For those of you who are embarking on a new, healthy beginning, be it getting (or finally using) a gym membership, starting to run or eating better, consider this…
All new beginnings start with a spark. For example, polishing off a bag of mini Milky Ways always generates a decent spark. With the pile of shiny wrappers on your couch all around you, you think, OMG (pronounced in full), I must change my ways!
That? That’s a tiny spark. It will happen every time you eat a bag. But this spark is too tiny by itself to ever make you quit.
Get out the flint
Still these little sparks are useful. Pay attention to them each time they come. Seething over an empty, crumb-rattling box of cookies left in the cupboard as a decoy? Spark. Buying a new pair of jeans because the elasticity has clearly gone out of the denim? Spark. Bending over to put on your (new) jeans and glancing in the bedroom mirror just as your belly folds in half. And then in half again? Spark (explosion).
These sparks are part of the process: Once you start sparking like this, you are just a few hundred Oreos away from changing. The slow burn is underway!
The flint will finally come with an ordinary little spark, like when your thighs chafe on the treadmill and catch fire.
About this time, you get a little sparky yourself. You feel a steely (flint-like) resolve. For starters, you buy a workout getup. A glorious byproduct of change is the new outfit you need. Relish it. Buy a tank top that shows the roll now but will show the biceps later. Buy the neon pink shoes that will blind the cashier. Buy a new pair of shorts and plan to donate them to Goodwill 10 lbs. from now. Feel benevolent. Spark, spark, spark.
Next, re-appear at the gym, sweaty off the treadmill and carrying a water bottle in the locker room. A long-forgotten gym friend (still toned) will do a double take. You manage a small wave, your arm limp from 10 pushups (8 of which you barely bent your elbows at all). Your hand almost clears your shoulder, but you’re happy. You’re feeling skinny as a rail after one workout. Spark, spark, spark.
Fan the flames
Best to call in reinforcement at this point. An accomplice beside you is the best spark in the world.
Kandy’s long-time secret flint is her private blog with a friend. Completely private and brutally honest. They post daily in times of need. (For example, when entire bags of Reese’s Pieces are being consumed in a single sitting. No, no. The big bags. The ones that stand up by themselves. Seven servings? We don’t think so.) They log in and list their meals and exercise for the day. It’s a wonderful shaming process made bearable by a lot of bravado, venting and careful crafting of one-liners.
But they both live in mind-numbing fear of the day they accidentally click some button where they make their blog public and the entire world reads their true weight or, worse, their number of threats leveled at Pizza Hut.
Kerry’s secret: Her number one reason for getting a new puppy was to get back to running. She spent years chasing her other dog, Jack; time to re-up! Nothing distracts you more from being a sweaty mess than a cute sidekick named Bobby to steal the show. And, well, if the puppy MUST take a break along the route to investigate a squirrel up a tree, that tree is pretty good for leaning against too. Spark, spark, bark.
As the New Year begins, we wish you all a new beginning with plenty of spark! And, don’t forget, we are launching the Jane 2014 program this issue. If you are ready to apply and put on your “awesome pants,” see page 24 of our Jan.Feb issue or our website at www.grandtraversewoman.com. (There. Was that a spark you felt? Do it!)