I was telling Drew how I had tried my usual cutting-down here-and-there behaviors, and had actually gained weight, and how we had gone on a particularly active vacation - hiking, walking, sightseeing so much our feet were aching at the end of each day - and had still gained weight.
Drew, being the kind of guy (meaning like most guys), who when he hears of a problem, feels compelled to solve it (instead of the kind - like most women - who merely commiserate and share your whine), ventured a plan. Why don't I try one of Dean's coach's regimens for bumping up one's metabolism: doing 20 minutes of highly aerobic activity first thing in the morning, before you go about your day. Don't count it as your workout. Just add it as your 20-minute furnace boost.
I hadn't been running on a regular basis for maybe two years, choosing instead to follow Scotty's lead, who prefers a fast walking pace, so he doesn't miss any good sniffs, and so he doesn't overheat with his ridiculous collie coat on. Although we do an hour to an hour-and-a-half of this fast walking at least four times a week (with half-hours on the other three days), I had pretty much given up on my running career. After all, running with a dog is complicated, and leaving the house in my running gear without the dog is heart rending.
Uh-oh, Coco the Basement Cat has decided to help me type. This may slow things down.
Drew said, no, do not feel sorry for the dogs. This is about you. Get on the treadmill and go for 20 minutes. Nobody gets hurt. Nobody feels left out. And if they do, the hell with them.
So I did. In practice, they end up as 30-minutes sessions: a quick five-minute warm up and a five-minute cool down sandwiches the 20 minutes of running. It was hard at first. The minutes ticked by so slow I doubted my grasp of the concept of time. But the 20-minute mark would always show up eventually. It has been a month now, and I have kept it up long enough now that it (almost) feels like a habit. I call my sessions "being awesome." That also helps me to keep it up. I don't want to not be awesome. And it has not precluded me from taking the dogs out for their walks after breakfast.
And the weather has been so nice lately that I have been able to get outside and see something beside the sun room walls. Luckily there are few other runners at the park when I go, because sometimes it seems like I am going so slowly that I must be on a hidden treadmill, but no matter. I'm not out there to impress anyone (which should be obvious from my outfit, which usually fails to match three different shades of blue, some black, some occasional hot pink or purple, all topped off with a red baseball cap).
It's easy to do anything for 20 minutes. It's easier to do something first thing in the morning before the excuse lobe in your brain kicks into gear. And 20 minutes is not nothing - a concept which is difficult to grasp after so many years of living amongst those for whom three-hour workouts are commonplace. It makes a difference. The pounds may not be melting away, but I can notice small changes. And that gives me hope. Hope that it's not all down hill from here. Hope that the next birthday doesn't mean more ballooning gut and arm flab. I may have lost a little of whatever it is inside our cells that make us firm and fresh, and may have more of the stuff that allows "ripe" to turn into "soft and squishy," but if 20 minutes a day can help slow that change, then I'm willing to run.