“Thank goodness that’s finished,” said Old Man Kangaroo when he finished a dead run that lasted for days in my favorite of Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories.”
I used to listen to a record of this story, read by Sterling Holloway, when I was a kid. Listened to it so often, it has its own deep synaptic groove in my brain. In the story, the original Kangaroo, with four short legs and a lot of pride, wishes to be more than he is. He wants to be extraordinary and famous. He begs this of the gods, and one little god with a sense of humor responds. Old Man Kangaroo is run ragged. He’s chased after by a dingo for hours and days, forcing his legs and tail to grow all out of proportion. And when it’s over, he’s famous alright, although not for the reasons perhaps he’d hoped to be.
Anyway his world and his body are all upset, akimbo, discombobulated. He would like a little bit of his normal old life back.
Yes, I know it seems a bit, just a tad, ah, miserly? Old-poopish? Scroogilicious and sacrilegious, to feel that way about the holidays. But I can’t help it. I can’t help feeling, “Thank goodness that’s finished.”
Now to get back on track. I’ve shoved the sugar out of the house. Carried it off to my vet’s office, where we spent a little too much time over the holidays (everybody’s fine now). I’ve prepared a week’s worth of healthy snacks and foods, stocked up on supplies. I’m taking my vitamins, drinking my water.
It’s time, however, to pay back my exercise account, which is terrifically overdrawn. I’m out of shape, saggy, baggy, poofy, and stiff. Despite my best intentions, I managed no more than one or two workouts a week during the past several weeks. This is not maintenance-level exercise for me. This is ground-losing work. This is debt. My exercise debt looks worse than my credit card debt right now, and that’s saying something.
So, it’s time to form a plan. Pull out my calendar, gym class schedules, my gym bag, and get organized. Gear up, suck it up, and pay it back.
I know that the most successful exercising, for me, happens in the early morning hours. As hard as it is to leave my bed, my family, my dogs, my husband’s amazing coffee in the morning, it’s harder for me still to get in a workout either at home, or during my workday. It’s too easy to give any and all other times away. With a good morning exercise plan, I’ll have my debt reduced, or at least restructured, in a couple months’ time.
Ooph, it won’t be easy, getting up and going. But if it were easy, everybody would be doing it. Wait. Everybody is doing it. And that, at least, should make returning to the gym interesting.
Do you have an exercise or food debt to repay after your holidays? What really works for you? What do you suspect will work? Remember, just starting is the key. Just showing up. Just making the eating plan, buying the right groceries, removing the wrong ones, heading out on a walk, taking on the dog walking duties, putting in the exercise video each morning, stepping onto the treadmill, jumping in the pool a few times a week is plenty of goal for most people. There’s no need to set high or difficult-to-achieve goals, resolutions that require perfection. One good effort begets the next and the next, and soon you’re back on track, or on track for the first time, getting stronger, feeling better, looking forward to the next good turn. The question really is, what will you do today? Tomorrow?
If your holidays are not over yet, or are just beginning, give yourself the gift of a scheduled hour or so with your calendar once your celebration and vacation are over to make your own plan for getting on track.
It’s not that hard to recover from the dead run of the holidays. You can let go of any guilt about it. You’ve probably beaten yourself up enough already. We are supposed to enjoy ourselves during this time, after all. We are supposed to rest. We are supposed to celebrate. Recharge our batteries. That’s kind of the point of it all. A little stillness is not a bad thing. But once that time is over, put some of that renewed energy into maintaining your one and only body. Pick a day to start. Make a plan. Write it down. And start.
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