It’s up to me

Ten professionals and 10 teams are competing in the 2015 Get Fit Challenge. Who will earn the healthiest marks? Follow along on Facebook and then find out at the In Business Expo & Conference on Oct. 21. This week, IB checks in with Karen Hodgkiss, owner, KLH Freelancewho is competing in the individual challenge.

I’m comfortable being alone. As an only child, I learned at a young age how to amuse myself when a friend wasn’t available to play. As an adult, I work at home and love having the freedom to do what I want, when I want.

However, when it comes to diet and exercise I’ve had more success when I am part of a group or when I team up with a friend. Over the years, I’ve done multiple diet plans with friends and have joined various group fitness activities and gyms with workout buddies. That is one big reason why I was drawn to the Get Fit Challenge — I would be working with and competing as part of a group with a designated health club and trainer.

One thing I’ve learned during the program is that while I can call on others for support, this journey is uniquely mine. If I make plans to workout with a friend or trainer, I still have to reach out, show up, and use the time effectively to make it worthwhile. I can’t use an injury as an excuse to skip workouts, but instead have to find other ways to stay active. I have to grocery shop and make meals. Fresh, organic ingredients are plentiful in Madison, but there are also temptations on every corner and in every grocery aisle.

There really is no substitute for my own initiative on the path to improved fitness. I’m not talking about willpower, but the practical reality of dealing with the tens or hundreds of decisions to make each day when no one else is around. Should I have a smoothie or sugary cereal for breakfast? Should I watch a television show or go for a walk? Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Each choice contributes to improved health or detracts from it.

I love this quote from UCLA basketball coach John Wooden: “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” Keeping these words in mind helps me make these daily decisions in a way that is easier than thinking about calories burned or calories consumed. When faced with a choice of what to eat or what to do, I ask myself how I am going to feel afterward. Poor decisions leave me feeling guilty, ashamed, and discouraged. Good decisions leave me feeling proud, confident, and happy in my own skin.

I’m still a work in progress, but am feeling optimistic about the next stages of my journey. Thanks to everyone involved in the Get Fit Challenge for this opportunity.

Meet all of the competitors here and see who wins at the In Business Expo & Conference.

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