I have a confession: When it comes to making fitness as a priority in my life, I cheat.
Recovery from addiction, if done correctly, changes a person down to their core. Once I went from a doctor or two and my parents generalizing about how “I was slowly killing myself” to a place where I could actually see solid evidence of my coming demise, things went from abstract to real very fast. All of a sudden those liver enzyme readings meant something more than a doctor’s over-reaction. Originally, when that doctor said if I didn’t quit, and in a hurry, I wouldn’t make it to my 30th birthday I took it as an over exaggeration. Within a year, I could see Death walking up to the door to knock.
Let’s just say that for me, the self-preservation aspect of recovery meant that I had to do certain things… I had to prioritize things in my life better. Quitting drinking quickly became priority number one. More important than a job, a girl, my relationship with my parents… Recovery came first because without that, the rest was impossible anyway – including staying on the right side of the grass, pumping air.
This was early on in my life. I was young, only twenty-three when these changes started taking shape.
Then my metabolism slowed down and I got lazy. I watched a lot of TV and played a lot of video games and I started putting on weight, 50 pounds in just a couple of years. I went from the low-end of the BMI scale to overweight – and I didn’t care. I figured everyone else was fat, what was the big deal if I ended up that way too? That line of thinking lasted approximately twelve hours unchallenged. Then I had one of those, “What the hell are you thinking?!” moments. See, I’d changed. I know damn good and well allowing myself to get fat will kill me just as sure as being a chronic drunk will, it’ll just take a little bit longer killing myself with food.
Immediately on waking the next morning I had an entire change of heart and mind. I started running that day, with my wife and a friend of hers. I was slow, maybe a little better than 9-1/2 minute miles, and it was a short run at only 1-1/2 miles but by the end of the next week I was up to three 5k’s a week – and the weight started coming off, slowly but surely. Then came changes in diet and even more weight dropped off of my flabby backside and gut.
Starting that morning I applied the same mindset that I’d used on alcohol and drugs to staying fit and trim.
Today, I don’t take time for fitness. I make time. While there are events that can crowd my time and make getting a ride in difficult, I make a way. Period, end of lecture. Without my fitness I am slowly killing myself, one burger at a time. I make time for fitness just like I make time for my recovery, because without those nothing else is feasible. Granted, recovery always comes first but fitness is a close second.
I plan on being active when I’m 90 so I have to be on top of it now. My friends, the less I treat fitness as an inconvenience and more like a necessity, the easier it is to make time to get it done. Tomorrow is promised to no one, but the fact that there will be fewer tomorrows is a promise, if I don’t attend to that which matters most.