normal weight, exercise too often falls to the wayside. As a result, my body has become a shapeless, jiggling mass of cellulite. Bleh.
It’s not difficult to trace back to the origin of my slump, which started when: 1) I dove headlong into writing; and 2) I reduced my work hours to part-time.
Life was scheduled and regimented with a full-time job. I was forced to make time for everything, including exercise. It seems counter-intuitive, but having more time on my hands has made me incredibly lazy. Couple that with lots more time in front of the computer and, well, you get the idea.
Have a look at the time-lapsed evidence (click to enlarge if you’re feeling brave). Pictures never lie.
So I’m back on the wagon, for real this time. And out of necessity, I set myself a goal: to run 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week, for a full year.
That’s right, 365 days in a row. Even through the holidays. Even when the wild Chicago temperatures plummet to -10 and soar to 95 (I’ve got a treadmill for the really desperate days). Why? Because I’ve learned I’m an all-or-nothing kind of girl. An inch of leeway quickly snowballs into excuses and apathy.
Thirty minutes a day is reasonable and manageable. That’s 3.5 hours a week, less time than the average American spends parked in front of the TV per day.
I started on this mission a month ago, and I already feel better. I plan blog about it now and then, to hold me accountable and keep readers abreast of my progress. Hopefully I won’t lose too many subscribers along the way
Of course vanity is among my reasons for committing to this goal. But I’m also doing it to improve my overall health, to give my self esteem a boost, and to set a good example for my kids. I also just want to prove to myself that I can do it.
How will my appearance change? How will I feel a year from now? I’m looking forward to finding out.