What is it really all about?

Why have a new years’ resolution about fitness and health?

For most people who I know it’s just an abstraction. They decided to lose weight, get fit, change their diet, whatever, because they are repeatedly told that this is a good idea. Magazines shout “LOSE 10 LBS FAST” or some daytime talk show focuses on the dangers of obesity/high blood pressure/diabetes/etc.

But what if you got fit, lost weight and then didn’t do anything with that new fitness? I spent years feeling bad about how I looked, how I felt and wearing trousers that were big enough to fit two fitter versions of myself into, but didn’t do much of anything about it. I keenly recall going on a group bike ride up Mt. Diablo several years ago and chatting with a few of my fellow cyclists at the summit before the ride down and saying, “I need to get a better bike. This one is too heavy.” Then an older rider laughed at me, pointed at my stomach and said, “Sure man, spend $2000 to shave half a pound off your bike. That’s a great idea. Or, how about this – for free you could lose 10 lbs off of you.” I was riding to improve my health, but had lost sight of the fact that I should have been trying to get fitter in order to enjoy riding more.

This past weekend we repainted our bedroom and replaced the curtains. It was hard work, but I couldn’t help but notice that it was a lot less daunting physically than the last time I did any painting, which was only a few years ago. Sticking with daily exercise and eating right are good things to do just for the sake of themselves, but it’s so much nicer to take that fitness and do something with it.

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