On paper, I look healthy. I am not overweight. I don’t smoke or drink (not even wine, which—if Facebook is to be believed—makes me an anomaly among parents of young children). I have no chronic conditions. I don’t take any medications regularly. I purposely seek out preventative care (dental cleanings, pap smears, blood work . . . hell, I’ve even had a mammogram). My cholesterol level is great. My blood pressure is excellent. I’m up-to-date on all my vaccines. As medical records go, I’m about as boring as they come.
Yet I’ve been starting to feel . . . different. I knew I had gained weight (10-15 pounds in the last decade) and gotten, well, squishier. My clothes didn’t fit as well anymore, and if you know me at all you know I’m way too lazy to get a new wardrobe. Exercising had pretty much fallen completely off my radar. The fact is: I may not be overweight or suffering the consequences of a chronic medical condition, but I am completely, totally, utterly out of shape.
Staying at a reasonable weight had never been much of an issue for me. My whole life people have commented how “lucky” I am to be able to eat whatever I want and exercise minimally and not pack on pounds. Yet there’s a huge difference between “not being unhealthily heavy” and “being in good physical condition.” While I might not appear “big” to most people (I’m 5 feet 8 and I wear a US women’s size 10) the scale has gradually crept up and I am definitely less fit overall. My “luck” has apparently run out. And, I don’t particular like being squishy.
Fitness hasn’t been a priority of mine for a long while because other things trumped it. In my mind, taking time to exercise equated with taking time away from something else, and I was not willing to do that. After a while I started to feel like working out was a luxury, something that other people had time for but I didn’t. And don’t even get me started on how social media has managed to elevate fitness to a status symbol—something to be tracked, photographed, and shared instantly. The very thought of giving exercise a spot in my schedule began to feel boastful and selfish.
However, I decided that I am ready to . . . wait for it . . . make an effort to change things. I know I need a whole new mindset. I can no longer view keeping fit as something egocentric—or worse—as something I have to do. I need to embrace it as something I get to do.
Habits are going to have to change, and that will be a challenge. Because here’s the thing: I like to eat. I’m simply not motivated enough to make big changes to my diet. So if I want to de-squishify I have no choice but to exercise. Which I also don’t care for. But . . . what it really comes down to is this:
I like eating more than I dislike exercise.
So where do I go from here? I made a list of some simple toning/strength/core exercises I could do at home with no equipment. I started doing them each morning. It’s only been a few days, but so far so good. I know it’s going to take a lot longer to make it a habit, and even longer than that to see any changes whatsoever. And I haven’t figured out cardio options at all . . . ugh.
But I’ve taken the first step (and shared my plan with all of you, so maybe that will compel me to keep at it, ha).