This is the third chapter in the Evolution series that documents how I’ve lost 40 pounds so far in the last year and my continuing fitness adventure. Where are we in the story so far? Well, I know I need to get in shape. I’ve made a commitment to myself to eat better. I accept that I need to move more…

Then I sat and thought….for a long time.

In 2009 my family bought me a fantastic mountain bike for my 39th birthday.  I
had been telling my wife that I was kicking around riding to get in shape. I’d rented a bike a couple of times and enjoyed it. So being an amazing lady well out in front of me, she called my bluff and bought me a bike.

Before starting 40×40 I rode it a couple of times as time allowed and enjoyed it, but I hadn’t gotten hooked. I still wasn’t making the time for extended or regularly scheduled rides. So I thought “OK, let’s start there.” Let’s get serious about biking. At least once a week. Just get in motion. Just DO something. We’ll talk another time about what the bike means to me then and now.

But I knew that wouldn’t be enough. It was too easy to blow off the bike. It was raining. I needed to make time to load it up to get to a park to ride. It was just too easy to avoid.

I needed more. I needed a trainer, a guide. But there was no way in hell in April of 2010, I was going to shell out money for a gym that I knew at my core I wouldn’t use. It was a guaranteed failure. Spend hundreds of dollars, avoid the gym, allow the guilt to build to a breaking point and then quit before I ever got started. I wasn’t going there. So I turned to two things — Wii Fit and my brother.

Now don’t laugh about the Wii Fit. It gave me exactly what I needed at the time.  Wii Fit was a hugely useful tool. It eliminated all the barriers and took away all the excuses. Let’s take a look at the most common:

Someone to Answer To – I had accountability that I couldn’t fake/fudge. I was either going to make progress or not. The computer wasn’t going to fake facts
for me each time I stepped on the scale.

Scalable – It had been years since I tried any semblance of organized exercise. I had no idea what I was or wasn’t capable of, but I was sure I didn’t want to start throwing weights around. If I couldn’t lift and hold my own kids, I was pretty sure weight training would shatter my confidence. I know my own pride well enough to realize that back when I was in the service, I had hit some better than average fitness goals. I was never going to be a Ranger or an elite fighting machine, but I was capable. Starting with weights at this stage and realizing just how far I had devolved would have pissed me off to the point of quitting. The Wii Fit put me in motion and allowed me to progress at my own pace.

Variety – With the dozens of exercises and games on the Wii Fit, trying to say, “I’m bored with this” would have been an obvious bullshit excuse, so that was out the window.

Time – The Wii Fit took away the perennial “I don’t have time” excuse. It was right there on the floor of my living room. Ready to go, as late or early as I wanted to. No driving to the gym. No working it into the schedule. 20 minutes in the morning, or at lunch because I work from home, or at the end of the day before bed, whatever. I just couldn’t look at myself anymore and say, “there’s no time for exercise.”

PRIVACY – No matter what anyone says we all have pride and mine was preventing me from going out and exposing this mass that I’d become to evaluation and criticism. I didn’t want anyone seeing me slog away on an  elliptical, or doing the Clydesdale Clop down the side of a local road. It was another excuse but it was real. With the Wii no one saw me work.

Finally, I needed some human interaction so I turned to my brother. His guidance, direction and encouragement deserve a chapter all their own. We’ll pick the story up there, next time.


Previous Chapters in the Evolution Series:

Chapter 1: The Motivation for Motion

Chapter 2: The Plan, Part I Eat Less