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March 19th, 2010
03:54 PM ET

Uncovering obstacles to fitness

Editor’s note: Two months ago, six CNN viewers began their quest to train for and compete in the Nautica New York City Triathlon alongside Dr. Gupta. The following is an email exchange between one of the participants – Rickey Williams – and our Fit Nation Athletic Director Laura Cozik.

Rickey Williams:

Fit Nation Challenge participant Rickey Williams.

Fit Nation Challenge participant Rickey Williams.

I used to think I was addicted to food. That doesn't make sense though. We need food. I think I've discovered what my addiction was...COMFORT. I was addicted to comfort. It is what made me eat when I wasn't hungry. I was looking for comfort. It is what made me stay still when I needed to move. I'm realizing that is the main obstacle when I experience a lack in motivation for working out or eating healthy. These are the kinds of things I want to address during this challenge.

Last night I did a 75-minute run. There were countless times leading up to the workout that I was  uncomfortable with the thought of a 75-minute run. There were countless times during the run that I felt uncomfortable and wanted to stop. I finished. I was exhausted, but felt like a champion. I woke up this morning sore and "uncomfortable".

Stronger today than yesterday! Pulling for you guys today.

Laura Cozik:

Fit Nation Challenge Athletic Director Laura Cozik.

Fit Nation Challenge Athletic Director Laura Cozik.

“Rickey, A 75-minute run??!! In early March??!! You're in good shape, I love it. So, so proud of you and thank you for wishing us all well today.
And thank you for sharing the "comfort" story. It's brave to admit such personal feelings. And truth be told, I've eaten for comfort many times.
The changes taking place are wonderful and inspiring. (Hope I don't sound too corny!) But keep in mind that with all the help CNN is providing you, you guys are still the ones out there gettin' it done! You should feel like a champion ”


Filed under: 2010 Fit Nation Challenge • Exercise • Fitness

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Marjorie

    That is a revelation! thanks for that now I just need to hear how to get over thinking I will die if I run, jump or play to hard.

    March 20, 2010 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Cindy

    This is so true. Our brains are always steering us toward comfort. Our entire society revolves around comfort. Most of the technology that we have developed has made our physical lives more comfortable to the point that we are almost forced to be more lazy.

    I had a Krav Maga instructor one time tell me that I had to get used to discomfort if I really wanted to be able to react in a bad situation, and that discomfort is only temporary. A year later, I found myself telling my brain that very thing as I waited for 2 hours in 17 degree wind before starting my first marathon. Most uncomfortable, hopeless situation I have ever been in. To be that cold for 2 hours and know that you still have to run for 5 hours!

    Whether you are doing triathlons or trying to avoid that Hostess cupcake in the kitchen, it is almost entirely about balance and fighting off our natural tendency to overindulge in things that are easy.

    March 22, 2010 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Brenda

    Cindy, I completely agree with you. Everything in our world is about comfort and NOT having to do things – not wasting our time and energy. Often it can be satisfactory to do something exhausting. It just gives a good feeling.

    May 2, 2010 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. harland

    Hello! I have a question: how come in gyms, with signs posted, like wipe off equipment, etc are completely ignored? I have 2 pamphlets from the VA on ARG's and MRSA. However, the city commisioners/ mayor/ and Broward County Board of Health never do ANYTHING about this?! Just look at the "rip off report" regarding Ballys, etc..why doesn't anyone report on this, except me? (I have started a blog) I have been kicked out of; Ballys Toatal Fitness (all 50 United States) Gold's Gym, and just recently LA Fitness just for trying to get the rules of those facilities enforced..PLEASE HELP! No one in Ft. Lauderdale/Miami ever want to report on this..

    June 11, 2010 at 09:28 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.