I recently saw the movie, Wild which chronicles Cheryl Stray’s 1,100 mile walk along the Pacific Crest Trail. While I can’t say I accomplished something quite that monumental, I do have a homegrown story of a group of women who took on a physical challenge. This energetic group of women wanted to create changes in their world by making a renewed commitment to exercise.
It all started in November when one member of our Thursday Sistas’ group issued a challenge. She was pretty fired up to start an exercise program for herself and challenged us all to join in. The reward at the end of six weeks would be a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant, Capers. This idea started a flurry of emails back and forth with everyone either joining in or at least commenting on it. Here’s how it all started…
The Challenge Begins
We’re just going to have to come up with another reason to celebrate at Capers sometime. I don’t want to wait until the next birthday to try it. Maybe it could be a reward for walking so many miles or so many days in a month. Would anyone want to do that with me? We don’t have to walk together, just have a plan and stick to it without fail for a month or two.
Day One-First Walk
The Challenge Guidelines: Day One
We’re starting on the coldest day of the year because TODAY MATTERS. I’ve been starting “tomorrow” for a long time, and I’m telling you, that hasn’t worked. Now for the sake of calendar symmetry, I would prefer to start officially tomorrow on a Sunday and have 6 straight-line weeks on my calendar. But I’ve been told that’s crazy thinking, so let’s just start today.
Charting suggestions so far: Do it yourself any old way, the app My Fitness Pal, the app Everybody Walks. I can’t comment since I know nothing about apps. I have a feeling I’m about to learn.
Today will be a beautiful day, so try to get outside in the warmest part and get moving. Or turn on the TV, push the laundry off the elliptical machine, and walk that way. We can work out each of our individual plans and our charting as we go along, but the most important part today is to take a walk. When you have time, try to write down your personal plan. Ready…set…GO!
Walking in Downtown Kennesaw
There was of course one member who wanted to follow the beat of her own drum.
There’s Always an Exception to the Rule
In real estate there process called a 1039 exchange where you and another person exchange ownership of pieces of property of equal value and avoid capital gains taxes. I propose a 1039 exercise exchange for me – To wit: (doesn’t that sound really legal?)
I will not participate in your walking plan since my schedule is unpredictable and because I left Chicago 40 years ago so I would never have to walk very far in extreme cold again. My proposal is to exchange your frigid frolics with three hour dance classes twice a week
I went to the first class last night. I spent several hours either dancing with the female instructor or with the only unattached male. He is a very sweet man slightly shorter than me with absolutely no sense of rhythm. He was either counting out the beats aloud (“…and one and two and three and turn…”) or repeating the steps (“ ….up fast fast slow back fast fast slow..”) It took real concentration on my part to dance at a pace that had no relationship whatever to the music.
Fortunately we also did some line dancing which requires no partner and the female instructor was great. Tango anyone?
Actually, I had a really good time and plan to go back again. If I promise to do this strange but oddly entertaining form of exercise at least twice a week, can it stand in lieu of walking in a winter wonderland? I’ll even wear a pedometer or get a verification of attendance from the instructor if required.
Your kind consideration of this proposal will be greatly appreciated.
S.A. aka: Happy Feet
The Official Answer
Dear Happy Feet
Thank you for the recent submission of your Alternative Exercise Proposal. While the Sizzlin’ Sistas Social Club normally requires strict compliance with established Challenge criteria, your excellent standing as a Sista has earned you special consideration. Your detailed activity description provided sufficient evidence that dancing does indeed meet the following Challenge requirement: “…it has to be a little more than you already do and…we’re going for faithful and consistent exercise without terrible suffering.” While there is some concern that a poor dance partner may constitute “terrible suffering,” your assurance that you “had a really good time” has allayed concerns until you report otherwise. After careful consideration, the Capers Challenge Committee has approved your request with one stipulation: you must demonstrate your new dance skills at the SSSC Christmas Party on December 18, 2014, and teach fellow Sistas a dance of your choice. Please note that your selected dance may be anything except the Hokey Pokey, the Chicken Dance, or Twerking.
K.H.~Self-appointed Capers Challenge Committee Chair
Sizzlin’ Sistas Social Club
Walking Noonday Creek Trail
Regular Encouragement: Day Three
DAY 3: AGreat Day To Start Again
It was an easy thing to walk this weekend because the weather was fine, I didn’t have any special plans, and my next-door neighbor was a motivating partner. The reality, though, is that any little thing can de-rail my enthusiasm, like a cold bug or a long work day or RAIN AND EXTREME COLD. Today may be our first special challenge day. You may decide to make this your “rest day” (a trick I have used for years). But maybe you’ll think of a creative way to squeeze in at least a partial workout before the next Ice Age sets in: walk around your building a few times at lunch or have a reconnaissance mission around the mall to get you psyched for Christmas shopping. Oh, here’s my favorite idea: drop a couple of shots of peppermint schnapps and turn on the electric blanket before you drag your husband out for a fast and freezing night walk. Don’t worry, he’ll agree to it as soon as he realizes you’re drinking. However you work it out, make it a GOOD day!
