Tuesday: Exercise Day

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.

  1.  Raquetball- Once a week I will be meeting up with a friend for a light breakfast and a game of Raquetball.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Canoeing/Kayaking – Summer is fast approaching.  and by golly, I’m gonna get wet this summer!
  7. 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.
  8. Playing soccer/football with my kids!
  9. 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)
  10. HIking- With the warming seasons, its also a good time for camping, hiking, and nature photography!  YAY!
  11. 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.)

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