One morning I woke up and realized I was way too fat.
That day was 25 years ago. Since then, I have been collecting diet and fitness information in my head the way the modern woman collects boards on Pinterest. I'm noticing lately, since I've been at this for so long, that there are definable cycles to my madness. It occurs to me today that, for all my information hoarding (hoarding because I have yet to effectively put it into practice) and all of my equipment, DVD, and victory clothes gathering, I am stuck at my highest ever weight range and I have been for the last five or so years. Wow. And I woke up this morning amidst the chaos of the blessing/curse of an overbooked Senior season staring at one of the more familiar "places" that has played through my head on a twenty-year loop...
"Now that it's sweater weather, I can work hard and emerge next Spring much more fit and in smaller clothes!"
I imagine the shorter, flirty skirts swinging just above my strong, toned runner's legs. I picture sleeveless tops and adorable workout wear. I picture Summer hikes and the ever-elusive dreamy run on the beach.
And this motivates me for awhile and then I forget and I don't really wake up again to my reality until the next "cycle" stares me down. It's usually, "Wow. I HAVE to do this. Well, the holidays are here, so I'll just maintain and start at the New Year." Then we have, "Spring is coming. Here's your chance to give it a big push!" That one is followed by the promise of better outdoor weather in the Summer, only to realize that Summer exercise is hotter and stickier than the cool autumn air. And so it goes, always with the cycles.
Another cycle I've been recognizing is the one where I find myself way too busy to pay attention to my sorry state and I work so diligently on "other things" that I neglect myself entirely. Of course, there's the nagging voice in the back of my head that tells me to track and walk and stretch every hour, but I push it away for the next deadline and I think that, when I catch up, I will make myself a "thing" again.
The obvious problem is that I don't know anyone who ever feels truly "caught up", and I know that I don't, ever, get to that place where I can breathe and say, "Okay. NOW!" So, I think, this is how someone can wake up fat one morning and, for all the spinning wheels and money-time spent "working on" this, be so much worse off 25 years later.
The reality of this Fall cycle slapped me last night as I fell into bed in sheer exhaustion and woke me up with that familiar twinge of, "How many times are you gonna find yourself in this place, only to go around another year?"
This has to end.
I'm telling myself these things this morning:
Walking every day is ALWAYS good. Don't worry if the burned calories are low compared to other exercise. Start here. Add other things later, but ALWAYS get out and walk. Don't ever think that it won't be worth the time. It is the starting point for everything I want- hiking, biking, swimming. Be intentional. Know that I will walk in the morning. Prepare for that happening. Focus.
Don't get confused by nutrition "facts". In the end, eat things that matter. Don't eat things that don't nourish me. Do vegetables every day, even though they can take more time to prepare. Track diligently and don't "forget" to track because I don't want to own up to the cookie or don't want to be reminded that I forgot vegetables again.
Remember that next Spring will come and that, once again, there's an opportunity before me to finally live what I've been dreaming of. There's a graduation and an epic family photo and college move in day for Grace and an new home for this family. There is a new business launch and new clients and friends. This year, in particular, everything will be new for our family. Who do I want to be when these things roll around?
More than the swishy dresses and visual satisfaction of dropping significant weight, I long for the awareness that I finally jumped out of that nightmare of "cycles" and that I am now on my way to all of the things I've ever wanted.
Streak begins today!