Health, Exercise and Milestone Birthdays: A Day in the Life Sunday

Tips, tricks and carrots-on-a-stick may work for short-term goals but when it comes to motivation for health, exercise and lifestyle changes, these techniques fail for me every time. 



I am a reluctant exerciser. I exercise in starts and stops. After a 2-1/2 year start, one thing lead to another and my latest stop was in August. I have not exercised since August. Sure, there were a few cursory visits to the gym but nothing that amounted to anything other than a weak attempt at easing my woes. 

On Tuesday, this will change. I have 2 more days to hang out with my excuses, regrets and over-40 hips before I take that first step back into the gym. I am dreading(and scared by) the hard work it's going to take to get back into shape. Add that to the impact of a low MPH on the treadmill and having to reach for the pink weights on my psyche and, well, this is NOT going to be fun at all. 

Where the promise of new exercise clothes, a spa-day or getting to shop for new clothes has failed to get my butt into the gym, the arrival of Tuesday, February 12, 2013 changed the game.

February 12 is T-6 months to a very significant birthday. For the record, I plan to bust, rather than stroll, right through this one.

Here goes nothing.

Getting (Back) In Shape is Hard Work

I am on a fitness challenge. I've always had a love-hate relationship with exercise so I am trying to take a look at this whole fitness thing from a new perspective.

I was the HS student who walked a mile when she was told to run it, splashed a little water on my face and neck and had her socks knocked off when her gym teacher had her to hold out her wrist to check her pulse. She then ran - if you could call it that - under her watchful eye.

I was the sophmore who joined ROTC in college after rapelling off the Zurn Science Center who was then heckled from the bleachers but what turned out to be a very cool First Sergeant, "my grandmother runs faster than you cadet - and she's dead!" Oh the joy.

I was the cadet in Airborne School who ran, trained, lifted and carried parachutes under the watchful eye of the cadre until she could swing, drop and land on her four points of contact no more. After a few weeks I was passing people when I ran. I would run, look back, and simply not believe my eyes. I was f..l..y..i..n..g...

By end of summer, my wings were gone.

Welcome to my peaks and valleys of fitness.

My most recent peak of fitness - training for a half-marathon - came crashing down on me last year with a knee injury and then shin splints. Hanging out in the valley got to be very . . . unsatisfying.

So knowing my longest peaks of fitness were when I was being held accountable by someone else - I hired a personal trainer. I am making a sincere effort to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes into my days.

I have a lot to learn. But, here's what I've learned so far:

  • The metabolism of my youth is gone. It's never coming back. *sigh*
  • Everything looks like a calorie when you are counting calories. Everything.
  • I don't ever work out this hard on my own. Explains so much.
  • A medium mocha from Caribou Coffee is over 460 calories, not counting the chocolate covered coffee beans. Explains so much more.

I am six weeks into this. My strength is going up, my weight is inching downward, and my next step is to incorporate cardio back into the plan. 

I am encouraged by my progress but not so much that I would be motivated enough to continue at this pace on my own. And that's ok. I have 4 1/2 more months to figure this out. The view is so much nicer from the peak.

So help a girl out here. Healthy life style, regular exercise . . . what motivates you?

Photo credit istockphoto