Added to the other rituals of fall is my annual pledge to ‘get back in shape’ after a summer of ice creams, cold pasta salads and extended happy hours. To my credit, I usually manage to attain at least a reasonable facsimile of good health by Halloween, but this year my ambition has been accelerated by an upcoming trip to Italy. At the end of this month, my husband and I will enjoy nine glorious days together in the most romantic country on planet earth and I don’t want to spend a moment of that time wearing Spanx, the world’s least romantic underwear.
I have posted a daily checklist on my refrigerator and to get a mark in every box, I must eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, drink eight glasses of water, consume five servings and fruits/veggies, not drink wine, not snack after 9:00pm and exercise in some manner for at least 30 minutes. I lose a point every day over the wine so my type-A personality drives me to hit those other goals rather than risk appearing ‘average’.
While the diet part is going well, except for the wine thing (don’t judge me!), trying to exercise every day has turned my inner voice into a whiney, petulant child. This week, my excuses have included:
- “I already put on make-up”
- “My sports bras are dirty”
- “I need to lose 5 pounds before I go to yoga class” (formally known as the Too Fat for Downward Dog argument)
- “The sidewalk is too crowded for running at this time of day”
- “I’m too full”
I’m pretty sure that last excuse should only apply if the exercise involves long-distance swimming and believe me, if I’m not ready to see myself in yoga pants, I am definitely not donning a bathing suit!
I can actually hear the ‘lameness’ in my own inner voice and I am annoyed at myself. My neighbourhood is populated by women who train for marathons in their ‘spare time’ and live their lives in top-to-toe lululemon, ready to launch into a vigorous Zumba routine at a moment’s notice. These superfit Superwomen buzz with excitement over any opportunity to swat, kick or bounce a ball, run up and down a hill, or otherwise exert themselves.
They own dogs that are genetically destined to share their manic enthusiasm for chasing around in circles… golden doodles, labradoodles, cockadoodles… a virtual cornucopia of high octane doodles in various heights and colours. This leads me to my newest excuse for not exercising – “my dog is injured”. Buster the Schnauzer has acquired a soft tissue injury to his front shoulder, limiting his exercise to slow meanderings around the block once or twice a day. I would like to say this is a sports injury, perhaps incurred as he and I were training for a master-dog triathlon but truthfully, I think he pulled something while hurling himself at the front door. Whatever the cause, Buster is in no shape for hour-long explorations of the off-leash park, so I am on my own…
On my own, with just my uber-unhelpful inner voice to keep me company. This morning, my invisible companion whispered “you need to write a blog post”. I yielded to temptation and here I am, sitting in a chair sipping coffee. On the plus side, I am wearing a sport bra, shorts and sneakers, and I have opened the windows to ensure that I am chilly and uncomfortable. I am engaged in a sort of mental warfare with myself and today my strategy is to combat the “you need to work” excuse with the “you are freezing to death” counter-attack, promising myself a hot shower, sweatpants and fuzzy socks… but only after I exercise!