Saturday, October 15, 2011
Naked and the Mirror
I always hated exercising. Traditional weight training is a wonderful thing for a lot of people--for a lot of people, the rush of powering through a set of reps will bring them back again and again with the added benefit of large chiseled muscles. Without the help of a trainer, I pushed myself too far, and the whole experience became nothing but painful frustration with zero results.
Luckily for me, I had a very active dad. He’s still more fit than me--he runs, bikes, skis, and does kettle-bells. My dad also eats fish, avocados, and almonds regularly. I remember one day when my sister made some off-handed comment about how Dad likes fish more than anyone else in the family--he responded by saying, “No, I don’t really like fish--I don’t mind it, but I know it’s good for me.” My dad’s side of the family has heart problems--even after the doctor told him that he was the healthiest 51-year-old he’d ever seen, my dad had to get a heart stent put in to avoid a heart attack. My dad has a little perspective and motivation to stay healthy.
The truth is, we all have limited time in the bodies we have--and you only get one. The better shape we keep them in, the longer they function, the better you feel. I don’t have to tell you that. The more I sit around eating candy, fat, and meat, the more miserably I interact with the world around me, and the more I exercise and eat proper portions of nutritious food, the more alive I feel. The problem is deciding to take steps one direction or the other. It’s hard to make those decisions on a day-to-day basis.
How do I get perspective and motivation? As a numbers guy, it helps me to see my running speeds increasing on a chart or my weight approach my optimum (and realistic) weight, but more motivating than that is something concrete--something we can see. What I’m about to say may shock you--cover your ears if you must: Stand naked in front of a full length mirror.
Stand naked in front of a full length mirror--with the light on, and your eyes open. Take an honest look at yourself, and when the self-criticizing voice dies down enough to have a rational thought, ask yourself a few questions: What part of this body do I like or enjoy? Am I destroying myself one potato chip at a time? I am responsible for this. I am the only one who will change it.
Like I said, I don’t like exercise. I need something with more team accountability--and cheaper than a trainer, so I joined a soccer league at work. Take small steps. Find things that you can add into your daily routine, but do something. It’s the only body you get, let’s at least make it one we like.