by Motivational Speaker Connie Podesta
Before we go any further, let me just say this: I hate to exercise. I love dessert. And I am just a teeny bit proud of my type A, always-on, overachiever, tad-compulsive personality. So how did someone like me end up at Hilton Head Health for seven days where exercise is the agenda for the day, daily meals and snacks total 1200 calories, and s l o w i n g down and focusing on the moment is the name of the game? This is definitely NOT a place where you would usually find me hanging out. But…I also can no longer avoid the pull of gravity on my body or the toll that constant stress takes upon my mind or the certainty that the quality of my physical well being plays a tremendous part upon my mental and emotional well being.
Plus…CHANGE is all about being open to the idea that some of our old ideas, habits, behaviors, and attitudes could use a serious tune-up. Now, I will be the first to admit that I have some pretty old habits and ideas that could use a little re-work, re-adjustment, and re-evaluation–especially when it comes to eating better, exercising more, taking long, deep breaths and bringing the intensity in my life down a notch (or two or twenty). But I didn’t give in to new ways without a struggle. Here is my week in a nutshell.
Day 1: My connecting flight was three hours late, I missed orientation, got to dinner in the middle of the meal, ate fast, talked fast, met twenty people, grabbed every research article available so I could educate myself on health, asked tons of questions, got a shuttle ride back to my condo and stayed up late answering emails. (Phew!)
Day 2: Got up at 6:30, walked a mile to the facility (very fast) griping to myself that it was pretty cold to be walking anywhere, signed up for every exercise class I could, met ten more people, heard their stories, told them mine, snuck out to answer more emails, made a conference call, took a two-mile bike ride quickly so I could get back for dinner, checked in with three members of my family to make sure they didn’t need my help in any way and answered ten emails before bed.
Day 3: Rode my bike to the facility, smelled the pine trees, heard the birds, felt the ocean air, rode slower and longer than I had planned, didn’t talk to as many people, concentrated on the classes, realized how amazingly awesome the food tasted, took a swim by myself, almost forgot to look at my emails, started reading a book left in the condo, and forgot to turn on the TV!
Day 4: Rode my bike past the facility to the ocean. Saw the sunrise, sat down and did nothing for 30 minutes, rode back, took a dance class, a yoga class, met a woman I really liked and we took a long walk, forgot to bring my cell phone—OH WELL! Read my book by the pool before exercise class, ate an apple, forwarded my emails to the office, and was in bed by 9 with the windows open!
Day 5: Rode my bike four miles to the beach and back, watched some kids play in the sand, left my cell phone at the condo on purpose, stuck the book I was reading in my backpack to read later during the afternoon break, went kayaking which I had never done, didn’t think about how much I missed Starbucks for the first time all week, met my new friend again for another long walk, texted my husband right before bed that I loved him.
Day 6: Walked, rode bikes (5 miles–that’s a first), took an exercise class where we sang old songs, laughed and danced our way through an amazing 60 minutes, made a toast with herbal iced tea to a woman at lunch who had lost 80 pounds, read, smiled, stretched, and realized I had NO IDEA where my cell phone even was!
Day 7: I said good bye. Found my phone, packed my bags, hugged a few new friends, grabbed the packed healthy lunch they had made me for the airplane ride and came home.
What was the most important lesson I learned? That in all my frantic working, rushing around, taking care of everyone and everything–that I often forget to just STOP and do something JUST FOR ME. So…yesterday I bought myself a bike. With a silver and black racing striped helmet and gloves. And my one promise is this–I will NOT take my cell phone when I ride. That is going to be time just for me.
I am sitting here at the computer feeling stronger, healthier, more alert, and more relaxed than I can remember feeling in a long time. And I like the feeling–a lot!
Now here’s a question for YOU! Is there something in your life that YOU LOVE doing that you haven’t done in a long time and that needs to change? Click on the title above to leave a comment — I really want to know! Come on – Don’t let me have ALL the fun!