For the majority of my adult life I held jobs that kept me fairly active. I was on my feet, moving around, talking with people, selling things, giving interpretive talks…I always maintained being in okay shape with a bit of exercise and some days of healthy eating. That’s just sort of how I always operated and it worked well enough for me.
Mostly eat what I want, exercise sometimes when I feel like it, stay on my feet at work…
Done. Easy. I wouldn’t have a body like Taylor Swift, but eh, who cared? Not me.
Then I had this great idea to become an author and I plopped myself down at the computer and there I sat, for five months, moving only to dunk another chip or taquito into the cheese dip my husband kept making. Or to drive down the street to Peg Leg Pete’s and order a bucket of crab legs to dip in butter (we lived in Florida at the time). It was hot outside. I was busy. I gained a few pounds, but so what? I was authoring! I was doing it!
By the end of my first book I was up fifteen pounds with a wedding a month away and a dress I couldn’t fit in. Not to mention really unhappy with where I’d ended up physically and healthfully. Suddenly, my lifestyle no longer catered to a flim-flam exercise and healthy food routine. If I was going to be serious about this author stuff, and still maintain my health, I’d actually have to try.
Fast-forward a few years to now, as I’m finishing up my second book. I’ve lost those fifteen pounds, and then some. I weigh less than I did in high school. By God, when I started writing that second book, I was not about to pack on more weight. Not this time. No way. But it was too hot outside to exercise. And again, I was “too busy.” So instead, I really regulated my diet. I ate very low-carb, mostly meats and vegetables and a whole lot of strawberries. I’m addicted to sugar. I couldn’t cut everything out!
And as I came to the wrap-up for book two, I thought to myself, “I did it. I bested that cursed writers’ butt.”
So did I figure it out? This healthy thing?
Sort of. But not really.
The weather cooled down. I no longer had the excuse that it was too hot. My husband and I got back on our bikes and I rode three miles into the desert before my vision started blurring and my stomach began juicing. I turned around, barely made it home after completing a lousy six-mile ride, and let the sinking feeling creep through my exhausted body. I may not have gained the weight this time, but I let myself get weak. And I hate that almost as much as the extra pounds.
So yesterday I went for a run, determined to get my strength back and find a balance between looking healthy and actually being healthy. During the first half mile I thought I was doing great. I felt awesome. I felt happy. But as I came upon the mile and a half mark I felt my stomach turning again and my legs catching fire. Seriously? I can’t even run two miles anymore???
I think this is something that a lot of people struggle with, and clearly something I haven’t totally figured out either. How to you balance a stressful “sit at a desk” job with good health? And I’m not talking about weight or dress size. I’m small right now, but would lose an arm wrestling contest to a noodle. That’s not healthy, and that’s not where I want to be.
But after two books and two different lessons learned, I think I’ve figured it out.
For book three I’ve set some new goals for myself. I’ve found I actually enjoy eating healthy. We’ve discovered some great recipes (seriously, Google low-carb dinners and you’ll be amazed at the delicious stuff that pops up!) that make it easy to eat yummy food that doesn’t add to the tire around your waist. The diet piece I’ve got in check.
Now, for the exercise. No more excuses that I don’t have time or that it’s too hot. Because that’s all of us right? Yet somehow some of you don’t let those excuses dictate your lives.
By this time next year I hope to be one of those people. When book three is almost ready (Another goal of mine), I hope to be in a different place. Strong and healthy and excuse free.
And to all those out there with similar jobs and experiences that mire you in a chair, just keep in mind it’s never too late to start trying to figure it out and get healthy. I’ve been working on it for three years now and am just starting to realize what works for me, and what I need to do for myself.
I’m so fortunate to get to do what I love, and that’s why I have to take care of myself. So that I can be around doing it for a very long time!
And the same goes for you.