Oliver: Fitness resolution survives despite setbacks

Change is hard.

What was it that Newton said? Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.

The law of inertia applies to physics, but it also applies to getting out of one’s comfortable ruts.

Or, in my case, off the couch.

In January, I wrote about my goal of getting onto the treadmill again and bringing down my body mass index, which was just a hair over 25. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight; anything over 30 is obese.

Life, however, got in the way of my grand fitness plans.

Not long after I wrote that column, I found myself at the doctor’s office with chest pressure. A battery of tests found nothing dire, but it did get my attention.

Then I got sick.

I battle year-round allergies and am prone to sinus infections. In recent years, those infections often have required multiple rounds of antibiotics.

It wasn’t until late February that my allergist put everything together and determined that I had a type of acid reflux disease. Believe it or not, it actually had something to do with the frequency of my sinus infections.

So that meant a bunch of dietary changes, including cutting back on my beloved coffee. It also meant avoiding chocolate, mints, dairy, anything spicy, anything acidic, and the list went on and on.

Sure, I pouted for a while. Who wouldn’t?

But after spending months every year feeling miserable and not being able to breathe, I was willing to give this a try. What did I have to lose?

Desperation was just the motivation I needed to overcome my inertia. It was, as they say in physics, the “unbalanced force” that got me moving.

Getting the hang of the new diet was frustrating at times. It still is, particularly when I eat out.

But as the weeks went on, I started to breathe easier and sleep better. That was enough to keep me going.

Then, at the end of May, I finally did get on that treadmill.

Again, it wasn’t easy to figure out a good time to exercise. And did you know that you can get swimmer’s ear from earbuds? Ouch.

Despite not being a morning person, I found that getting up a little earlier allowed enough time to walk a couple of miles each day before work.

It’s December now, and I’m still at it. By allowing myself a couple of days off a week, the routine is reasonable and I’m less prone to wimp out and sleep in.

The best part of all of this change is that I do feel a lot better.

Oh, and that BMI issue that started everything? I’ve got it down to 20.6.

Only time will tell if all of this change will last.

But I’ve taken a few thousand steps in the right direction.

• Joan Oliver is the assistant news editor for the Northwest Herald. She can be reached at 815-526-4552 or by email at

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