Monday, December 21, 2015

When Attitude is Everything

Dear Mom,

I don't know whether it was delusions of grandeur (I am the exception to the rule) or the two year old inside me (nobody is the boss of me!), but until quite recently Exercise and I have not had a good working relationship.

I had a little epiphany following a conversation with a dear friend. She said the simplest of phrases- "If I don't exercise by a certain time of day, it is not happening" - which sparked a bonfire of insight in my clogged brain. Isn't it interesting how little nuggets of conversations, a word or a phrase, can do so much to either inspire or condemn? I hope in my lifetime I've done more to inspire, but I fear, through thoughtlessness, that I have not.
Anyway.....that little phrase made me realize that one of the things stopping me from exercising is getting dressed to do it, and another is that I don't want to shower more than once a day if I can help it. 

Let me digress here to say that a few years ago we decided it was smarter to use the money we were paying for a gym membership to buy an elliptical machine. We admitted that we were not using the gym like we should because
1. we (I) did not like bundling up to go out in the cold, sweat in the gym and bundle up again to go out in the cold.
2. the drive to and from the gym added to our total workout time, and time is precious.
3. the last thing My Hero wanted to do after getting home from work was leaving again to go to the gym.
We bought the elliptical machine. 
At first, as these things do, we used it faithfully. 
Then we began using it sporadically. 
Then I pretty much stopped using it.

Until the bonfire. Once I started thinking about what was stopping me from spending time with the elliptical machine there was an avalanche of thoughts of what I can do so that I WILL spend time with the machine. The machine is in my home. In our bedroom. I can exercise in my pajamas, before my morning shower. No changing into an "outfit" to exercise. One efficient and thorough hot shower. 
Two Obstacles overcome!

My next hurdle was of attitude, mostly. Until this epiphany, I spent my time elliptical-ing trying all sorts of things to distract myself from the fact that I was exercising. I tried audio books, music, The Andy Griffith Show and Headline news. Distraction did not work. If anything it made me more focused on the clock. Here is where the attitude shift came in. I spend 30 minutes on the thing. THIRTY. I can waste thirty minutes on the internet in a hurry, so surely I can spend thirty minutes exercising. Once I decided that 30 minutes was really a little bit of time I decided that I would NOT distract myself. I would let myself be bored and daydream. Daydreaming, in fact, is healthy for the brain. A creative, subconscious reboot. Now those 30 minutes are good for me mentally and physically. Now those 30 minutes fly by. I almost (not quite, but almost) look forward to exercising.
Those 30 minutes are like my Artist's Way  morning pages. I've decided to think that my beat red face  is evidence of all that freshly circulating blood pumping creative ideas into my brain. My body is getting rid of toxins as I perspire. My joints are getting freshly lubricated. My inner 2 year old admits, reluctantly, that I feel better.

MOVE it or LOSE it.


Okay. So this has not happened. Frankly, I don't think I could handle it if it did.
 In fact the bathroom scale says that NOTHING is happening.
My Hero says he thinks I have lost inches. (This is why he is my Hero.) But I can't say that my clothes are fitting any differently. 
What I do know is that it takes a little more effort to get my heart rate into the target zone, and the cool down recovery is quicker. Evidence of improved cardiovascular health. 

I've managed this new regime since November 1st. I've exercised more days than I have not- most weeks I manage 5 of 7 days. Never less than 4 days and never more than 6. I log my workouts in my Binder of Organization- (stay tuned)- so I can look back and give myself a pat on the back for sticking with it. 

Now someone needs to say something, in a conversation, that will change my relationship with sugar.