My friend Jenny has an awesome apartment, and when we come to New York City, we stay with her. It’s cute, compact, comfortable, and smack in the middle of Greenwich Village. I love it. But here’s the rub — Jenny’s apartment is a steep 6th floor walkup. No elevator, not even a rinkydink service lift. And it sucks. Especially if you overpacked and have to drag a heavy suitcase with you.
Visiting Jenny is super fun, but simultaneously a reminder of how amazingly unfit I am. Walking up those 6 floors, suitcase in tow, is a reality check. I get winded and then some. OMG the first time I visited Jenny, I thought I was going to have a cardiac arrest right between the third and fourth floors.
I’ll be staying with Jenny this week, on my road trip to NYC. So by the time you read this, I will have already faced the first (and most daunting) climb. But this time around, I’m not afraid.
Facing Jenny’s stairs feels like a kind of challenge to myself — a barometer to gauge how far along I’ve come. And maybe you’ve got a physical challenge of your own in your everyday life — climbing the stairs to your office, carrying heavy bags of groceries, going swimming with your kids, or keeping up with them at the park — something that reminds you that you’ve got limitations to consider. Something that reminds you that you’ve got a physical challenge to overcome.
I’m here to tell you, if I can do it – so can you. But it’s gonna take consistent effort, determination, discipline, and sweat.
Last week, my 50 Million Pound Challenge post was all about finding ways to make exercise fun, and that’s definitely half the battle. Once you find an activity you enjoy enough to do (for at least an hour a day, don’t forget!), then a new mission begins, and it’s a mission I’ve failed in time and time again.
Sticking with it. Making a commitment to myself. Being consistent in my efforts. It is WAY too easy to find a distraction from my daily mission, and almost-forget what I’m doing.
The important thing is to regularly remind yourself — why are you trying to make healthy eating and regular exercise a part of your life?
I am of the opinion, that if your sole motivations are to fit into a special outfit, or lose weight for a specific date (y’know, your high school reunion, a family function, a wedding), that’s not necessarily a plan that you’ll stick to. At the very least, setting plans of that nature haven’t worked for me. Short term weight loss plans have actually burned me in the past. Freaking out about a date looming in the distance never worked — I was almost certainly near my heaviest weight at my wedding. And I’d been agonizing over fitting into my dress and all of the relatives I hadn’t yet met taking photos of me for months before. Mooning over dresses that fit years ago makes me feel too much like Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream. It’s a recipe for crashing and burning. What IS helping me, is setting smaller, more accessible goals. Taking a more practical approach to my health.
Why am I trying to make healthy eating and exercise a part of my life? Because I was putting the brightness of my future at risk with an imbalanced lifestyle. Because I know now that it’s just as important to nourish and exercise my mind as it is for the rest of me. Because I don’t need to be daunted by a flight of stairs, no matter how steep or how high. I can do it! And so can you!
What are your particular physical challenges? And how do you plan to overcome them?