Last night, when I checked into my gym, foursquare informed me that this is the 18th straight week that I’ve been there. Most weeks, I’m there are least twice, if not three times. I have nearly flat feet and a related bad knee, so I’m not supposed to run. But, I rock out on the elliptical and the bike and the strength training machines. Back in January, when I got back from my honeymoon and looked at the pictures I’d taken, I didn’t like what I saw. A routine visit to the doctor that same month (and the necessary height and weight measurements) confirmed what I had feared. So, I decided to recommit to taking care of myself and stop making so many excuses. I didn’t do anything drastic. I haven’t started training for a marathon or gone on some crazy diet or fast, I’ve just made being healthier a part of my routine.
Most days after work, I want nothing more than to come home and relax. See my husband, maybe read a little. I’m exhausted, and the last thing I want to do is expend more energy. My gym is in the opposite direction from the subway stop, so I know that coming home first isn’t an option. I won’t be able to convince myself to leave again. So, I bring my gym bag to work and go straight there. I would say that 99% of the time, the five minute walk from the subway to the gym is spent complaining to myself about how I’m tired and I don’t feel like working out. But, I know that once I get there, I’ll feel better, and that I’m always glad I went. Pretty much every night, even after a workout, I come home and make dinner. We try not to order in or eat out more than once a week, and in New York City, that’s a tough thing to do. Most of my recipes come from low-cal, low-fat websites or cookbooks, so I generally feel good about what I’m putting into my body.
I don’t know for a fact that I’ve lost weight. I won’t step on a scale unless I have to because I know that the numbers will just mess with my head. What I do know is that a lot of my clothes are fitting better, and I feel pretty good. Self-love is something that I have always struggled with, and it’s still a battle for me, but when I saw that 18 week streak, I was incredibly proud of myself. In Hebrew, the number eighteen, “chai,” means “life.” When you toast, you say “l’chaim,” which means “to life.” Eighteen is a very significant number in my tradition, so I thought that during week 18 of my gym going streak would be the perfect time to share this message with you. I am proof that it’s possible to live a healthier life by making small changes. You just have to dedicate yourself and make healthy habits a part of your routine. You have to commit to taking care of yourself and putting yourself first. Raise a glass and toast to life.