Making ourselves exercise. My subject today. Again. Again this subject. Yes. I need to think about this and write about it and tell you about it and give my own self a good talking to. Regarding exercise. Getting lots of exercise.
(Grumble. Grumble. Snarl. Sigh. Whine.)
I’ve been on a dead run at work for the past several weeks, at the tail end of what is our annual busy season, playing catch-up and working hard on a big project. That project winds up this week.
Putting in the extra hours at work, I haven’t attended my Pilates classes, haven’t been swimming, and have barely run. Oh, I’ve toyed with a few minutes of exercises before I go to bed and the occasional bout with weights. But that’s all I’ve managed in weeks.
I’ve also been working at eating as much as I can without gaining weight, pushing at and toying with the upper range of my calories to try to increase my metabolism.
So, I feel like a slug. My body feels tired and soft. Where I felt lean, hard, feline a few weeks ago after training for and completing my first 10K (okay, it was a big deal for ME), I feel soft, squishy, puffy, pillowy, tired. Somebody’s run the Gaussian blur PhotoShop filter over my whole self.
Slimey. Cold. Fishy. Sludgy. Smudged. Dimpled. Sticky. Smelly.
Exercise is all I need. But I’ve been letting it slide. And once I start sliding, the slope gets slippery. Saying no gets easier and easier.
When I’m in the exercise groove, my body craves exercise. It really does. I could not believe the first time I recognized that need. It was so very foreign to me. But it was just as real as could be.
When I’m out of the groove, my body craves inertia. Napping. Soaking in warm tubs, watching movies, reading novels, curling up under a warm blanket with a cat on my lap.
Not exercising often feels like the responsible thing to do, making me more available to my husband and pets in the mornings, my colleagues and clients in the afternoons and evenings. During busy times, that insane non-logic combines with my belligerent insistence on comfort when I return home from a hard day, in the form of couch, an afghan and a novel, forming a great environment for atrophy.
And I have atrophied. I hate that. I hate the whole idea that I have to KEEP DOING THIS. It just annoys me to pieces. Didn’t I check the diet and fitness thing off my list already? Didn’t I accomplish what I set out to do? Can’t I be finished now? I got the gold star. I made it. I threw away all my old clothes and purchased new ones. I cut out my simple carbs. I rid my house of added sugars. I drink my water.
I got there.
And now this. This rude reality that I have to keep on with the exercise or lose the hard edges, lose what I’ve earned. How incredibly unfair, that I have to make a permanent place for exercise in my hygiene routine.
No, I can’t hang around in the mornings. I must get out the door and get my heart beating, my lungs working. No, I can’t skip my classes. I have to make them a priority, as I would any other meetings in my day. I can’t let my body congeal, crust over, get moldy. It’s just not an option. Exercise. It’s like brushing your teeth. You must do it or lose the teeth. It’s pretty simple.
And it stinks.
Tomorrow I’ll run. Monday, I’ll head back to the gym. The gym, the gym. I’ve been away from my gym-home for many weeks while I’ve been traveling, running, working. And therein lies a lot of the trouble. I need to get back into my morning routine, seeing friends and expectant faces, finding out what’s grown in my locker. And after this week, after the big launch of our big project, I’ll return to Pilates classes. It’ll take a few weeks, but I’ll get my edge back. I’m sure of it.
And you? Have the dog days of summer dampened your drive, broken your good habits? Maybe it’s time to set a new routine. Summer or no summer, routine is what makes body maintenance work, methinks. Do you have a routine for exercise? Is it working, or do you need to tweak it a bit? Would trying something new, something different, signing up for a class, getting new equipment, choosing a competition help inject some pepper into your routine?
Give it some thought. Make some choices. Challenge yourself. Put an edge back on it, best beloveds,
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