Now, don’t get me wrong. I really don’t think of exercise as a four-letter word. There was a time when I actually enjoyed exercising. I used to work out faithfully five days a week. I was there so much everybody on staff knew me by name. But then a husband and three kids came into the picture, and I had less time to go to the gym. No, I most certainly don’t blame them for my little sabbatical from exercise (I’m the only one who can take credit for that), but let’s face it, there is less free time for things like exercise when trying to raise a young family.
Fast forward 13 years and here I am at my heaviest and more out of shape than I have ever been. How did climbing a flight of stairs become such a monumental feat? You know it’s bad when the laundry doesn’t get put away because just the thought of climbing the stairs carrying a full laundry basket wears you out. That’s pretty much where I’ve been for far too long. I’m so out of shape that housework has become 10 times the chore that it should be. So I’ve decided enough is enough. Along with taking care of myself nutrionally, I’m also going to start taking care of myself physically.
So what to do…how to move that body. I’ve tried a few things along the way. It’s not easy finding the right exercise when you are this overweight, especially when you think you can just jump right back in where you left off all those years ago. I decided that the stationary bike would be the best for me so off to K-Mart we went to buy a recumbent stationary bike. That was the first step…buying the bike. Then came that terribly difficult second step…getting on the bike and actually making the pedals move. It’s not as easy as it sounds (it really isn’t).
I started out with the best of intentions and great excitement about getting physically fit. I eagerly jumped on the bike ready to pedal myself to skinniness. That part went very smoothly. It was the pedaling that I had trouble with. You see, in addition to being out of shape, I know I’ve mentioned this before…I’m FAT. It’s not so easy to pedal a recumbent bike when you’re fat. Let’s face it, fat people carry A LOT of fat in their stomach area--it’s a well-known fact. Adding to the size of my stomach is an umbilical hernia that I got after my first child was born. Every time I turned those pedals, my thighs punched me in the stomach…not a pleasant feeling at all. Needless to say, stationary cycling didn’t last very long. Like many pieces of home exercise equipment, it has just become another piece of furniture taking up way too much space.
Next I tried a dance exercise video, Dancing With The Stars Cardio Dance to be specific. What was I thinking? Just watching it made me EXHAUSTED. I never got past watching watching all those skinny girls moving their perfect little bodies effortlessly to the music. No, cardio dancing was definitely not for me. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m about twice the age I was the last time I did any real exercise at all, but I wanted to hit the exercise thing head on, start seeing those results ASAP. I’m not exactly the most patient person. Okay, so on to the next thing…
I finally had to realize and accept that this was going to take a while. You don’t just exercise one day and instantly get back into shape, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot exercise like you’re training for a marathon when you are in your 40s and 100+ pounds overweight. So I told myself, slow and steady. Walking…that shouldn’t be too hard. In fact, it should be easy, right? People walk during part of every day of their lives. And yes, it is the best way to start out for someone like me, but hat doesn’t mean that it’s easy because it most definitely is not.
The first time I walked, I started out with lots of energy, thinking I could walk the whole neighborhood in no time at all (it’s very big, by the way). It turns out I could only make it around my block, about 6/10 of a mile. My legs were as wiggly as a piece of over-cooked spaghetti by the time I got home…not too depressing, right? But hey, I got out there and did it! I was very proud of myself. It may be 6/10 of a mile now, but some day it will be 2, 3, 4, 5, miles…who knows how far I’ll go or what other things I might try because I finally got off my duff and started moving.
I had finally accepted it. I had finally let it sink in. It’s not going to happen overnight. I just have to get up and get out there and do my best every time. And I have realized that the more I do walk, the more energy I have, and soon those stairs won’t be the difficult mountain to climb that they are today. Soon I’ll be out there running around with my kids, riding bikes with them and taking them skating and skiing and doing all kinds of fun things with them. And I can’t wait…remember patience doesn’t come easy to me.