What Keeps You Going?

Get fit! Stay active! Eat right! Meditate! Floss!

Magazines covers, talk show hosts, news reporters, fitness experts, TV and radio airwaves, even articles posted on social media all are screaming at you to eat better and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Current reports inform us we should exercise five days a week for at least 30 minutes each day, and should drink eight glasses of water per day. Our plates should look like a veritable rainbow of colors. We should eat three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit daily. We’ve heard the best diets are low in carbs and high in protein, and we should consume more veggies and less meat. Then there are the other things to understand and consider. Terms like metabolism, BMI, glycemic index, gluten, and veganism, to name just a few.

So you purchase a juicer or a blender-bullet contraption. You locate a bag of chia seeds in the market, and purchase few cans of coconut water for good measure. You even learn how to pronounce, “quinoa.” And on the floor of your closet is a bag containing cute workout gear and some overpriced yoga pants you picked up during your last weekly trip to big box store… Now what?

Now. How do you get, no, how do you stay motivated to work out and eat right when every excuse is lined up in a row, sitting between you and your front door? You know the ones: “I don’t have time.” “I get home from work too late.” “The gym is too far away.” “I’ll sweat out my hair.” “The kids… my husband __(fill in the blank)___.“ “I chipped a nail…”

Well, I will tell you how I manage to exercise and eat right at those times when I don’t really want to. What gets me up on a cold rainy morning to attend classes at my local YMCA? What fortifies my stride to walk past the bakery section and ignore the sticky buns in the super market? What makes me eat kale? What keeps a bag of almonds in my purse instead of a candy bar? What keeps me going?

That dress that no longer zips up all the way…. those jeans that get rather uncomfortable about an hour after I put them on (Oh yeah, that’s assuming I can get them on at all), and the fact that I refused to buy my clothes in the next size up…
That’s what keeps me going.

The nightstand that currently doesn’t display an array of medicines that must be taken daily, even though I know I’m beating the odds because heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes run rampant on both sides of my family…
That’s what keeps me going.

I hit the half-century mark last year. On average, I’ve lost around two friends to health-related issues annually. They did not make it to the half-century mark. That’s what keeps me going.

In early August, a great-great-grandmother from New York City set a track record at the Gay Games 9 in Akron, Ohio. Ida Keeling, at 4-feet-6 and 83 pounds, without a doubt, was the smallest athlete in her chosen race, the 100 meters. She also was the slowest (finishing with a time of 59.8 seconds — considering that world champions average about 10 seconds for the same distance.)

But consider another number — the one that gives me pause and causes me to bow down in reverence. Ida Keeling is 99 years old.
When asked what motivates her, “I’m running from old age and arthritis,” she responded, “Believe me!”

She credits her health and longevity to exercise and eating right.

Ah… there it is again: “exercise” and “eating right.” And she’s not screaming it at you either. She just placed it before you gently, and slowly ran down the track…

Life is about choices. I choose life — a long and healthy one.
That’s what keeps me going.