No, Tuesday is not THE DAY I exercise, its the day I will blog about it. Since I had surgery last week, the actual exercising will not begin until I am released. But I figured this would be a good time to start thinking about it.
In my younger years I was athletic. I loved team sports (softball, football, volleyball etc) There were plenty of opportunities for team sports when I was in high school, and lots of people to play with. But once I graduated, I moved from California to rural Oklahoma. I ended up a single mother, struggling to survive, while attending nursing school. I had no friends, no vehicle, and a baby. I was lost, and had no idea what to do with myself. So I just self distructed. This is where the weight gain began. The most physical activity I got was dancing on weekends. And I LOVED to dance! I also discovered I LOVED to drink. So I suspect I drank more calories than I danced away during those years. And whatever weight I gained on my body during those years, I doubled in emotional weight. Life had spun out of control.
Fast forward through 2 more children, a couple of long term relationships that left me even more broken, and even more emotional and physical baggage. My life had definately not taken the path I had planned that would have taken me through Med school, traveling the world, and, finding that love of a lifetime. And unfortunately I was a slow learning. It’s funny how KNOWING something, and FEELING something are so very different things. I am an intelligent woman. I KNEW what I needed to do to fix it. But what I FELT, about myself and the world around me, prevented me from taking those steps. I just continued to spiral.
I wish I could point to the moment when the lightbulb came on. There was no specific day or event that triggered it. It just suddenly came on. And there I was. With all the want in the world to get out and be physically active (among other things, but this IS exercise Tuesday, we’ll keep it small ) and none of the physical ability to be able to. Instead, I lived through my kids. I am blessed with talented and athletic kids who love to compete. So the last 10 years have been a whirlwind of Football, Softball, Soccer, Wrestling, and track events. I kept them active doing 5K’s to stay in shape when sports let out for a while, but eventually, my failing health made me begin using the times between seasons just to recover and prepare for the next one. Once, in December of 2012, I walked a 5K while they ran it. I finished in 59 minutes! (My kids finished in about 25 minutes), but I finished. I may have been last, but I finished! The encouragement of everyone who finished before me as I crossed the finish line was… well, in a sense it was wonderful. At the same time I felt humiliated. I was still judging myself by the standards that I held myself to when I was 20. By that meausre, I had failed terribly. But I wasn’t yet ready to really put in the work to get better. Not really. Because I hadn’t yet experienced the moment when I realized that if I didn’t fix this I was going to die.
That being said, I HAVE now experienced that moment (several times over the last 6 months) Steps 1 and 2 (changing my eating habits, and surgery to correct my severe anemia) are now in play. The next step is to add exercise. But in what form? I have learned from past experience that exercise ‘routines’ bore me to death. And once I get bored, its not long until I quit. Much like diet, exercise for me has to become a lifestyle. And for that to happen, I have to ENJOY it. So what do I do? There is always the gym. Treadmills, elipticals, stationary bikes, weights etc…. ugh. Yes, I said it. Once the initial excitement wears off, I wind up hating it. The waiting for machines, The judgemental looks from those women who will NEVER understand this struggle, the inevitable days when I just don’t go, until finally I’m paying monthly dues on a yearlong contract that I only used for 2 months. Where routine works wonderfully for me where my diet is concerned, in exercise it is my absolute nemesis.
Now, I’m not saying I wont be going back to the gym. But I’m NOT going to let myself fall into the same rut again. This time, activity will be a lifestyle, not something I dread. The gym will be important, and I WILL start going. But this time I’m going to mix it up. So hear are some of the things I plan on doing to help me stay on track.
- Raquetball- Once a week I will be meeting up with a friend for a light breakfast and a game of Raquetball.
- Walking/Jogging- I’ll most likely just start with short walks around the neighborhood a couple days a week. Eventually I will increase, and do some time on the high school track. Goal: To jog a 5 K with my kids this fall (with no walking) Eventually I dream of participating in a biathalon or triathalon.
- Cycling- At my current weight, bicycle seats are torture devices… even the big fat ones… But my goal is to purchase a mountain bike by the end of the summer and take up cycling to whatever extent I can tolerate it.
- Roler Skating!- One of those things that I used to LOVE, and be really GOOD at. I plan on adding roller skating to my list of activities once the beautiful weather abondons us again, and outdoor activities become more of a chore than a pleasure.
- Rock Climbing- Okay, so the thought of climbing a rock climbing wall at the rock climbing gym is almost laughable right now… BUT… it still makes the list.
- Canoeing/Kayaking – Summer is fast approaching. and by golly, I’m gonna get wet this summer!
- Swimming- Now this one is harder here in landlocked rural Oklahoma, land of the red dirt (and water) . And since there are no pools in my town that really allow for lap swimming, this is less available. HOWEVER, the town 30 miles from here has a YMCA. Eventually, and as time allows, that will be included in my regular activities.
- Playing soccer/football with my kids!
- Dancing!- There is a swanky shopping center in Tulsa that hosts an event every Thursday evening from 7-9. They set up a portable stage and have a different live band each week. The ‘dancefloor’ is teeming with dancers from babies to elderly couples. Such a wonderful environment, lots of picnickers, and great music. And none of the stinky cigarette smoke of a bar, AND the kids can go. I can’t WAIT til June! (In the meantime, I have a huge collection of dance workout videos (salsa, hip hop, striptease aerobics (lol), etc… Time to start working on my moves!… Once doc releases me of course)
- HIking- With the warming seasons, its also a good time for camping, hiking, and nature photography! YAY!
- Martial Arts- My 14 year old daughter has developed an interest in learning mixed martial arts. I hear its a GREAT workout. Hey, why not?
I have no doubt that as I become more active, this list will definately expand, but its a start! But of course the first step will be utilizing the resources the gym has to offer. What are YOUR favorite activities?
Food Diary for 3/30/15:
Brunch: Scrambled Eggs, sausage links, Paleo Cinnamon Muffin (tasty, not super sweet, but nice for a treat)
Dinner: Paleo Chicken Enchilada Casserole (The cauliflower tortillas should be kept thin, or at the least cooked until browned to keep it from tasting too much like caulifower. Might add a little more chili powder to the sauce next time, add some sauted onions and peppers, and maybe some black olives. Definately worth trying again.)