I have been overweight for the majority of my life. I hated exercise because it was boring. I didn’t want to eat well because food that is good for you doesn’t necessarily taste good. Everywhere I went, skinny was flaunted and I began to resent the need to lose weight. So instead of having the desired effect, encouragement to lose weight left me all the more determined to keep living the way I was. I was stubborn.
It all changed when I realized that I could make fitness interesting and desirably by using my imagination.
Okay, obviously it wasn’t that simple. A series of events in my life changed my perspective about me and the world around me, and as a by-product my imagination was rekindled. For a long time I had stopped writing, stopped reading, and stopped indulging my creative side. The moment I stopped suppressing it, suddenly living better became easier.
Television, books, movies, and fiction in general are what made this change so prominent in my life. My interest in the world of “Geek” drove me to want to better myself and the best part about it was that I felt empowered to do it for myself instead of the people around me. My imagination allowed me to see the person I wanted to be and with this stark, beautiful picture in my mind I was able to pursue it with far more ease than ever before.
These days when I go for a run I think about how badly I want to be able to launch myself over a kitchen island like Mads Mikkelsen did in the season premiere of Hannibal. I want to be strong enough to wield a sword like the characters in Game of Thrones. Even though I have no interest in being a spy, I sure would like to fight like Michael Westen does in Burn Notice.
It might be silly, but these characters spark something in my mind and make me want to get up and move.
I get through my runs because I know there is a promised, recorded episode of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon waiting for me to view while I stretch. I eat better because I want to be able to look great in a costume if I end up going to New York Comic Con because I want to dress like John Reese from Person of Interest and that man is fit.
As I run I imagine I’m not pounding the pavement in my neighborhood. Rather, I’m chasing down an unseen enemy in order to save the day. I am running alongside a mystical jackal named Osiris who doesn’t live anywhere except in the depths of my own imagination and together we howl as we own the afternoon. You see, with my imagination fitness isn’t reduced down to putting on shoes and going for a torturous run. It becomes a chance for me to slip out of reality and into a world of my own making.
Maybe it makes me a Geek, but if I’m honest, my imagination and the fiction around me which fills it, gives me the strength, desire, and passion to go out and be a better version of me.
So next time you need some inspiration, watch the opening fight scene from the season premiere of Hannibal and see if that helps.