Originally published on my blog, Soul Java, on Monday, February 22, 2010
Toward the end of the Summer two things happened that helped me go to the next level in my journey to get fit and feel pretty. 1. I got an iPhone. Now, suddenly everything I was glued to the couch to do on my laptop I could be mobile and do! I could surf the web, I could write, I could listen to podcasts, I could text, call… My iPhone really & truly made a huge difference. 2ndly , our family became friends with some of the players of our community college basketball team. This was the perfect shot in the arm for me. These guys were all about movement, activity & working out. The talked about it, they challenged each other to pushups and sit ups in my living room. It was great! I was too embarrassed to ask them questions about exercise or weight loss at first, but I soaked in their conversations and after everybody was gone I’d try to do the types of exercises they did.
We went on our family vacation in September 2009; a cruise of all things! I was dreading the loads of food that would be available. But I also knew I had more focus than ever before. I brought my tunes with me and I decided I could dance my way through the delectable temptations. But my first night away from home I had a problem; we stayed in a hotel and between my kids’ entertainment and my husband’s work there was no room to do my dancing in the room! I decided I’d go dance in the workout room. “Alas! Gasp! No way!” The exercise room was FULL of mirrors! There was absolutely no way I could see my fat self dance in all those mirrors! But I was determined to do something; so I got on the treadmill. Guess what? I really liked it! I had my tunes in my ears, the handles on the machine was hiding me from the mirrors, I decided this would work! It took me nearly 45 minutes to walk 2 miles. I didn’t care how slow it was, I wasn’t there for the challenge. The same way I determined that losing extremely small amounts of weight was better than gaining small amounts, I decided moving my body in any way was better than being a couch potato.
I boarded that cruise ship knowing I was going to make use of their treadmills. The first place I went hunting for was the gym. I walked in… and nearly died! It was so intimidating! Guess what? More mirrors! Lots more equipment! Really healthy looking people who were obviously very familiar with a gym filled its every nook and cranny! My heart sank. I knew I was not going to be able to bring myself to use the gym. I found the walking track outside on the same deck as the pool. But I decided I’d rather walk past all those fat, half dressed bodies than use that daunting gym. (It was surprising how many “not fit” people didn’t mind getting nearly nude. Surprising and gross!)
I had something else helping me along at this point too; crazy mood swings! I’ve always been an expressive person, but never a moody person. Since around 2007 I had learned what it felt like to suddenly, without warning, be ready to snatch somebody’s head off! I could suddenly cry without warning too! Since the Summer of 2008 I was still dealing with a lack of self-worth. I discovered on the cruise that walking balanced all those emotional swings! I had always heard that exercise released endorphins in the brain that causes us to feel happier. This was the first time I experienced it. It was AWESOME! When I would get too impatient with my children I’d go walk the track. When I felt sad I’d go walk the track. I woke up in the morning before everybody else and went walking. I walked meals I’d eaten off. The favorite part of that cruise for me was walking. But one morning the wind was atrocious! I was feeling especially panicky and KNEW if I could just walk a few minutes I’d feel better. So in trepidation I poked my head into the gym; it was nearly empty! For the rest of the cruise I used the gym’s treadmills and slowly watched my speed and endurance gain momentum.
I lost 2 pounds on the cruise!
When I got home I kept walking. I got up to 3 miles but it was taking me around 40-45 minutes. At this point I was also doing some Pilates, Abs workouts, and other muscle building, flab-fighting things. I had become comfortable talking to my basketball playing friend about exercise, how to do certain ones, etc. During the Thanksgiving break in November 2009, I was telling my friend how I knew I could walk more than 3 miles but I couldn’t take more time doing it than I already was. He told me I should try running. I was completely against it. I knew right away it was too challenging. I’ve seen runners. They are strong, disciplined, and they tend to thrive on challenge. I really felt like I couldn’t run. But he told me he wasn’t saying I should run 3 miles like I was walking. And that I didn’t need to worry about how long it took me. And that I was allowed to stop and catch my breath when I needed. So, the next day I ran. I thought I was going to die! But I reminded myself that I didn’t let myself stop and catch my breath AND I made myself run a full mile when I didn’t have to. Plus there was something in me that didn’t want to tell my basketball friend that I was a wimp! So, I ran again the next day… And the next, and the next. I started running to help with my moods just as I had done walking on the cruise. Plus it didn’t take nearly as long as the walking did to have that endorphin release! There are some days when running is as hard as it was that first day, but most of the time its exhilarating!
When I went to my doctor the last time he was emotionally moved at my success and was asking MY advice for his own weight loss! I’ve not reached my goal weight yet, but I’m on my way!
I’ll write in part 4 about what my goal is, how its morphed, and what natural vitamins & minerals I take to help in my “get fit/feel pretty journey”.
…to be continued.