Tying in my goals to be in shape with my passions is the most successful thing I’ve done so far.
The problem with gyms…and running…and diets…and…
Like most adult Americans, I’ve tried dozens of strategies to get my body healthy. Most attempts end in a climactic pizza-for-breakfast fest.
My first good attempt was Body for Life, a “12 Weeks to Change Your Life” strategy. You know the type: the weight-loss program where you see before and after pics of people that look too amazing to be true, except they are true?
I followed the program. Lost twenty pounds! And then life got busy, and I went right back to where I was before.
Next, I tried getting an ultra muscular trainer at Gold’s Gym. Not only did that not work, but I ran into my trainer two years later when his life got busy with a wife and kids, and he was just as chubby as I was.
And who can blame him? I find that on average, a trip to the gym–including changing, traveling, checking in, working out, running into an old friend that you haven’t seen for awhile, traveling home, and then showering–takes about two hours of time. That burns up basically…all of my free time.
If I have free time, I don’t want to use it to just stay healthy. I want to…you know…make creative stuff! Like more books and art, and comics books, and games! That two hours–I need that.
I also tried running marathons. Super fun, but my crumblings knees have never forgiven me.
Tried riding bikes. Same problem as the gym and, even worse, last summer I wound up getting stranded several times when my bike broke down.
Knock on wood…I’m finally getting a habit down
Would you be surprised if I told you that I’ve actually been able to get an exercise routine down?
Here’s the deal. It’s kind of complicated, and when I go into greater detail about the miracles of the following element, most people just get exhausted listening to me. 😛 (Sorry, family!)
To keep it ultra brief: there are two things that have changed.
- I started doing meditation about 7 years ago and have rarely missed a day.
- I found some equipment that actually fits my life
That first one…meditation…how could that help?
Out of those two things, meditation is not the crux of the routine
(right..sitting on a cushion to lose weight? Nope…)
I didn’t start meditating as a weight loss strategy, but it is the core change that I made that is having surprising positive side effects.
One of the things that meditation can do is bring awareness to our conscious mind of larger and larger periods of our life.
In other words, when making decisions, we find ourselves more frequently thinking about where we will be five, ten, twenty and more years from now.
It’s not my intention to change this about my thought process when meditating, but this change is happening anyway. It’s a key reason why I realized that my unhealthy eyesight was leading my family off a cliff. It’s also a reason why I’m willing to invest so much in a crazy expensive master’s degree.
And it’s definitely a cause behind my budding consistency in exercise and eating healthy.
What’s the big deal?
So, thus far, that may sound kind of anti-climactic. Maybe it is, but it’s been a big deal for me.
The thing is, when I go to eat, I look at the food and all this time sitting on a cushion, contemplating the universe, makes me wonder what it will make me feel when I’m sixty.
It’s weird, and simple, but for me, it’s a really, really important change.
My mind is more and more turning to the realization of the nature of time. I want to make the best use of this body which I only have for this “fraction of a second”.
Trying to motivate myself to be physically attractive? Meh, never really cared.
Wanting to fit into those old clothes? 😛 I can get new pants at Salvation Army for $2.
But…if I’m really healthy…I could live an extra and healthy twenty or thirties years more…which is a TON of time to write books, make art, create comics, and even games.
That’s the link. Living longer to have more time to be healthy? Being able to continue writing books and making art for a long time after I retire?
Bingo. Motivation found.
Even my lazy side of myself can’t argue with that.
Granted, I don’t want to sound like I’m crazy healthy. I can still down a whole tub of vanilla ice cream with crushed Reese Peanut Butter Cups when I’m in the mood. But that just…doesn’t happen as often, lately… In fact, as of writing this, I think the last time I did that was a few months ago. Whereas I used to do it at least twice a month.
…Knock on wood?
But what about that crazy time element, eh?
So, here’s the other half of the deal. None of the exercise part would be possible if I didn’t have something that still fit within my time schedule.
Enter this little mini exercise bike that I’ve been using fairly regularly.
I bought this thing for about a hundred bucks awhile back, and it seems to be sticking to my life.
When you’re reading for homework, listening to a lecture, or even just vegging to Netflix, all you have to do is plop it down in front of you and start peddling.
Is it as good as going to the gym?
Is it going to give you the same amount of Vitamin C that going for a bike ride would provide?
It’s also super slow in burning calories. It takes me about an hour and a half or so to burn off 600 calories (my daily goal).
I’m not even sure how accurate it is.
But this little peddle bike IS SOMETHING. In fact, I’ve burned off several pounds worth of calories using it, and I’m still going.
And, I can still get my homework readings (and Netflix) in while doing it.
So, there you go. Meditation, a mini bike, and the belief that I can have a long life to make more creative stuff: that’s the strategy that’s currently gaining traction for me.
Hope it helps. Please share any ideas! I’d love to hear how you’re finding your motivation.
Want to check out that bike, and support my work at the same time?
If you’re interested in checking out the mini bike, and if you’d like to support my work, here’s a simple way to do it.
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