I’m not a runner. Not only am I not a runner, I think it would be pretty generous to say that I’m even a jogger. Heck, I’m barely a walker — except to walk from my cozy front door to my car, then to my office and back again. That usually results in, oh, twenty minutes or so outdoors.
And I’m usually sitting cross-legged at my desk for eight hours or so, shifting my weight around when my ankles start to bother me. I don’t move around much. My hands are always flying, of course, clicking rapidly on my mouse or typing up a hundred e-mails or answering the phone. But my legs? Not so much.
I’ve never been very active, and I’ve always been just slightly on the plumper side. I wouldn’t say I’m heavy, but I’m definitely no stick. Despite being a sportswriter’s daughter, I have no athletic ability whatsoever — and rarely do anything at all “athletic.” The best shape I’ve ever been in in my life came as a result of a horrible parking lot assignment my sophomore year of college at the University of Maryland. UMD is a pretty enormous campus and, as a transferring commuter student, I was assigned to the dreaded Lot 6. Anyone who has ever had to park in that garage, right next to Comcast Center, can relate exquisitely well to my pain. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say I would have to walk a solid half hour, and more than a mile or so, from my car to my first class every morning. One way.
Did it suck? Yes. Absolutely. I still laugh with my family about my first week on campus. I had a 45-minute drive to and from school and, after that very first day of driving to College Park, cruising home and walking my little butt all over campus with a heavy messenger bag, I came home and literally collapsed on the sofa. My legs went flying, I covered my face with my hands and bemoaned the fact that there was no way I could make those climbs every single day.
Of course, I look back on all of that fondly now! It was rough, but I made it through — and I lost ten pounds my first semester. I lost even more, and kept it off, my remaining years of school. Even after I got a better parking assignment for my junior and senior years (Lot 1 — sweet!) I managed to keep my weight in check.
But now I’m all graduated and firmly ensconced in the world of desks, short lunch breaks, rolling chairs and PCs. I don’t take long, luxurious and sweaty walks around College Park anymore. I’m not even working at the bookstore, where I would spend hours wandering up and down the aisles helping customers find Kafka, Austen and Hemingway. I’m parked in one spot, drinking diet soda, eating popcorn and chewing bubblegum all afternoon.
And I have to be careful. The weight has come creeping back, as weight has a tendency to do. After I busted a hole in two pairs of my favorite black dress pants this past summer, I knew something had to be done! I couldn’t just sit around and talk about how unhappy I was. I could have gone out and bought bigger sizes, yes, but I decided I had to take action now — before I let myself get really unhappy.
So I’m . . . walking. On the treadmill. I tried to get up early in the mornings for a while, eating a bowl of oatmeal and jogging before I had to get into work. The problem with that plan was that it combined two of my least-favorite things: eating breakfast and waking up early. No — I hated every second of it. Morning runs were not for me.
Now I’m on the “after dinner” kick. I have dinner with the family, change into some comfy clothes, grab my current read, flip on the TV, pop in my iPod earbuds and get to jogging! And last night I hit a personal goal — I walked for a half hour and walked 1.63 miles! My previous treadmill record was about a mile and a half, and I hit that earlier in the week. I guess it’s just been a great week of records for me! I know it’s not any great shakes for serious exercisers, but I’m happy to have even made it this far. A year ago, I probably would have scoffed at the idea of walking any farther than to the fridge. But the times, they are a changin’!
And I feel good about it — especially as my boyfriend continues to drop weight as he prepares to join the Air Force. He’s lost about forty pounds since the fall . . . just as I’ve continued to gain! But not anymore. I’m not going to make any crazy “resolutions” or bind myself to some contract in blood, degrading myself when I can’t live up to my own unrealistic expectations. I’m just going to continue on the track I’ve been on, slowly and steadily building up my endurance and, hopefully, getting much healthier in the process.
As much as it pains me, too, I’m going to start guzzling more water. The idea of parting with my Coke Zero makes me feel like a beaver is gnawing a hole in my stomach, but it’s for the best, I’m sure. I don’t drink straight coffee like many of my friends, so I am still going to permit myself to have my morning can of Diet Pepsi Max. Losing that would just be cruel. Plus, I’m pretty sure Pepsi Co. would have to file Chapter 11 without my family and I stocking up on all that delicious, no-calorie carbonation!