I feel like I am wearing a fleshy overcoat.
My belly that has never been a problem for me is now hanging uncomfortably over my belt. I see myself in the mirror and I wonder who where the 30 inch waist I had in college went to. And then I remember, I no longer stand up and walk around the room all day and talk with students as my job. I remember that having children is not as much of a workout as actually working out. I remember that sitting down in a chair and writing for an hour doesn’t really have the same sweat producing power that a run in the park.
Behind me is a treadmill and a TV that I could use at any time in the day now that I work from this chair much of the time. I have incredible flexibility to be active. I have the ability to take meetings from anywhere and produce ideas as I think of them, in mid-stride.
The problem is, I haven’t committed myself to it. I haven’t dedicated 365 days to being healthy. Somehow, I have persisted in the myth that eventually I will just stop being quite as hungry for the things that I have eaten with relish since I gave up vegetarianism in 2006. At some point I think that my interest in exercise is going to pick up back to the point it was when I walked with my wife every afternoon. This isn’t based upon any evidence, but merely the wish for me to stop sitting here at some point and feel like moving my feat faster than a jog for more than time it takes me to run across a parking lot.
The love handles and pot belly are not grotesque and they do not make it so I cannot do any of the things I want to do. They do, unfortunately, make me feel old and not in a good way. They make me feel like I did in middle school before I decided that running a mile a day would be the easiest way for me to feel in control of something other than my computer.
I tell myself that it is a lack of time, but I make time for everything that I care about. I tell myself it is a lack of interest, but I like the reflective aspect of exercise. I even tell myself that I have only changed 2 waist sizes in 6 years, but I know that is a pretty hollow victory.
We should exercise when we know that we will get something out of it other than a few sore muscles. We should do it when the commitment is as tangible as the ones we make to our families to always be there for them. We should do it when the alternative is avoiding the reality of getting older and perpetuating a belief in invincibility that we have held since we were teenagers.
I have run out of excuses and I’m ready to take off this overcoat.