So here it is. 49. How the hell did that happen?! No, seriously, how the hell did that happen?! Last I remember I was 38 and leaving for cooking school. Determined to become a master chef and feed the world. As I wrote a few months back, “the universe had other plans.” Another rough day.
At 38, I was the healthiest I’d ever been, leaving for cooking school, coming off a few years of healthy eating and consistent exercise. Ah yes, cooking school. Heavy cream, butter, fresh croissants from the bread kitchen and an unending parade of sugary and unctuous deliciousness. That took care of that.
So here I am at 49 and every year for the past 10 years I’ve made a resolution to get healthy, get in shape, and every year I blow it at about day 3. But this year is different. This year is the year before 50 (once again, how the hell did THAT happen?!) and for the first time I’m putting it out there, making myself accountable, rather than just something I scribble on a sticky note, forget, then crumple it up, three-points into the trash.
I’m putting it out there for all to see. Well not all out there, no before pictures in a tube top and dolphin shorts like the exercise infomercials, not a chance in hell. You’d thank me and besides, I’m afraid I’d be kidnaped by carnies for their freak show.
I’m putting THIS out there. My Manifesto. When I turn 50 – in 365 days – I want to be 50 and Fabulous - Fabulously Healthy that is! Not like Carrie Bradshaw’s hungover magazine cover “Forty and Fabulous?” question mark but “Fifty and Fabulous-ly Healthy!” with an exclamation point.
Not shooting for a pound number or a dress size, just health, great overall heath. All the vitals are perfect except weight and exercise. Yes, THOSE! Those are the tough ones. Exercise more, eat healthy, eat less. Sounds easy enough, right? Au contraire, mon frère. Hard as freaking hell. At least for me. The hardest thing ever. I love food, LOVE IT! Love making it, love eating it. I think about it all the time. And when I get hungry or tired or stressed, watch out, stand back. It takes an act of God to stop me from inhaling half my fridge. Fortunately right now half my fridge is filled with wine and champagne but I digress... Another speed bump for is that the thought of getting on my treadmill is as appealing as a colonoscopy. Ironically, just like a colonoscopy, I always feel so much better after, but that memory isn't nearly strong enough to break through the resistance.
It’s not so much about fitting into the skinny jeans from 1997, it’s more about having energy, about being able to do the things I want to do. To ski again without getting winded two turns off the chair lift, crossing my legs without kicking the person in front of me (!!!), going to the beach without being mortified in my bathing suit, hiking up Mount Kuchumaa at Ranch la Puerta (the hike UP the mountain not the rolling hills garden hike), or just walking up Bernal Hill without my lungs exploding from my chest à la Alien. Overall HEALTH! Fabulously healthy! By 50. That’s what I want and that’s my goal.
I was at Stanford for my wrist last week and it scared the crap out of me, seeing people not much older in wheelchairs or walkers or braces or a variety of other contraptions to help them walk or breathe or sit or just get through the day. I don’t want that for me. It looks like death. And I want life.
So here it is... 365 Days to Health with 365 Days of Health! What does that look like? Not a freaking clue. I know what it doesn’t look like. It doesn’t look like this:
It doesn’t look like swinging through Jack in the Box for a breakfast burrito because I am running late. It doesn’t look like not getting enough sleep because I had to get through just a few more emails. It doesn’t look like eating a pint of Three Twins chocolate peanut butter ice cream because I’m stressed out about something trivial, which feels monumental at that moment. It doesn’t look like doing a face plant in a trough of garlic fries at AT&T Park. It doesn't look like sitting at my desk for 12 hour stretches of marathon emails. It doesn’t look like gnawing on a loaf of Acme bread justifying it with “One bite won’t hurt”. And it doesn’t look like blowing off exercise with “I’ll start tomorrow” or “One day won’t matter”.
As of today, EVERY DAY MATTERS! Every fucking day matters! There aren’t that many days left and they catapult by at increasingly startling speeds. So beginning today, I am committing to 365 Days of Health. I am committing to eating healthy and doing some, any, form of exercise, getting out there and moving. No more walking by my treadmill and ignoring it. No more driving by Bernal Hill without walking up Bernal Hill. Eating healthy and moving. Every day. For 365 days.
I’m sure I will fall off the rails and indulge in above mentioned garlic fries – my kryptonite – like Alfred Molina in Cocolat or drink more wine than is recommended citing the “Mediterranean Diet”. I’m sure I will miss days of exercise blaming jetlag or work deadlines. Regardless of the inevitable stumbles, I am committing to 365 Days of Health – of eating healthy and some form of exercise every day. Getting sleep and oh – reading! I haven’t read anything but cookbooks and white papers in a very long time. It’s time to read beautiful prose from the brilliant minds of Wendell Berry and David McCullough.
My posts will be riddled with profanity-laden rants, no doubt, but I hope they are also popping with encouraging, motivating achievements – large and small. A friend says, “celebrate the wins, no matter the size”. Mine will most certainly be small. My confidence is wavering at the moment as I try not to get overwhelmed at the daunting challenge ahead so your support and encouragement is critical to staying the course. I sure as hell can’t do this alone. It does take a village … and a boat load of Facebook friends. LIKE! :) ha!
I’ll post my accomplishments and failures (that accountability thing) and all the healthy meals I’ve conjured up and fun exercises (is there such a thing?) along the way. I’ll wear my Fitbit ;) I’m redesigning my website to highlight more recipes and will be doing some short cooking videos soon to help make this crazy journey more fun. So stay tuned, grab your whisks, tie on your aprons! Please cheer me on for the small wins as well as kick me in the pitoot when old, lazy habits creep in.
On that note, on this beautiful, blue-sky morning in San Francisco, August 8, 2103 – Day 1 of 365 Days of Health – as soon as I finish this cup of French press Ritual coffee and the IV of caffeine starts coursing through my veins, I will walk to, and maybe up, Bernal Hill. For how long and how far I have no idea but at least I’ll be walking ... uphill. After that I’ll whip up an egg scramble with sautéed green beans and herbs from the garden. Maybe a tomato will be ripe :)
Wish me luck, God knows I’ll need it ... along with love, friendship and much divine intervention from above!