Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Last Sunday, two women at church asked me if I'd lost weight. I have, but more importantly, I was wearing pants that didn't give me a muffin top. But what struck me was that one of them, a woman about my age and shape, said, "I'm jealous."
Jealous? It's not as if I've done something that she isn't capable of. She's on my FB friend feed, so I'm sure she's seen how many workout-related status updates I've posted. Kim is at Tri-City Court Club. Kim ran. Kim rode her bike. Kim hiked Badger. Kim swam laps.
I know a lot of us get this kind of feedback from people: we somehow have discovered some miraculous truth and accomplished something the uninitiated cannot. Hardly. Ask what I ate yesterday - I can tell you. Ask me how many times I've run, swam, ridden, hiked, stretched, or strength trained this month - I can tell you.
Success is not an accident. While my bout of gastroenteritis two months ago gets some credit, the reason I didn't immediately regain the weight is that I made reasonable, healthy food choices instead of saying "I lost five pounds! Bring on the pizza and ice cream!" I still eat too much, but for the most part, I make good choices and keep my calories within a reasonable range. Some nights, I watch an hour of two of television; occasionally I splurge and watch three or four. But those nights are rare because I chose to do something different.
I give myself permission to skip workouts, but I don't do that very often, and I have to have a well-described reason for doing so (such as, I desperately need that extra thirty minutes of sleep, and that sleep will benefit me more than the run will). I've pushed through workouts I did not enjoy. I've ridden in 35-mph cross winds more than I care to describe. I've stared at the pool and wanted to cry because it was beating me. But day after day, I push myself. I work a little harder. I sacrifice the temporary comfort for long-term benefits (and big-assed bragging rights).
But here's what gets me: this woman is educated. Clearly she doesn't think she got her professional certification because she was lucky. Surely she's aware that it took hard work to get where she is today.
I wouldn't say any of this her, because that would be mean. But it saddens me that so many people continue to think there's some magic pill, some quick-fix, that will make them fit and healthy. There isn't. We all deserve to be healthy and fit, regardless of our shape and size. And that "secret" is already in us.