You gotta’ start somewhere | Reporter’s Notebook

Baby steps. That’s the lesson of the past month. Baby steps.

Though I hoped to report overwhelming success with my commitment to getting in shape, the cold truth is that change comes in fits and starts.

Some folks in the community have called me brave for putting my desire to tone up “out there.” I generally reply that “crazy is more like it,” and there have been plenty of times over the past few weeks when I’ve wondered just what the hell I am doing. Especially when I don’t follow through. Those moments have been the toughest because they tap into my tendency to see myself as a loser, as someone who’s not perfect.

I know, right? Silly. But so true.

Still, asking the community to hold me accountable in my quest to get fit has given me a sense of purpose, a reason to get on with it, to make it happen. It has also resulted in some wonderful, encouraging and uplifting moments.

The morning the column was published online, I received a message on social media from a member of the community I barely know: “I read your piece in The Sounder this morning. Bravo. Good on ya,” it said. A woman in Friday Harbor wrote a letter to the editor urging me to start walking the state’s trails “now.” An islander emailed wonderful advice on exploring paths in my new neck of the island. My neighbor offered a free pass to one of her online fitness hours and my landlady asked me to join her on short walks “whenever I was ready.” Others asked how I was doing.

You’ve been incredibly encouraging.

Equally as important is that there’s been some progress, and however small they may appear, I remind myself that they represent movement in the right direction.

Baby steps.

When I started on this quasi-public journey I had recently moved into a space half the size of my former residence. Identifying what to keep and what to find a place for has occupied a large portion of my mental space. Consequently, organizing has provided me with more than enough opportunities to procrastinate. Between putting my home together and working, self-care often takes a back seat to productivity in my playbook. Somewhere along the line when I learned how to prioritize in my life, I neglected to include myself in the equation. Through this, I remind myself to be gentle. Be patient and appreciate the process.

After the first week, I was two pounds lighter and had several days when my daily step count exceeded 7,500, beating my self-imposed goal of 6,000, which I rarely met. I started to watch when I felt hungry, what I craved when I felt like I wanted (needed) to eat something. I increased my water intake and decreased my alcohol intake. And I stopped snacking. In short, I started paying attention to when I eat and why. It’s been very educational.

I’ve yet to sign up to Eat Like a Bear and would welcome any guidance from anyone who has tried it. At its core is one large meal (salad or hot veggies) a day in an hour-long eating window. It’s going to take some planning.

I’ve also attended one of my neighbor’s online classes. It was great fun and really hard, but I can see how it would be so beneficial, and she makes them fun! It may be a while before I show myself online to other participants but I’ve paid for 10 sessions and it will become a part of my weekly routine.

It took me forever to get in the pool, but I did and I’ll likely have a few more swims before you read this. And I will have had a walk ‘n chat with a dear friend this past Sunday.

Baby steps.

The scale showed five pounds lighter the other day, and the stairs at work feel like they’re getting easier. It’s not much, I know, but it’s a start. And you know what they say about a journey of a thousand miles.

Speaking of journeys, I’ve decided against Florida next month and have set myself a new goal. In six months I will turn 75. Seems like a good time to celebrate renewal. Stay tuned. And thanks for the support. Means tons.