Windowless hotel rooms have obvious disadvantages. Here’s one you probably didn’t think of: rolling blackouts. I woke up in the pitch black this morning. Among the blessings I counted were that 1) I had a flashlight, 2) I knew exactly where it was, and 3) I’d set out my running gear the night before.
When I reached up to try the switch, just to be sure I was really stuck in the dark, a twinge raced through my sore muscles. Physically, I’ve totally let myself go. Maybe that’s why I’m sick? I keep saying it must be the pollution. But maybe it’s that I’ve let the monster of the modern, sedentary life creep into my bones. I’ve found plenty of excuses over the past few months and somehow let my minimum daily demand for physical movement (30 mins/2mi walk) become the golden standard. Actually, most days I don’t even do that! Today was my first run in four weeks.
Like someone who’s ignored all the subconscious alarms that go off on the way to maxing out a credit card, I couldn’t believe it had gotten so bad. Here’s how I got my sore muscles: 7 push ups, 30 seconds of a plank with arm raises, 15 squats, 12 side lunges on each leg. That’s it. Shocking. Maybe four minutes worth of movement. I used to weight lift for an hour three or four times a week. And then go on a 45 minute run. I was strong, healthy, full of energy, constantly motivated, rarely depressed… I want the old “me” back. I said when I started traveling that focusing on my health would be priority numero uno. No inflexible responsibilities standing in the way. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Or, not.
Committing to a lifestyle that isn’t mainstream requires mental effort. I think that’s where I went wrong. I began to falter in the dead of the New Zealand winter when daylight hours were scarce. During our summer visit to the U.S. I managed occasional bouts of fitness management, but mostly I slacked AND partied. I became a coughing, choking engine that eventually sputtered to a stop near the end of our run (no pun intended) in NZ.
No more! I think maybe I have subconsciously been inspired by this guy named Drew. I’ve talked about him once before. He’s a personal trainer who could refute all but one of the objections from his overweight clients. “You don’t know what it’s like.” It was true. He didn’t know what it was like. So he decided to find out. What I’ve done accidentally, he did intentionally and with vigor. No exercise, typical American diet. Sugary cereal for breakfast, sandwiches, snacks galore, pizza, chips, fast food… you name it. For six months he put on pound after pound living this lifestyle that we all know makes you sick and tired. He developed food addictions, discovered the meaning of ‘food coma,’ and experienced the shock of not being able to move in certain ways because his excess pounds were in the way.
Now he’s on part two – going back to fit. I get his FB status updates about his struggles – ignoring the pizza in the break room, slimming down by 0.21”. He’s got lots of followers on his journey back to health. He’s always sharing the excuses he’s tempted to make for himself and encouraging them not to make them either. When I realized that, in the situations he details, I wouldn’t even bother to make an “excuse” (i.e. – I don’t even consciously think about the impact of the choices I’m making…), I noticed just how far downhill I’ve slipped. So wish me luck on the climb back up! ♣