5:45am *alarm rings*
Me: I need to go for a run.
Husband: Sounds good.
Me: I’m not going to do it.
Husband: Why not?
Me: I’m done. 70 days is enough.
Husband: If you don’t want to run, go and do something else. You’re not quitting now.
Me: *stares aggressively at sports bra*
Husband: Just go and get it done. You’ll be glad when you’ve done it.
71 days ago this conversation would not have taken place. It might have begun in the same way – I might have set an alarm and declared that first thing, early in the morning, I’d be leaping out of bed and racing downstairs to exercise. Both my husband and I would have known it wasn’t really going to happen. He would have humoured me the night before but not have been surprised when I’d turned the alarm off and snuggled back down for a bit longer.
It turns out it’s not just me who’s been affected by this 0 to 100 days of exercise challenge. Whilst I haven’t inspired my husband to start exercising, I have changed his perception of my focus and determination to exercise. He knows how important this challenge is to me and this morning he knew what I needed to hear to get up and get moving. His belief that I can complete the next 29 days is absolute – handy to fall back on when my self-belief falters.
Our son has been affected too. The first time he saw me exercising (Day 1 of this challenge) he was very distressed. He shouted and cried for me to stop – I think mostly because his mummy was doing something that he didn’t recognise and which didn’t involve him. He was absolutely fine and playing happily with his grandparents at the time but seeing me in the garden doing star jumps tipped him into the land of toddler breakdown. I carried on exercising because I knew he was safe and loved and absolutely fine but it took a lot not to quit right there and then and just run to him to tell him it was okay – mummy was just being silly and it’s all done now.
Children adapt remarkably fast to new things with the right support and consistent reassurance. He didn’t like it when I went for my first run either and stood at the door crying and asking me not to go whilst I put on my trainers. In my head I kept up the mantra, “I’m doing it for them. I’m doing it to be a stronger, happier, healthier mum for them.” And my husband had my back – he pushed me out of the door that day because he knew I didn’t want to leave our son distressed and then, once I’d gone, he repeated our explanation: mummy is going to do her exercise and then she’s coming back. She’s exercising so she can have more energy to play with you.
This morning our son waved at me happily whilst I finished an exercise DVD and after breakfast he role played his own exercise. He put on my trainers and said, “I’m going for my run now.” Then he told me which number on the clock he’d be back by. I asked him why he was going for a run and he said, “to make me strong and get more energy.” His understanding of why I am exercising revolves around him – as all things do when you are 3 – I am exercising so I can have more energy to play with him. It’s not an incorrect view. One of the lovely things to come out of the last 71 days is seeing how positively he talks about being healthy and strong and having energy for fun things. And although I spoke positivitely about such things, I can’t say my behaviour before this challenge demonstrated these values in a way which mirrored my words.
Our daughter, almost 6 months old now, will hopefully never know anything other than a mum who values being healthy and exercising regularly and that is something I never imagined for her when she was born. So yes, this morning – briefly – I wanted to quit. Even now, after 70 days of exercising daily, I have moments where I long for the old ways of lazy living. But then I look at my family. I’m doing this for me and I’m doing this for them and they will always be more than worth getting out of bed for.