Hiking Kennesaw Mtn-Coldest Day Ever
More Motivation: Day 5 -Off the block
I’m not going to bother you with emails every day, promise, but neither am I going to sit silently and watch this effort fade away. I really need to improve my fitness no matter what, and you know what they say: “Misery loves company!”
If you’re in, how’s it going? Did you define your plan? Have done your activity yet? This is a “no-guilt, no-perfection” program, so don’t feel bad if you’re slow off the starting block. You might want to just come clean about the struggle and maybe your friends can give you a boost to get started. Whether your problem is time, darkness, cold, injury, ugly workout clothes, or lack of energy and motivation, we’ll all understand. ~K.H.
There Was Personal Investment
I’m so happy to hear the Capers Challenge is well under way! I’ll tell you that the mention of water aerobics got my attention. Where there is water, there are bathing suits. Next time you don’t feel like walking, put your bathing suit on and then decide if you’re going to walk that day!
It’s good to hear that some of you have have moved into the planning phase. I’ve spent whole years in the planning phase, and consider myself an expert. If you’re still not doing any actual exercise after purchasing an elliptical, a gym membership, a pretty water bottle, a lock for the gym locker, a special towel to wipe your sweat away, heel inserts for your walking shoes, an iPod, and flattering workout clothes, the Capers Challenge Committee will stage an intervention.
Day 7: Sunrise at 7:18 and sunset at 5:33. ~K.H.
Yep, stopped by the police because we were walking too fast!
Quitting is Not an Option
Day 11 Is it time to quit?
SHORT ANSWER: No
LONG ANSWER: It would be completely understandable to table this exercise thing until a better time. There’s too much going on between the usual demands of work and home, plus the latest crisis, plus holiday prep and celebrations. I can think of so many things I should be tending to instead of walking aimlessly for 40 minutes. That just makes me more tired and stiff when I need to be at my best to handle everything else.
I know I have it easy. When I think of the demands most of you are managing, I think I sure have a lot of nerve trying to motivate any of you– you are superwomen already. But here’s the thing: in order for any of us to continue doing all our stuff this year and next, we need to be physically well enough to do stuff. We need to be strong enough and able enough and we need to feel pretty good in our heads, too. So this little exercise plan is a way to meet those needs without getting in too deep. You are not paying a lot of money for this, or breaking yourself down, or investing huge amounts of time. You’re just doing a little bit more exercise than you had been doing before and you’re doing it a little more consistently. You’re in control of your own plan. It might be time to adjust the plan or recommit yourself to one day at a time, but it’s not time to quit. A little exercise is better than none.
I wanted to share a really inspiring quote with you about not quitting, but I couldn’t find one that didn’t get on my nerves. So instead, I’m sharing this bit of wisdom that cracked me up, even though it doesn’t support my goal here one bit: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it. ~W.C. Fields
Walking Downtown Acworth
We Can Always Change Our Story
This morning when Lynne asked me if I wanted to walk today, I had a physical reaction. I made a sour face, my head drooped, I closed my eyes, my muscles all sent “NO!” messages to my brain, and my lazy butt whispered to my legs, “You don’t have to do it, just sit down. She can sit down and read a book instead.” I am not always enthusiastic.
So 20 minutes later, from a booth at Las Palmas, I texted Lynne that I DID want to walk. What changed my attitude in that time? Knowing that I was about to overeat unhealthy food and get lazy for the rest of the day, even though I really do have a lot of important stuff to do today. So I decided to switch things up and see if a walk would re-energize me after my Chilequiles Mexicanos and sweet tea. So, now I’m about to head out for what will surely be a good walk on a nice day, and I’m sure I’ll be glad I did it.
See, we can always change our story. We can do better, make a new decision. What’s your story today? ~K.H.
- Changing habits isn’t easy but it is POSSIBLE. Start where you are and take one small step forward.
- Support is essential. If you are making a change in your life, find an accountability partner to spur you on. Sorry, my neighbor K.H. is already taken…find your own:)
- You will be amazed by the results of taking consistent action over time. When I tallied up my miles, we had walked over 120 miles!
What about you? How do you need to change your story? Let’s do it!! Ready, Set… Go!
Download my ebook: Dream Achiever: Learning to Fly and let’s start changing your story today!!
- Walking Kennesaw Mtn
New Year’s Day Hike