Bargaining Chips

20 Aug
If you saw this outside your window, would you stay in, or get in a couple miles?

If you saw this outside your window, would you stay in, or get in a couple miles?

One day when I was out for a run, it had started drizzling. I’m a G, so I thought this wouldn’t be a problem. It was supposed to rain that day, but I didn’t expect anything too heavy.

I was wrong.

Halfway through my run, the skies opened up and let out a downpour. Several us who were out sought cover in a nearby tunnel. I was pissed because I had to stop my timer and wait out the rain. So I did what anyone else does when they’re waiting: I checked my TwiBookGramBlr. While I’m wasting valuable running away minutes to stay dry and for FOMO, a runner comes through the tunnel to show us all up. Not only did she keep her pace through the puppies and kittens falling from the sky, she did it with one arm. Yes, Skinny People, I was shamed by the awesome amputee runner.

To her, the rain wasn’t anything more than an added challenge. To me, it was a no-no.

When I made the decision to start my weight-loss journey, I gave myself all kinds of reasons not to do things. I couldn’t work out in the morning because I hate waking up before the sunrise. I didn’t like going to the gym after work because I hated getting home late or possibly missing a night out with friends. The big kicker, though, was weather. I refused to walk/run in temperatures that did not fall within the 47- to 74-degree range (I like symmetry. Leave me alone .)

It wasn’t until then I realized that I was hampering my potential growth by limiting myself so tightly.

It’s easy to fall into those traps. Making the decision to begin the weight-loss journey is one of the hardest things you’ll do. Committing to that decision is the real test. Your body will fight you on it. You’re putting yourself through changes you’re used to. So you begin making bargains. Mentally, you want to do better. But you don’t want to scare yourself off the process. You tell yourself that you’ll work out, but only at certain times of the day. You’ll monitor your diet, but if someone offers you cake, you can’t be rude. And, if you’re me, you will NOT run in temps outside the approved temperature range.

Because this is all psychological, I can’t tell you what your turning point will be. There will just come a day when you realize the bargains you’re making with yourself aren’t doing you any good. I can tell you that, for me, I just wanted more of a challenge. The sidesteps I was taking weren’t getting me any closer to my goal.

So I began to loosen my restrictions. For a couple months, I would only walk the three miles around the trail. That got boring, so I began to walk 2/3 of a mile then run the last third. I would wake up early because the trail was less crowded. If the temp dipped below 45, I’d walk my dog to test out the weather. Just because The Weather Channel says it’s one temp doesn’t mean it feels that way. Now I can run nonstop for multiple miles. I’ve got warm gear for the cold days and loose gear for the warm days. I’m not an idiot: I go to the gym or pop in an exercise DVD in inclement weather. But I haven’t set hard-and-fast rules that will keep me from my goal.

The commitment to a health and fitness plan is confining enough. Don’t make it worse with the limitations of what you won’t do—much different from what you can’t do. You have no idea what you are capable of. You could one day be shamed by an awesome amputee into finishing your run in the rain. I like to think she kept going by thinking to herself, , “F— it! I’ve got to get it in.”

Have you ever placed arbitrary limits on yourself? If you broke them, how did you do it and how did it make you feel?

photo credit: laffy4k via photopin cc

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5 Responses to “Bargaining Chips”

  1. DeBora M. Ricks August 22, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    Nice piece. This sort of rigidity shows up EVERYWHERE in our lives, especially in the areas where we desire massive change. It’s just fear. It’s a trick, too. Thanks, this was the reminder I asked God for this morning. There are no perfect conditions in which to act, we create them. Gotta run, time to get back to creating.

    • cicelyd August 22, 2014 at 11:54 am #

      Thanks DeBora! Fear keeps us from doing a lot of things. But if you try something and you don’t like it, you never have to do it again. And at least you can say you’ve tried.

  2. sagelit August 20, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    I don’t bike above 20 degrees C or below 10 degrees C. Or in the wind. Or in the rain. Really, I’m just a pansy and need to get over it.

    • cicelyd August 20, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

      Hey, we’ve all got our things. One day you may want to try getting out there on a windy 21-degree C day just to see what it’s like 😉😉

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