Getting Humbled

–The Iron Sheik, Twitter (@the_ironsheik)

Over the weekend, I took my son south to visit my mother and my grandmother – grandma’s in a nursing home, and the facility was having a Grandmother’s Day lunch. Not that I need an excuse to go visit, mind. But it was something special for her and we wanted to be there. In total, it was me and my son, my mom and my grandma, two of my aunts, and two of my uncles. A good time was had by all – even my four year old, who was extremely well behaved for two of the two and a half hours we were there (and then was an energetic four year old for the last half hour).

“Well, that sure sounds nice,” you’re probably saying right now. “But… what the heck does this have to do with exercise and weight loss and the whole point of this blog I’m reading?” And that’s a fair question, deserving a fair answer.

One of my two uncles, see, has a FitBit. I’ll talk more about the device itself in some future Thursday article, but for now it’s important to know that it has a competitive feature: if you’ve friended someone, you can challenge them to different exercise contests. My wife and I have been using those contests as a way to stay motivated about walking, and I had a thought. And that thought was “well, this uncle of mine walks a lot. And I respond well to competition. If I add him to the challenge, it’ll push me to walk more.”

Ladies and gentlemen, my uncle is almost 65. I’m not.  And one day into the “Workweek Hustle” challenge, he is *humbling* me. So far, I’ve managed 11,828 steps in the contest (somewhere between five and six miles). He, in the same amout of time, has walked 22,905. So clearly, kudos to my uncle. That’s something like eleven or twelve miles.

A fair question at this point is whether or not I feel discouraged. After all, I’m not so much losing to my uncle as I’m getting beaten like a drum by my uncle. And the answer is, no. I’m not discouraged. Because I clearly remember that, when I first got my FitBit a month ago, walking five thousand steps seemed a nearly insurmountable goal. And here I am a month later, routinely walking five miles a day and not feeling like I’ve been exercising if I don’t climb at least 20 flights of stairs. That, ladies and gentlemen, is progress.

And making progress is, by definition, the polar opposite of discouragement. And now, beating him is the next milestone in that progress. Because I really hate losing.


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