I tend to think of the universe as a gentle, matronly, teacher. Sexist, I know, but there it is. Even so, I’ve been testing her patience. For the last few months, the whispers in my ear have grown progressively more strident.
“You’re letting your health slip, Hope.”
“Maybe you should make a huge salad to go with dinner again, Hope.”
“There’s a reason you only have two pairs of pants that fit you, Hope.”
Recently, she moved beyond suggestion into providing me with models of people with sedentary jobs, yet who have managed to reach a dazzle-you-with-their-health stage.
Molly became a pretty solid runner on top of her horseback riding. A good friend set a goal of running a marathon in the fall and a realistic training schedule to get there. Another had her own health epiphany. I don’t even need to look below her neckline to know what I’ll see; health breathes through her clear skin, sparkling eyes, and glowing cheeks.
So I’ve been floating down the River of Denial on a wooden raft, grown slumberous and sloppy in the sun. When that pesky mosquito of reality lands, I’ve waved it off and reached for another beer.
Thankfully, the big guns arrived last weekend. Turns out the universe has a partner, and he’s into shock and awe. He jerked me into the hotel bathroom, turned on the lights and said, “Look. I dare you to see what you’ve become.”
(What is it about mirrors other than one’s own that make them so revealing? It’s the same glass — albeit in different proportions — the same Nitrate of Silver, yet the images reflected are so disimilar.)
Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not fighting a ton of absolute excessive weight. I do have other health challenges, though, that make them relatively as important as a hundred excess pounds. I’ve also let my strength and balance decline, and though I walk, by no means would be an example of cardiovascular excellence. In other words, I’ve committed an across-the-board health cluster-duck.
Happily, I know the single step I need to take to both make a quick change to my body and infuse me with, well…hope: weight training.
So last night, for the first time way too long, I did a 20-minute workout using compound moves, my own body weight for resistance, and handweights. Olde skool, yes, but it’s quick, dirty, and effective. I know because I had the trembling after to prove it, and have stiffness already this morning.
Why am I telling you this? Well, a few reasons:
1. If I commit to strength training three times per week in public, I’m making it more real to me. 99.9% of you guys won’t know or care, but it tells me I’m at a new level of change than if I remain silent.
2. I’d like to acknowledge that those of you who are fit, or who put real effort and action into exercise and clean eating, do make a difference for those of us who don’t. We might hate you while we love you for the silent reminder of where we should be in action, but it does help. You don’t even need to open your mouth — other than to shovel in that butternut squash arugula salad. To quote Emerson, “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.” So thank you.
3. An invitation to the rest of you:
Have you been ignoring your health? Are you on the cusp of making a change? Is there a single, small baby step you could take that would make you feel more hopeful and empowered to ease into the next? If you want to publicly commit to it here, please feel free. If not, no pressure. We all come to big decisions at our own pace.
And while we’re at it, who are the people around you who inspire your own fitness goals? Do you have people to look to for advice if/when you’re ready to step it up?