The old egg timer trick (The Diet, Day 21)

I spent an hour on the treadmill today. That may not be shocking to most people in the world, but at this point in my life, it’s pretty shocking to me. I’m not in any real shape to do an hour on the treadmill. I knew that when I started out. I wanted, however, to do something that would seem significant to me today as a kind of compensation for overdoing the eating a little yesterday. The treadmill it was.

But you can’t just hop up and do an hour of exercise that you aren’t in shape for just because you decide you’re going to. A few weeks ago, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it at all, truth be told, but thanks to my morning walks with Patricia of Next Door, I at least had the gumption to try.

Still, I knew I couldn’t do an hour all at once, so I tried the old egg timer trick on myself. I set the timer for one hour. I told myself that if I had to get on the treadmill twenty times in one day, I was going to run that timer down to zero.

This was inspired by the book Born to Run in which a man who isn’t really in shape to run an ultra-marathon does it by stopping and starting a lot. He takes breaks. He sits down to rest. He hydrates. He eats protein bars or what have you, and he just keeps getting up again.

That’s what I decided to do for the much, much more modest goal of completing one hour on the treadmill in one day.

In the end it took me four attempts. My longest stretch was twenty minutes. My shortest was ten. Even ten minutes counts, though. It helped me run that timer down to zero.

I’m not sure yet what realistic exercise goals are for me. I know I don’t have time for daily treadmill time along with morning walks and Wii time (both more enjoyable than the treadmill), but I feel good. I feel like I kicked up an endorphin or two.

Could I add a full hour of treadmill time two days a week?

Maybe, though you won’t hear any promises here today. Baby steps. The road to self-improvement, they say, is tread through baby steps.

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