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.