By Dave Ongie
On a calm winter’s morn near the end of 2017, I found myself eyeball-to-eyeball with a puffy-faced man who smelled faintly of eggnog and ham.
Once I realized I was staring at my own reflection in the bathroom mirror, I stepped over to the scale and was greeted by a number that caused me to do my second double-take of the morning.
Right then and there, I resolved to get back into a shape other than oblong. Eat right, drink water and hit the gym. They say if you share your resolution with someone else, you’re more likely to keep it because of the accountability that is forged. That goes double if you tell your spouse, who is always watching you like a hawk there to offer support.
So I told my wife, and she enthusiastically offered to help get me aboard the train to good health. We went out to the grocery store to buy an array of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries and lean proteins. After that, it was off for one final bender at my pizza place of choice, where I received a hearty greeting from the folks behind the counter.
On our way home, my wife made note that everyone at the pizza place seemed to know me. She went on to wager that nobody who works at our gym could pick me out of a police lineup. That, she said, was probably part of my problem.
She was right, of course. We joined a gym last fall, but I didn’t really have a good plan of attack and quickly faded from the scene. Then I spent the holidays proving that belonging to a gym doesn’t burn any calories in and of itself – you have to actually show up and do stuff. Meanwhile, we live in a miraculous time in human history where pizzas are hot and ready at nearly any hour.
So the beginning of January saw me turn over a new leaf. Despite temperatures hovering in the single digits, I trudged back into my gym and sheepishly entered my code at the front desk. When my information popped up, the woman behind the counter said, “Wow! It’s been 71 days since you’ve been here!”
With that, I was off to get my name off the naughty list. I climbed aboard an elliptical machine and got down to business. To my great surprise, my first workout in 71 days was a rousing success. And by that, I mean I didn’t fall off the machine or lose my breakfast.
I decided to reward myself with a cup of coffee on the way to the office. The five-minute drive was just long enough to lock my legs up, so I shambled across the parking lot and into the coffee shop. I tried to formulate a plan for the days and weeks ahead while I waited for my coffee. My mind swirled with all the diet and exercise advice I’ve accumulated over the years, and I ended up with more questions than answers.
South Beach or Mediterranean?
What exactly is hot yoga?
Is Adkins still a thing?
Lost in thought, the voice of the girl behind the counter caught me by surprise.
“Here’s your coffee,” she said. “Sorry about your wait.”
“It’s okay,” I replied absentmindedly. “I just started going back to the gym.”