Sunlight cracked through the curtains as my eyes opened to another summer day, and I couldn’t help but smile at the possibilities.
I don’t always wake up humming a tune. Most mornings, I wait by the coffee pot like the walking dead until enough brews to fill my, “please wait while I overthink this” coffee mug I found at Walmart on the $5 rack.
Today was different because it held the promise of a new leaf overturned. A YouTube video titled “Six Weeks to a Summer Body” sat on my phone for close to a month like a beacon of light in a sea of fat pants.
All the times I sat on my butt scrolling through Facebook while stuffing my face with all the things I knew I shouldn’t, this video gave me hope that tomorrow (always tomorrow) would start a new life for me. Tomorrow, I would step away from Netflix and take steps toward my health.
Tomorrow, I would wear workout clothes to work out in.
Tomorrow, I would put down the French fries and make something with cauliflower.
Tomorrow, I would be the girl I was always meant to be.
And finally, tomorrow came. The dietary instructions were posted with the video, guaranteeing I could lose at least thirty pounds in a month and a half if I just followed the instructions.
I’d done my shopping and pre-chopped all my fruit and veggies for easy access. My refrigerator was a kaleidoscope of healthy options.
Now, standing in front of the television waiting for my phone to connect, I pictured myself as everything I wanted to be.
Tight. Toned. Skinny. Bold enough to be pictured sitting down without fear of an obnoxious fat roll protruding from a shirt that is slimming as long as I am standing up.
Adventurous enough to don hiking gear and navigate the forest with my family.
Sassy enough to throw on a little black dress and dance the night away with my husband — or at least drag him onto the floor for one awkward slow dance.
All of this and more waited for me if I could just remain disciplined and focused —you know, for six weeks.
This magical journey began as words like "Lose Weight," "Get Toned" and "Be Healthy" flew onto the screen to the beat of some kind of inspiring music.
The magical journey ended minutes later while I was twisted up in a plank with shaking arms, craning my neck to see the screen where a ridiculously fit woman kept telling me I was doing great. But she was wrong — I wasn’t doing great — and this journey was not magical at all.
It was painful, hard work.
While I am certain that six weeks of it would probably get me in shape, I quickly realized with my bad back, I probably needed to start a little slower.
I can’t count the times I try to take the easy way out only to discover there isn’t an easy way. Logic says I can’t whip myself into shape in less than two months after months of letting myself go, but desperation for a quick and easy solution gets me every time.
Healthy living isn’t a fad or a quick fix — it’s a way of life. And I say that with all the humility of a woman who has finally admitted defeat.
In all honesty, this isn’t my first reality smack either. I have lost weight, gained it back, and taken my self-esteem on many a rollercoaster ride over time.
Each time I come off the ride, I’m determined to do better and to educate myself on how to do it right.
As the years pile up and the pounds pack on, I am starting to worry about more than just looking better, but feeling better and being around to see my kids grow up.
Priorities change with age, and it’s all about my everyday choices. After all the failed tomorrows I have put my hope in, I am going to seize today. It’s today where my true power lies.
But only mental power right now, because after collapsing from that plank, I can’t feel my arms.