Now Is a Good Time to Start

The July Project: Day 1

I like to take on a new self-improvement project or two every month. I pick some part of my life that needs work, and then I try to give it time and attention every day. This week, as the first half of 2010 came to an end, I got the idea of collecting my favorite ideas about diet and exercise—a draft owner’s manual for my body, a reference I can turn to when I’m struggling to lose one more pound. Maybe someone else would like to read it, too.

I’ve lost about a hundred pounds in the last six or seven years. When people ask me how I’ve done it, I don’t like to give them the simple formula, which is, “I eat better and exercise more than I used to.” I don’t like to see the look of discouragement that usually follows that answer.

It’s also not a completely honest response. The real story is more complicated. It might take the form of a long, wandering meditation on knowledge and desire, patience and fear, winning and losing, mind and body, joy and pain. For practical reasons, I usually just share one idea that’s worked for me.

I haven’t reached my own fitness goals yet, so even after a hundred pounds, I’m not sure I’m qualified to speak with authority on this topic. Maybe I’ll be closer by the end of July.

I intended to write this post early in the morning. But I had an appointment with the eye doctor. He dilated my eye and left me headache-y and unable to focus for a few hours. And then the day filled up with other distractions—meetings, errands, friends, phone calls, eating, and eventually, exercise. Not until 11 p.m. did I sit down to tackle Day 1 of this project. That’s okay, though, because the trajectory of my day contains the first lesson:

It doesn’t matter how late in the day it is—or how late in your life you find yourself. You might be busy or tired or have a lot on your mind. But if you’re still breathing, you have time to make significant, positive change in your life. If you’re trying to decide on a good time to start, may I suggest now?

6 comments to Now Is a Good Time to Start

  • Anne

    I can relate to this because sometimes if I exercise late in the day (when I’m tired and really not motivated) I get the most benefit. I’m able to stay up a little later and I really feel the boost from exercise. (I’m told that is endorphins, but I have often wondered if they are imaginary.) My absolute favorite time to go to the gym is Friday evening which I refer to as “loser time”—can’t get a date, don’t have plans. 🙂 But the gym is quiet and peaceful and I like that!

  • Edward F. Gumnick

    I’ll have to start working on a blog post entitled “The fact that you’re at the gym on Friday night doesn’t mean you’re a loser.” 😀

    But I love “loser time” at Memorial Park. If you want to walk or run in peace and quiet, go to the park during Friday happy hour!

  • Donna

    Don’t you walk in the evenings now? I asked Henry if he would make a commitment to walk every morning at a specific time that we both agreed on (like 7 am, for example), and he squirmed and he-hawed and basically declined to make a commitment. So I guess that I have to go it alone!

    • Edward F. Gumnick

      Yeah, as much as I enjoy walking in the morning, I always want a nap after a morning walk, and I tend to get nothing else done on that schedule. So now I go in the late afternoon or early evening. In the cool season, I like to go in the early afternoon, and oddly enough, I usually come back ready for more work.

  • Edward F. Gumnick

    P.S. It’s hard enough to motivate yourself without the added responsibility for someone else, isn’t it? I say go it alone…but never let up on telling Henry how great it makes you feel or what a beautiful morning it was. There’s more than one way to skin a cat!

  • Donna

    Thanks for the encouragement. I had to go to the doctor and face up to another 8 pounds this year on top of the 10 or so from the previous year. Those of us in the business refer to it as “teacher fat.”

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