Being a writer and a Creative Director is a somewhat sedentary lifestyle, fraught with overlap. M'bellly overlappin' m'belt, mostly. So, like the rest of the Western World, as of 1 January I started doing things that I hoped would help me trim up. Not unusual, and not my first time. But this go, I decided to skip the "resolutions," and instead make a commitment to changing my actual lifestyle. Instead of dieting, I set up a system that lets me eat what I want and still knock off the pounds. No willpower required. Here's what I've put together —
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For the past two weeks I've been exercising every morning. It isn't much. No "Insanity" or "P90X" or "DDP Yoga" or anything cool and trendy. Just me, a pair of sneakers, a stretch of road and a public park.
In the park is a playground that has thinly disguised workout equipment. Seriously, who are these people trying to fool? Paint a pull-up bar a cheerful blue and it's suddenly "fun." Put a flag on top of a climbing wall and it's a castle. These are all ways to trick children into being fit and healthy, and I, for one, am appalled. Because they really, really fooled me at first.
Actually, I knew what I was getting into. I knew, at some point, I was going to hurt and curse that playground for what it was—torture and punishment for every lazy day filled with chicken wings and ice cream that I ever had. That playground is "the price." But it's a price worth paying if I want to look and feel and live better. He said, rather convincingly.
I start my workout by getting up at 5 a.m. and walking to the park, which is three blocks away. I walk at 3 miles per hour, on average, and it takes me maybe 10 minutes to get there. Then I spend the next ten or fifteen minutes doing planks, mountain climbers, balancing, and a maybe climbing up and down on the equipment. I try to mix it up a little every day, but those are the basics. And then it's more walking, for about 20 to 30 minutes, through the park and back around to the house so I can shower and get ready for the rest of the day.
I used to get up and write during this time, so I feel just a little deprived. I have to resort to "writing in my head," getting the ideas together, talking them out in an interesting internal dialogue, and then firing them into my laptop and break-neck speed before starting the rest of my day.
This sounds like I'm adding-to, with exercise plus workload, but honestly this is how I did it all along anyway. Wake up at 5 a.m. Procrastinate and fill myself with angst and anxiety over what I needed to write, then panic after seeing the clock just before jamming everything onto the screen at a pace that makes my keyboard smoke. Nothing has changed except the way my pants are fitting.
It's only been two weeks in this new routine, but I'm starting to see and feel results. I've dropped six pounds, because that's a thing guys can do. I feel less lethargic and more spry. I'm even starting to see signs of definition in the ab area. It's well camouflaged, and only a keen observer with a trained eye could spot it, but trust me, it's there.
I'm determined to have a six pack again. True, this will harken back to the days when I thought it was cool to wear tiny corduroy shorts in florescent colors, with half shirts that revealed my mid-drift. You know ... "sexy if you're a chick" stuff, but cringe-worthy if you're a guy who isn't living in the '80s. Whatever humiliations my past might hold, however, I would very much like to see my abs again. It's on my bucket list.
I'd also really like to walk and talk at the same time without become so winded that people become concerned for my health. And I'd like to be able to wear cloths that use numbers for sizes, instead of X's and L's. Although I would settle for an M, or maybe even a coveted S!
Becoming fit takes commitment. That's what I learned the last time I was fit. Staying fit takes even more commitment, because there's a tendency for me to say "OK! I'm done!" In actuality, a fit lifestyle is a continuous thing, not something I can finish or achieve. And traditionally, I do much better with things that have endings. I know a book is done when I write "the end." I know a contract is fulfilled when I get a check. I know a meal is over when I'm sitting on the couch feeling a persistant disgust and nausea and what I just ate. Although that last bit needs some tweaking.
I'm committed to this, though. Not in that desperate "I really want to be committed to this" kind of way, that's more about convincing you to believe me than convincing me to do what's right. It's more of a "Yeah, I'm finally sick and tired enough of this that I want to change it." Which is encouraging to me, because that's the way most of the good stuff starts. When I'm finally fed up enough to push through the stuff I don't like just so I can have what I do like, that's a when all the fun parts happen.