Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I can do this, I can do this ... I think I can do this

Well, it's day 2 of full-body muscle aches. I could barely sleep last night. Every time I extended my arms, I woke up in pain. But I was determined this morning to get back to the gym. Two or three people told me yesterday, as I was hobbling around in agony, that it actually helps to workout. Loosens up those muscles.

I got some funny looks walking into the Y, but I managed to get into the Life Center and onto the bike. I was really surprised. My muscles loosened up. The pain subsided. I felt amazing! So amazing that after 20 minutes of that I decided to give the elliptical a try. I went 25 minutes no problem (until I got kicked off by a nice man who informed me he had reserved the machine. After two weeks at the Y, I had no idea you had to reserve time on some of the machines on a white board on the wall. Woops!) So I switched to another elliptical and went for another 10 minutes.

All was fine until I climbed off the machine and made my way toward the locker room. Funny thing happens to overworked muscles that loosen up nicely during cardio. They tense up with a vengeance when you stop working them. My whole body tensed! I could barely walk again! I had to take the elevator to the lobby.

And by doing so, I had to pass the office of a friend of mine, Joe Tougas. (It's so awful running into people you know at the Y when you look absolutely awful.) There I was, going about 1 mile per hour, legs barely able to propel me forward, and he's standing in the doorway watching, big smile on his face. "Moving kind of slow there," he said.

Joe was kind enough to walk at a snail's pace with me to the lobby. We chatted about this blog, and I fretted a bit about the fact that my editor, Joe Spear, wants to run a column about this in the Sunday health and fitness section. Sort of writer's remorse, I guess. Worrying that a lot more people might pay attention to this little journey of mine. That's when he said, "Well, we'll link to it to on our site." ... Yay.

Mostly I'm kidding. The support is AWESOME. Everywhere I turn there are people asking me questions and giving me props: How’d it go today? It’ll get better. You’re doing great. Pain means you’re working hard!

It truly helps. Reinforces confidence. In the past, I’ve kept diet and exercise a secret. It’s embarrassing, and plus, I knew my long history of false starts, so declaring it to friends and family would mean having to admit when I’d failed again. The funny thing is, the public declaration is a big part of what’s keeping me motivated this time.

Still, I can’t help but be cautiously optimistic. I’ve had many moments when I was SURE this time was different. That big moment of inspiration that says “Today’s the day.” My 25th birthday. My 26th birthday, and 27th and so on. The first episode of every new season of "The Biggest Loser" for the past few years. Every January 1st since I was 16. When my mom lost all her extra weight. Exactly six months before an upcoming vacation. Then five months before, then four, then three ...

Truth is, if I’m doing this correctly, there really won’t be a day when I can declare victory. A lifestyle change means I will still be with the program years and years from now. So I guess ... one day at a time.

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