The Caboose Report

By Dr. Patricia L. Bay, Psy.D.
Published in W Magazine, March 2010

In January we decided to go for it and challenge ourselves to do 90 workouts in 90 days. Two of my girlfriends, Sue Schepps and Pam Hill, and I put on our determination hats and stepped into the commitment. A workout consists of a minimum of 20 minutes on the treadmill or a brisk walk outside, but will often be much more than a mere 20 minutes. I promised to report back on our progress and if there are any changes in the ol' cabooses.

So far, my caboose is hanging on for dear life. If I were to give my butt a personality, I would say that it is tenacious in holding onto every last fat cell it has and fearful that I might decide to shake it into oblivion with regular exercise. Ms. Tushie, as I will affectionately call that part of my anatomy — you know how men name certain parts, well we women should have our little naming ceremonies, as well — is a persnickety, self-absorbed (should I say absorbing?!) appendage that is the source of much personal woe. The reduction of Ms. Tushie is one of my objectives in pulling off a successful "90-in-90." Somehow I truly believe that Ms. Tushie has gotten wind of this idea and is in an anal retentive mode.

One of the rules is that if you miss a work-out you have to do double duty at some point to make it up. In the time since we started, I personally have had to do this little make-up session twice. Life is hectic with a private practice, family, my father recently dying and my mother in transition. It takes attention to my personal needs to fit in time to exercise as a priority, not an "if I can squeeze it in today" sort-of endeavor. So far, I have had to stay focused on me being a priority every day for at least 20 minutes. One would think that this should not be particularly hard. I have been more astounded than thought I would be to find out that it is taking quite a bit of effort.

Pam Hill told me that she is doing well. She stated, "First off, my schedule is different everyday and my discipline is not there, yet, so exercise times vary. I am however doing different things, such as the elliptical if it is too rainy and cold. If the weather is pleasant, I do my walk/run. If I were to give one word describing this challenge so far, I would say, "frustrating!" With my varied schedule and lack of routine it is hard to develop a regular schedule every day of the week, but I'm doing it."

Sue Schepps is sticking to the program with only two days missed. Sue stated, "After the first few days, my tushie felt things it hadn't felt in years. Now it is, thankfully, getting used to all the extra attention. In short, I can stand up again." Sue and I commiserated on how important it is to "get it out of the way" first thing in the morning or the pressure is on to find time for exercise later in the day. We laughed about coming home dog tired at the end of the day and still jumping on the treadmill to "do it" because of our commitment.

At this juncture in the adventure I can definitely say that this is going to be a window into my exercise soul. I will have to continue to find the time to focus on myself every single day for another couple of months. My determination is high. My positive attitude is in place. My commitment to avoid public embarrassment is definitely a strong motivator. Look for further reports on our progress.