As friends in both real life and Facebook know, I have been on a fitness and weight loss journey over the past few years. I am closing in on 70 pounds lost, and I have run over 70 road races since I started focusing on getting fit.
So a bunch of people have asked me what my secret is. There are a variety of things that have gotten me to this point, but the biggest one is what my running coach calls my "consistent persistence." I have basically channeled what at times can be a real character flaw of mine -- my relentlessness -- into a positive.
Put it this way: "Let It Go" is never going to be my theme song. I'm pretty intense in going after what I really want -- something that can be overwhelming at times. Combine that with being a very passionate, intense person, and it's like a superpower of sorts that can be used for good or for evil. I know that this relentlessness can be really annoying to others at times. I know I can be a real pain in the you-know-what. But it can also help me get things done.
This consistent persistence manifests itself in sticking to my fitness schedule for the first time ever. And it has made me sacrifice short-term fun for my long-term goals.
I'll give you an example of what I mean. Tonight, I went after work to go pick up a race bib -- I'm running a 10-mile race on Sunday in Brooklyn. I had also gone for a cocktail beforehand, and I was relaxed and ready to go home and curl up and watch TV, instead of heading to the gym. I was on the B train, ready to switch to the R train in Brooklyn and then take a bus back to Staten Island, when I thought to myself: "You need to take this train to the gym if you want to reach your fitness and weight loss goals."
Now, missing one day of fitness wouldn't have killed me. But I had already taken a day off on Wednesday. I try to exercise every day, so when life happens, I am okay with missing a day or two a week. But I felt like skipping another day would delay me reaching my goals. Since fitness is a new habit for me, It would be very easy to fall into bad habits again. I felt like I had the proverbial angel and devil on each shoulder advising me, and tonight the angel won out!
So I decided to stay on track, and went to a spinning class, and then did strength training for an hour. When I was just about to finish up, I felt great -- like I was getting one step closer to getting thinner and more fit. Then one of the trainers at my gym started talking to me.
Thanks to a childhood of being a klutz and a terrible athlete, I could feel myself flinching inside when he started talking. "Is he going to tell me I'm doing everything wrong?" I thought. Fortunately, that wasn't the case. He praised me for working so hard, and offered to help me the next time I was at the gym if I wanted to learn different machines. Whew.
I didn't get home until after 10 p.m. tonight, but I felt like I made real progress on my journey. One of the things I've had to learn is that there is no quick fix when it comes to losing weight and getting in shape. It takes gym visit after gym visit, and good meal choice after good meal choice. And each sacrifice I make gets me one step closer to my goals. It's hard to stay focused on dieting and exercise when there is so much still to be done to get to the end of this journey. But I feel like doing the right things will pay off, even when I just wanted to relax tonight. It had better!