Jamie Klingler is an author, founder of Creative Influence Alliance and The Salon Host’s resident source of personal wellness inspiration who spent all of quarantine quitting booze and getting in shape. Whether you’re looking for a little inspo or a total reality check, Jamie has you covered.
The biggest benefit I found after quitting drinking wasn’t directly related to my clearer head: it was that there was this glimmer of belief in my own willpower. I felt like a super hero. I felt like if I could take on white wine and win, I could literally put my mind to anything else. This phase of quitting substances is often referred to as “the Pink Cloud”. It’s a short-lived period of euphoria and elation that your life is no longer revolving around booze. Instead of waiting for that delirious energy to pass, I decided to use it.
I decided to take on the Couch to 5K. I hadn’t so much as run for a bus for ten years and I was 229 pounds. I was clinically obese, but still. I laced up my trainers. The first day, I brought my elderly Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to the graveyard. I downloaded the BBC app where you pick a coach to guide you through the sessions. The first session is 60 seconds of running followed by 90 seconds of walking about 6 times, and I was huffing and puffing. I dropped my phone and the dog was sitting in the middle of the tiny graveyard confused and trying to figure out what the hell I was doing. I did not finish the session. I found my phone in the bushes and stumbled home, embarrassed and disappointed in myself.
But the next day, I tried it again. I left my dog at home, I wore something with zippered pockets so I would not drop my phone again and I finished that first session. And then I tried the next one. And the next. That first day was the only session I quit. That was the only time I went home prior to hearing Sarah Millican telling me “You did it!” I ran every other day for nine weeks until I finished the program. Rain or shine. Five weeks in, I braved Runner’s World and the treadmill of shame to get proper running trainers. I read Alex Hemminsley’s Run Like a Girl. I beat the fear, which was a much bigger slope than completing the Couch to 5K.
If you’ve not been a fat woman, I can’t begin to tell you about the intimidation of going into a specialty running store for trainers. Being asked to run on a treadmill in front of a man so he can watch your gait from behind. It was one of the scariest mornings I have ever faced; but it was worth it and my super hero cape was attached to my neck— a little faded, a little worn out, but still hanging on.
The day of the treadmill test, I also joined Noom. For those that haven’t been served a million ads on Instagram and Facebook, Noom is a cognitive behavioral therapy-based weight loss program. At the time I was thinking about it, a very close and well meaning friend thought I was putting too much strain on my Pink Cloud. That I didn’t need to compound my sobriety with a fitness kick AND with dealing with my weight. But my super hero cape was telling me otherwise. My super hero cape was telling me that if I was strong enough to kick the booze and strong enough to enter Runner’s World and run on a treadmill in front of a stranger, I was strong enough to face my weight head on. I was strong enough to commit to myself.
I wrote on a white board in my flat my weight goal. 160 pounds- which was 69 pounds less than the 229 I currently weighed in at. I wrote to myself: You are no longer the fat girl. Own your fitness. Own your weight. Own it.
And you know what? I did it. Every day I saw that sign. Every day I logged into Noom. Almost every day I ran. I am now writing this a year after I quit drinking. I still live in that Pink Cloud. I not only hot my weight target, I lowered it. In six months, I lost 70 pounds. I am not overweight for the first time in my life as an adult. I am a non-drinker. I am a runner. That super hero cape is permanently imprinted on my brain. And it all started with that first bit of confidence and belief in myself.
No matter what your mountains look like, whether they are exercise or weight or substance based. The only way to tackle and dismantle them is by starting the process. Take that first step. Set the goal. Write it somewhere. Be accountable for it. Own it.