This post appears as part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three WebMD team members as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their journeys here.
By Mark Spoor
My fitness journey has taken a different tone in the past few days. I've been a bit more emotional than normal.
Earlier in the week, wanting to shake things up a bit, I tried a bike class with a different instructor. She's one that Dr. Bruni, the WebMD doctor advising me during this journey, recommended. Her name is Christine D'Ercole.
Don't worry. This won't be a Peloton ad. Stick with me.
I was sweating through the ride, as usual, and the Alicia Keys song "Good Job" came on. Christine talked about how she picked this song because it reminded her of a recent time where someone gave her a pickup at the exact time she needed it. Then she began to tear up in the middle of the ride.
I did, too. And as I was pedaling with two types of water running down my face, I wondered why.
If you've read my other blogs -- or if you know me -- you know that my default position is to look for the joke, especially in situations that are out of my comfort zone. When I find the joke, it's usually at my own expense.
I've joked so much during this blog series that I've had people tell me that it seems like my fitness journey has been easy for me.
Trust me, my friends. It hasn't.
I got on the scale recently and found my weight exactly where it was the last time I got on a week or so before. Granted, other numbers say I'm gaining muscle, and physically I still feel really good. Still, it's disheartening to do all the work and not see it reflected in the way I was hoping. Worse yet, in my often-overactive brain, I instantly went to the question of where I might have failed.
What did I eat that I shouldn't have?
Where did I slack off in my workouts?
The truth is that for each minute of joy and accomplishment on this journey, for me, there's probably 10 or 20 seconds of worry and doubt.
Am I doing enough?
Have I lost enough weight?
What if I fall off-track?
Is all of this making any difference at all?
Which brings me to that reaction I had on the bike. It was all about the next sentence that the instructor said: “If you're on this ride, you're doing a good job, too.”
I needed to hear that (as evidenced by my reaction).
Sure, it's hard. Almost anything worthwhile is. Could I do better? Probably. But I'm on the ride. The goals are still within reach, and no matter what the scale says, my body tells me that I'm gaining on them.
Most importantly, I've got support coming from so many places that I can't fail.
And whether you know it or not, so do you.
Mark Spoor is a senior health editor with WebMD. He spent more than 2 decades in sports media, working with groups like the NCAA, NASCAR, and the PGA TOUR. Most weekends, you can find him and his wife, Chris, cheering on their daughter's softball team.
While Mark has spent a lot of time with athletes, he's not one, so fitness has always been a bit of a challenge. He hopes this endeavor will help him get a little closer to winning that battle.
You can follow Mark on Twitter @markspoor.