It’s spring in Michigan, in the northern middle of the U.S. And it’s 27 degrees, snowing, the wind blowing hard enough to push our hanging bird feeder to a 45-degree angle from the trunk of the tree.
I don’t know about you, but that sure makes me think about getting in bikini shape.
But seriously — even when I was in bikini shape, when I was 7 or 8, I didn’t wear bikinis. Just not a bikini type, I guess. And now that horse has left the barn, as they say.
Still, bathing suit weather and sleeveless dresses weather and Capri pant weather is coming I am told, even if it amounts to four minutes one afternoon in late July. And it would be nice to have a little more cut, a little more tuck, before that moment arrives.
So today I renew and redouble my commitment to my workouts. Yes, I’m working on a running thing. That covers cardio. That’s good. But I must also buck up my strength training, with extra attention to my arms and back, and those really cool clingy-summer-clothing-muscles, the lats and obliques. Oh, and my sad, flat, saggy keester could use some work too. Squats and lunges R Us.
A smart friend wrote yesterday saying she’s in the “voyeuristic mode,” of getting ready to get ready to do something new for herself. I thought that was brilliant. For some of us, that mode helps. That’s why before-and-after stories intrigue us. That’s why we stare at pictures of Angelina Jolie and her amazing biceps and deltoids. We shop for body parts. The images can either inspire us or overwhelm us, perk us up or tear down our own self esteem. That is, they are either good medicine or bad medicine. I bet you know which they are for you.
But IF images of fit people do more to inspire you than to hurt your feelings, do what I’ll do today, and head to the nearest newsstand to grab copies of Health, and Runner’s World, and Yoga Journal and other fitness magazines that offer up pictures not so much of models or airbrushed actors and actresses, but of real athletes doing their thing.
And then take them home, and make a cup of green tea, and pore over them. End your little inspiration-mining moment by writing out a realistic plan for your workouts for the next few weeks. You know, what really can you do without hurting yourself, but challenging yourself in a smart way to work harder or get back to work on your fitness goals.
Now, you don’t need images of other people to recommit yourself to your health and fitness. You just need a clear picture in your head of your original goal. Whatever it is. It might be a blood pressure reading. It might be not eating those foods that make you feel awful.
Whatever it is, wherever you are, spend a little time today or this week to renew your weight loss and fitness vows. Your promise to have and to hold and to take care of your own self, in sickness and in health, to listen to what your body really needs, and give it exactly that. Live near Vegas? This would be a good set of vows to make in one of those swell chapels, wouldn’t it?
Make a little ceremony of it if you need to. Light candles.
And then say I do. I will.
Congratulations, I hope you will be very happy with yourself,