More healthy 2021: Mark celebrates small victories

This post appears as part of our Healthier 2021 series, following three WebMD team members as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their travels here.

By Mark Spoor

As I got a little older, I learned that I really have to allow myself to enjoy the little successes in life when they come. Life is difficult, maybe now more than ever. Anything I can do to keep my mind and space positive not only improves my life, but also the lives of those who are close to me.

Fortunately, I was able to celebrate a few wins this week.

I took a full yoga class and survived it. When I first returned to yoga a few weeks ago, the only way I felt comfortable taking small 5 minute workshops that focused on one pose. It was like dipping my toe in the Yoga River. I got brave on Sunday and tried a 20 minute beginner flow course.

How was it? Let’s just say my “flow” was more like driving through a subdivision with around 9,000 speed limits.

There were some strange movements that made me a little bit of trouble, so I kept looking at my screen trying to figure out what the hell to do. (A metaphor for a fitness trip, don’t you think?) But I felt some of what the instructor said I should feel, and I got through without harming myself.

In fact, a lot felt pretty good.

I got my diet back in line. Like my blogger Bill from Healthier 2021, I like food a lot. Sometimes in my attempts to get healthier, I justify bad food by saying, “I deserve it. I exercise so I can eat this way.”

Like Bill, I’m a pretty social guy. So I’ll use almost every opportunity to gather around a plate with people. When this happens, the choices I make are usually not ideal. I don’t order quadruple cheeseburgers or take on 10 pound eating challenges (OK, there was once …) but I like the occasional chicken wings or sky-high sandwich, and when the people I’m with have dessert, I’m usually not okay just sipping coffee.

After a week or two of allowing myself to be a little more relaxed about my food, I got things back in line. More fruit, more vegetables, more protein, less sugar. Can i go on like this In truth, this is always the biggest battle of my fitness trips. I am really having trouble building a diet full of habits that I can stick to for a lifetime as opposed to ones that I can stick to here or there for a few months.

For now, however, things are good.

I’ve made drinking water a priority. I was inspired by my fellow Healthier 2021 blogger, Laura, when she recently wrote about using a really cool looking bottle to encourage yourself to fetch more water. I’ve tried to drink more water many times, but if I’m honest these attempts have been half-hearted at best. I mean honestly, how much good can an extra glass of water do here or there?

This time, at least for the time being, I’m fully involved. I bought a water bottle that some might mistake for a small (128 ounce) swimming pool, and I’m actually close to finishing it a few times.

The biggest challenge? The 37 trips to the bathroom before lunch.

But so far, so good.

I have attended 50 cycling courses. I moved from beginner classes to advanced beginner classes this week to classes that are not beginners at all.

Here I really feel a difference on this trip. I sweat a lot, I feel great when I’m done, and I actually start to know what I’m doing on the bike. I mean, I’m not ready for the Tour de France or anything, but while the wheels of my bike aren’t going forward, I’m pretty sure I am.

What are you celebrating this week?

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