"85-in-90"

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

The goal was 90 workouts in 90 days. Achieving 85 workouts in 90 days is an acceptable achievement. As a reformed perfectionist who had to always have straight A's, being able to say those words is quite a feat. The thing I did not count on, and feel a bit chagrined at not anticipating, is that this challenge became a window into my soul — an opportunity to take a good hard look at myself and acknowledge that I have some reorganizing to do in my life. The very act of writing these words on paper makes me shudder. I know this work will not be easy.

Pam Hill, one of the women who let me rope her into doing this challenge with me, explained, "I feel I am doing well with this challenge. With my varied schedule and lack of daily routine it is hard to develop a specific time each day to workout. I would much rather have consistent times in doing my workouts, for example in the mornings. However, it is not possible at this time." She reported that in the beginning of this endeavor she felt "frustrated" and now would use the word "refreshed." Pam explained, "My motivation is coming from the renewed energy and refreshed mind set I now have. The workouts actually relax me. It taught me true commitment especially with this being a challenge. I am a competitive person, so the challenge was more than just a work out commitment. I told myself that I am going to do this, do it well and see it through to the end!"

The other brave soul who entered into this challenge is Sue Schepps. Sue reports, "Becoming a 7 day workout guru has not been easy but no one is more surprised then me that I'm hooked! I have MANY friends that will not do anything until their workout is done. I never really understood it, there was always something way more important and I would GET to it later. Now that I've made a promise to a dear friend and myself that there was no going back. It's FUN! Go figure! I remind myself how important it is since I'm not getting any younger (only in spirit!) that it is one of the healthiest activities for my body and mind. It helps me stay on my quest for healthy eating and not reach for the M&Ms but an orange instead."

As with both Pam and me, Sue found that our 90-in-90 has inspired a lot of other people to join in the challenge. Sue noticed that her husband has started working out again too. Sue said, "I'm not talking about it much but he sees me committed to it and has quietly jumped back in." The best part of it all is that neither Sue nor Pam regrets being roped into doing this regime. It has been really good for all three of us, and others as well, to focus on how to work out with a lot more regularity.

The issue that became the most transparent to me about myself is that there is not enough space for me in the world I have built. I realize that my dad dying a few months ago and being the one responsible for my mom and her reorganization is only one of the time challenges in my life. So what would I change in my life? My mind flashes on that movie "Multiplicity" where the guy clones himself in order to handle all of his responsibilities.

Could I clone enough Patty's to do a good job with my private practice, home, wife, mother duties and grand mothering? I think I need one just to do the exercising I truly want to experience every day. That one could go to yoga three days a week, Zumba twice a week, do the treadmill every day and lift weights twice a week. (Dang, that perfectionist gal just crept back in.) I think I want to be the "original" and let the clones do all the "gotta-do's." The original me would get to cook, work in my vegetable garden, play piano and all my flutes. I would have time for long walks and coffee with friends. You might find her sitting on the back porch with a cup of tea just taking in the view. She would be quiet, content and centered. Also, the size of her tushie would be well within the acceptable range.