It was time.
I had been fearing this moment for the better part of the last two weeks. I knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant, but there was no use putting it off any longer. The answer to my question was right in front of me and I knew I needed to face the truth. I stepped forward, and placed my left foot on the square platform, slowly followed by my right, then closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The glass like surface felt cold to my feet as I slowly opened my eyes and looked down, waiting for the digits on the display to slow down and settle on a solid number.
Next to checking the damage I had done to the balance of my bank account, this was the number I dreaded seeing the most after my vacation to the Caribbean. I guess it could have been much worse, after all it was only a six pound weight gain. Given the amount of food and alcohol I’d consumed while I was gone, it probably should have been a lot more. Had it not been for the all the exercise I did while I was there, I probably would have doubled the pounds I’d packed on. Sure most of the exercise was walking across the beach to the bar, but still, I walked there. I could have had a waiter bring me my drinks but that’s not my style. I’m willing to put in the extra effort, I may be on vacation, but I’m no slacker.
So I stepped off the scale and took a long hard painful look at my image in the mirror. First I sucked in my gut but then I let it all hang out again when the lack of oxygen made me start feeling dizzy. I briefly considered taking off my T-shirt and shorts to see if I could shave a little more weight off (yes, I was so desperate that I truly thought for a moment that a cotton shirt and a pair of gym shorts could weigh three or four pounds), but it wouldn’t matter. The reality was that all the work and effort I had put in to get in shape before I left for vacation had been undone in two short weeks.
Two short, glorious, fun-filled, Rum-soaked weeks. It was Awesome.
But as the reality of my situation hit me, I realized I would have to start eating properly and working out again, starting this morning. A tinge of depression washed over me for a second thinking how running would be a bit painful again (not to mention cold), my body would be really sore after my first few CrossFit classes and all the fond memories I have of eating Empanadillas and Queso Frito would make eating salads taste like chewing on a mouth full of lawn clippings. Yep, on the surface, this sounded about as much fun as getting a root canal, but it had to be done. For a second, I almost regretted going on vacation at all.
I squashed that thought right away. What’s the sense of being in shape if you never take any time to enjoy the fact that you are in shape. All kidding aside, beside my many trips to the bar, I also burned a ton of calories by doing a number of activities, like climbing the many stairs at Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico; hiking in the mountains in Dominica; and snorkeling off the coast of Barbados just to name a few. So I threw a few beers back during that time, so what? That’s what it’s all about! When it’s time to workout, workout and when it’s time to relax… well you get the picture. Do what you’re supposed to do when you are supposed to do it, and regret nothing.
Besides, there’s always going to be setbacks. Nothing in the universe really moves in a straight line. Rivers twist and turn, hills rise and valleys fall away and any progress you are trying to make in your life is going to do the same thing. Fitness at my age isn’t a destination, but rather a lifestyle that I’ve adopted to make aging a little less crappy. The trick is to establish the habits it takes to be more physically fit so when I do go on a two week binge, starting up again is easier each time I do it, so much to the point that taking a break from working out is almost a beneficial break for my body, and I can pick it up again pretty much where I left off when I get back.
So today, I’ve busted out my gym shoes, filled a tupperware bowl with some tasty grass clippings for lunch tomorrow and set my mind to get back at it. The bottom line is I don’t regret one thing from this vacation, and I’ll be back where I left off in no time at all. I’ll just bite the bullet and stay strict to the program… until the holidays at least, which kicks off with Thanksgiving in about twenty days. But holidays are an entirely different thing altogether.
I’ll address that problem in a post some time next month.
I love this! So often we beat ourselves up for falling off track and reverting back to old habits. Healthy at any age really should be a lifestyle, one where a healthy diet and movement is your baseline but a sustainable healthy life is exactly what we should all be aiming for. That healthy baseline with room for ups and downs.
I loved this read, thank you for being so honest and sharing your experience!
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Thank you so much! You are so right, goals are great but all too often we focus too much on reaching them instead of how we are living. It’s too bad it took me 50 years to figure that out, but I’m glad I did!