My New Year’s resolution for 2013 was to make changes in my life that would increase healthiness. Most people make a similar resolution at the start of the year and then promptly forget about it. I have been known to fall into this category.
This time, however, I had a plan. First I was going to spend the month of January testing my willpower by trying to exercise on a regular basis. I put away the Christmas tree and set up the treadmill. I dug out the Wii Fit, cleaned off my yoga mat and left reminders on my phone. I even rediscovered a decent pair of sneakers and vowed to actually wear them.
Result = Very very bad. I worked out once the whole month. Bored to tears, I was unable to do it again.
In February, I picked up the book “Drop Dead Healthy” by A.J. Jacobs. If you haven’t read it yet, you should because it’s excellent.
Basically, Jacobs spent two years trying all sorts of diet, fitness and alternative health treatments. He adopted new habits, cleaned out the toxins in his home, ran a triathlon, set up a standing desk and visited many doctors. In the end, Jacobs encountered a lot of conflicting research, yet still managed to find things he could do every day that would make him healthier.
I have spent much of March doing the same.
First, I picked up a Fitbit. This tiny gadget tracks your steps, the amount of stairs you climb, how far you walk, how many calories you burn and the quality of your sleep. Sync your stats wirelessly with your phone, and you can also track your progress over time, keep a food journal, watch your weight, earn badges for achievements and record your thoughts.
Unlike countless pedometers I’ve purchased over the years, which either broke or disappeared in the wash, the Fitbit was surprisingly effective. In the past week, I’ve started drinking more water. I’ve been eating off small plates and shrinking the size of my portions. And I’ve been taking opportunities to move when in the past I would have avoided them.
So far this month, I’ve managed to do at least three workouts each week. And yesterday, I earned two badges, one for walking at least 5,000 steps in a single day (technically you’re supposed to do twice that; I’m working up to it) and one for climbing 10 flights of stairs. Was I happy with my progress? Sure. Did I enjoy the effort? Hardly. In fact, this was my latest Fitbit journal entry:
Walked too far, due to a miscommunication with my husband. Grumbled the entire way, so although I got the steps, I wasn’t enjoying myself one bit. Headachy. Legs hurt. Being active blows.
I still think people who enjoy exercise are fucking insane. And I know I’ll never join their crazy cult. But I plan to keep trying new ways to be healthy. Just because I’ve written my obit doesn’t mean I’m ready to see it published.
As for April, my plan is to focus on lowering my stress level. Wish me luck.