Someone once told me that it takes 21 days to establish a habit. This person was a runner, and he said that for the first 21 days he made himself run every single day no matter what. He would tell himself that, even if he didn't feel like it, he would at least run for five minutes. After that he could stop. Often, he would find that once he started running, he also started feeling better and would end up completing the entire run.
Four years ago, I was about 25 pounds overweight. For someone who used to be able to put anything in my body knowing my metabolism would quickly burn it off, it was a shock to wake up one day and realize I was no longer thin. In a panic I took diet pills, began eating next to nothing and sporadically worked out. All in all, this was a horrible solution which was ultimately doomed to failure.
I managed to keep most of the weight off until this past year primarily because of the sporadic periods of exercise. However, I became more and more sedentary and, as of the beginning of this week, I am exactly 1.6 pounds shy of once again being 25 pounds overweight. In other words, I am right back where I started four years ago! So, I have to make some serious lifestyle changes; I have to do things right this time!
This time I am watching what I eat. I am writing everything down and sharing the information with a group of friends so that I can be held accountable for my choices. I am not restricting myself from anything I really want to eat and that freedom has actually kept me from eating the junk food my brain would be telling me I HAVE to have.
Most importantly, I am committed to exercising every day for the next 21 days. It doesn't have to be the same thing, but it has to be something, anything, that will get my heart rate going for at least 20 minutes - preferably 30 to 40 minutes. I need a serious jumpstart and this is the only way I know how to do it!
Yesterday, I hauled my butt to the Y and did 30 minutes of intervals on the treadmill. On the flat part of the course, I ran (or more accurately, I did a stately jog). During the inclines, I walked at a fast pace. I sweated and I moaned and groaned and I thought about stopping (tried and tried to rationalize why I could) at least a dozen times. But 35 minutes later, after I completed the entire thing, I felt SO GOOD about myself!
Today, I absolutely did NOT want to run on the treadmill again. It was raining and kind of gross outside so really I didn't want to go outside. So, just to see what I could find, I hit my cable's on demand button. Sure enough, my cable company features an exercise channel that has various fitness routines. I chose the Billy Blanks, Jr. Cardioke one. I am soooooo glad I did! Yes, cardioke is just what it sounds like - it is doing cardio-dance routines and singing along. Thank God I was in my house because I looked like a crazy fool - but I had an incredible fun time despite the fact that I was sweating like a pig and was more huffing and puffing than singing the words to the songs! Billy had me doing some Motown Doo-Wop moves, the pony, the electric slide and best of all....the Bird! That's right, this 40 something year old was doing her darnedest to channel Morris Day and laughing like a loon while doing it! Say it with me now, "Wa-aw-awk! Hallelujah! Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh!"
2 days down - 19 to go.