Darla Henry, M.S., CPT, Baptist Health Weight Loss Program Health Educator
When I was on the cross-country team in college, there was one workout the whole team dreaded – “hill work”. Our coach would find the largest hill in the city (We were convinced it was the largest hill in the world!) and have us trudge up and race down repeatedly. I remember the climb was arduous. I was tempted many times to stop and walk, but my stubborn pride kept my legs moving. My team members who did stop (usually after the fifth or sixth repetition) had a look of defeat on their face. They were disappointed in themselves and, of course, the coach was disappointed too, as evidenced by much yelling.
The hill work wasn’t all treacherous though. The best part of the climb was getting to race back down. The downhill training was just as important as the uphill training to increase our speed and foot strike rate. I remember feeling like I was flying as I willed my legs to go faster and faster to keep up with the decline of the hill. All of the team enjoyed the downhill run and the competitiveness of trying to have the best time on the team. So…why then did we groan in dread the next time (usually several weeks later) the coach mentioned “hill work today”? Did we focus so much on the hill that we forgot the exhilarating run down?
Weight loss can feel like an uphill battle. We trudge through the week eating our healthy food, tempted to stop along the way to end the pain. We dread starting a new diet because we remember the pain of our other attempts. We also may remember the feeling of defeat if we stopped before reaching the top.
Thinking about food in a new way and denying our stubborn will can be painful. After all, it is always painful to do something we do not want to do. But would we really appreciate the exhilaration of racing downhill if we had not first made the uphill climb?
I still run hills today and I still enjoy the downhill race. However, today I appreciate the climb and like to pause at the top to value the accomplishment. If you are ready to start your climb, contact the Baptist Health Weight Loss Program at 202-2001. Remember, it is during the climb up that we get the strongest and then we can run downhill even faster!