I’m a volunteer in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. We patrol Lake Norman to encourage boater safety. We also wear the uniform.

I delayed purchasing the uniform while I tried to lose weight. The loss was minimal. I finally broke down and ordered it.

Everything fit fine except the belt. It was the exact circumference as my waist. I had to order the extra large belt.

While waiting for it to arrive, I decided to work on my waist. The last time I was at the gym was March 2020. This was 14 months later. While I enjoyed sleeping in instead of going to the gym, I was out of shape. I ignored that fact and decided to hit it hard.

I started with push-ups and sit-ups. OK, I cheated on the push-ups. I was on my knees doing push-ups. It was still hard, but I did two sets of 10. I was going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in two weeks.

After that, I laid on my back and started to do a sit-up. Forget cheating, I barely got one-fourth of the way up there. It was more of a gut crunch than a sit-up. But I did something, so I was pleased.

The next morning, I did a rotation of 10 push-ups and then 10 sit-ups. But I would not go part of the way up with the sit-ups. I would go all the way. I used my arms to get momentum and managed to squeak out two sets of 10 sit-ups.

Day three I would not be deterred. Again, I did a rotation of 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups. This day I would do the sit-ups correctly. I was going to be buff.

Day four did not go the way I expected. Same rotation of 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups. The latter would be done correctly. There would be no arms to gain momentum. But as I went to do sit-ups, my gut said, “Not today.” It wouldn’t move. It was not just sore. It was screaming: “I don’t care if you want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I am done. I will no longer do sit-ups. I quit.”

After that, I would alternate my routine every other day as I should have done. But my body said, “Too late. I quit.” In fact, I found myself in pain. My core was in pain. My back was screaming. I thought my life was over.

It took several days until my body began to recovery. Tylenol was my friend those days. What did I do?

I acted like an addict. If a little bit is helpful, a lot will be the salvation of this problem. Addictive behavior doesn’t know the balance in the middle. We live in pendulum swings of not working out for 14 months and then throwing the pendulum to the other extreme by making up for that time in four short days. It’s been said that an addict only knows “normal” for the brief second they go from the far left of the pendulum to the far right of it.

Do I need to get in shape? Yes. Do I need to start slowly and work up to where I was before COVD-19? Yes. It’s getting the pendulum in the middle where will I find peace and serenity.

I’ll be back soon. Until then, live well my friend.

The Rev. Tony Marciano is the president/CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. Visit www.charlotterescuemission.org for details.

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