We all have two lives, the second begins when we realize we have only one. – Anonymous
Well, like a lot of people when I finished college, my corporate career began. I started working for one of the big corporate houses in India. The cubicle life consumed a major part of life. Unhealthy eating, drinking and before i could realize, i was on my to become obese. I also had a slew of other illnesses.I felt unhealthy, both physically and mentally.
One fine day, I received an email about the Mumbai marathon and my company was one of the lead sponsors. I decided to participate in a short 6 km race called “Dream run”. Yeah! That’s right. Always start small, I spoke to myself. Also, I couldn’t even fathom about running more than that in those days. The race was in a week’s time.
It was the race day and I was excited. I didn’t even bother to buy a running shoe and thought of doing this small race in my casual shoes only. Without any preparation, I was huffing and puffing after a kilometer. I walked more and ran less. My crossed the finish line and believe me, it was not at all a dream. I cursed myself for not preparing and my unhealthy lifestyle. It was a wake-up call for me.
In the next few weeks, I started making small changes in my lifestyle. A friend of mine, Sanjay, who was running the Delhi marathon (ADHM), asked me to register for a half marathon. After much deliberation, I signed up for it. I could not even run 200 meters without stopping. So running a half marathon was a distant dream. But I thought, “I had two months to prepare and if I am disciplined, I can do it”.
Two months later in October, I finished my first half marathon in two hours and 15 minutes. My preparation and journey to the half marathon look like this.
- If you’re not satisfied with how things are, change them.
I dedicated an hour in the evening to work on my fitness. I vividly remember I could not even run 250 meters initially.It was time to change and I was determined. In the first few days, I walked and ran 1 km without stopping, backed by 50 jump ropes and 30 push-ups. After a few weeks, I started intermittent running for 30 minutes without stopping backed by free exercises. One month before the half marathon, I increased the time to 45 minutes and later an hour. Two weeks before the marathon, I could run more than an hour without stopping. I was feeling fit metally.
- Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork.
All my life I ate whatever came my way. That is how I became unhealthy. I decided to make a few small changes which paid in the long runs. The first small change i made , I left eating white sugar/added sugar. Initially, it was very difficult. Food was tasteless. I took some time but now I came in terms with it. Now, after so many years i don’t miss sugar anymore.
The next change I made in my diet was avoiding junk food and white flour. In the process, I also learned healthy food that I can cook easily at home to lose weight and become conscious of what goes into my body.
Yes, these are changes everyone knows and can make but those who do see and feel the difference.
- In the long run, all the shortcuts are flawed: Being healthy and fit is a journey and a destination. It’s hard work and consistency, putting yourself out there and doing it every day. Anything short term like crash dieting, 2-week weight loss program and 21 days exercise challenges may help you in the short run but it’s unsustainable. So, having a fitness routine that is sustainable in the long run is of almost importance.
- Begin with the end in mind: Anything is achievable if you have the correct mindset and attitude for it. The journey towards my first half marathon gave me a goal and something to look forward to. Completing the half marathon was a magical feeling for me. It taught me determination and focus. My mindset changed and I wanted to chase this feeling forever. You have to make health and fitness your lifestyle. The way you eat every day, you have to work out every day.
- Enjoy the process : Everything has a learning curve and my fitness journey was no different. I have enjoyed every bit of it. I have made mistakes but in the process, I have gained and learned a lot. Only when you enjoy it, will you be able to do it in the long run.
See you on the other side!