A few weeks ago, I started walking. Not every day, probably four or five times a week, with weather and other circumstances sometimes preventing the walk. I’m averaging about 1.25 miles per session, although the app I’m using to track it fluctuates between 1.23 and 1.33 miles, even though I walk the same route every time. Go figure.
I’ve changed my eating habits. Cutting out junk food, sweets. Eating less. I’m drinking almost nothing but water. And when 4 o’clock rolls around and I suddenly desperately want to eat something, as always seems to happen, I reach for an apple instead of a bag of chips. If circumstances force me to eat fast food or nothing at all (something that happens frequently when I’m rehearsing a play until nine o’clock at night), I go for the grilled chicken sandwich instead of the bacon cheeseburger. In fact, I’ve only had one hamburger in the past month, not counting the fourth of July barbecue because, dammit, it was the Fourth of July and Benjamin Franklin DIED AT GETTYSBURG to protect our right to burn meat and eat as many hot dogs as possible at Coney Island. (I respect this last part tremendously, although I don’t take part — I don’t really like hot dogs.)
I am, as seems to happen every few years, back to making a real, concentrated effort to get healthier. It always happens the same way — I feel lousy, I get tired of feeling lousy, I do what I can to make myself healthier. I improve. I can tell you right now that I feel better today than I have in a long time. But I always slip up, I always go back to old habits. I’m particularly afraid of losing the walking once school starts again. Right now it’s relatively easy — although I have a lot of work to do, I’ve got a lot of freedom as to when I do it, so working in a walking session usually isn’t a problem. But I prefer to walk in the morning, before I start doing anything else, before I’m distracted by a million things. In order to do that once school starts I’d have to start getting up before 5 a.m., a punishment that should be reserved only for the most egregious prisoners of war. Doing it after school is viable, but I know from experience how hard it will be to jolt myself into activity after a full day on my feet chasing after high school students trying to teach them to conjugate gerunds or whatever it is I do.
But I’ve got even more of a reason now that I have in the past. I’ve got a wedding next year. And I want to feel great that day. And I want to keep feeling great after that.