The Uphill Slide

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A New Year’s Resolution

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A few years ago I became focused on getting back in shape. I bought a Fitbit One to track my steps and targets. I followed the DASH diet (http://dashdiet.org/default.asp). I cut out pop (soda) and coffee that had gone from me drinking it black with a cigarette to macchiatos and sugar and flavorings and cream. In my lifetime, coffee has evolved from a simple beverage to a happening. I drank glasses and glasses of water everyday. I replaced my treadmill with a better one and eventually bought a Cybex Arc Trainer. I bought a bike and later my husband bought one built for his height to take on our vacation in 2013. I thought at last he was going to ride the trails with me. We rode it once or twice on vacation, and now it sits in the basement, sometimes in water puddles that leak into the basement during a rain. This spring he opted for a motorized Harley Davidson.

I dropped pounds with my regimen and felt the difference in how long and far I could walk and run. I ran up and down the stairs. but still I found there was more work to do when we hiked on our vacation. I encouraged my husband to try my diet or at least cut out some of that sugar and junk food from his diet thinking perhaps that change could impact his health issues. I recommended Cary cut out all the sugar, but sugar hits the same receptors in your brain as opiates and alcohol she told me. Is sugar the opium of the masses? The doctor suggested swimming to Roy as good exercise, but the local YMCA was too expensive. I suggested my Cybex Arc Trainer as alternative to the treadmill. He dissed my recommendations as advice from a lay person as he sometimes dissed advice from the nurse in our family. So I was on my own in my goals and health initiatives.

We often ate different foods for dinner as he asked, “Are you eating rabbit food again?” Those little buggers are darn cute and the heroes and heroines of many books. Could I do better than follow their diet? It was working for me. My friends and acquaintances complimented me on my weight loss and looking good. “What are you doing?” they asked. Just change of diet and exercise. I tracked my food on the Fitbit website. I joined a group of women in their online communities to compete on daily steps. I usually found myself in 2nd place and began to feel a bit obsessive about trying to beat that stranger, so I left the group. I was passionate about keeping up with this. My blood pressure was good, and my doctor complimented me as he held up his wrist with his own Fitbit. Still I felt a certain negativity surrounding me.

I joined Planet Fitness near my son’s house and visited regularly when I was in Pittsburgh away from my own machines. Not everyone likes Planet Fitness. I just found this scathing review (https://www.t-nation.com/opinion/planet-fitness-nightmare) of this business. I agree with the review that pizza and candy might not be the best idea to offer at a gym. They are right too that you are on your own, but you can sign up for some instructional classes. Sometimes people bring their own instructors. This might not be a “real gym”, but it is just right for thrifty people like me. The work I do there and my diet is my responsibility, and this is not my only activity to try to keep active and fit.

This summer, I returned to my home full-time after Jacob got out of jail, and he proved to be one of the strongest, most focused people I know. This house in Cowansville though was shrouded in negativity and depressing. My suggestions were rejected and efforts at optimism failed. Cary was relapsing, and I returned to the evil smoking habit that I had given up years ago. I took up smoking casually at college, a bastion not only of education but learning bad habits. I took up smoking in dedication at the mushroom mines and also gave it up there. Occasionally in the years since, I smoked the stress cigarette. The addictive habit never took hold of me again until this summer. My husband brought home boxes of cheap cigarettes and bags of even cheaper ‘loosies’. It was encouragement for my daughter and I to smoke cheaper, and we did all summer. I did not exercise much anymore and didn’t ride my poor neglected bike, not once all summer. Meal-times were focused on making sure my grandson ate. It’s been over six-months since I dropped the ball, and now it’s time to return to passions in my life. Tonight was my first night back at Planet Fitness, and those endorphins from my sweat gave me a high as I pulled out of the parking lot listening to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”.

Gloria Gaynor. “I Will Survive.” Love Tracks, Polydor Records, 1978.

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