Working It Out

Labor Day is today and in our family that means a day off from schooling and working. All my kids are excited about having a day off of school – especially since we’ve only been “in” school for two weeks so far. I’ve always liked holidays and the meaning behind them. I know Labor Day is about celebrating the hard workers who make up the backbone of our country and economy – but when I think about working – I remember how hard I tried not to work.

Not avoiding working in a career – I did work for several years before my first daughter was born – but avoiding hard work and physical labor during my obese years. I would do just about anything to get out of doing something physical. I feigned injury, illness or just invented an excuse to run an errand or get out of the house.

When we repainted the rooms in our house I was nowhere to be seen. Weeding the yard wasn’t my responsibility. Cleaning the baseboards was hard on my back. Packing up boxes for yard sales or donations to Goodwill wasn’t really something I did. I didn’t volunteer to run back to the car if we forgot something. I stood and waited for John to go.

I realized what I was doing. I knew it was hard work to weed the flower beds and I didn’t want to work hard. I understood that wiping the baseboards would require some physical exertion on my part and I said “No.” I knew I should be the one to walk more steps to retrieve forgotten items, but I chose not to.

It wasn’t as though I had any real physical aliment like some people do. It’s different if you really are not physically capable of doing work – but that wasn’t my case. I was physically able to work, but I chose to sit instead.

I think all that sitting did have an impact on my psyche. The more I sat down and let other people do things for me, the lazier and more apathetic I got. It was fun to sit and watch television inside the cool house instead of doing physical labor outside. It was easier to let John do the lifting than do it myself.

Did I feel guilty? Yes, on occasion I did. And to make up for that guilt – I cooked desserts for the people who helped me out. Cookies, cakes and pies were all gifted to John and other friends.

As I began to lose weight and exercise, I looked for opportunities to stay active. I found that although I still did not like weeding, I did like knowing I could and participating with the family. It was a revelation. The more I worked and moved, the better I felt about myself. It was like a slow snowball. The better I felt about myself, the more I cared about my health, and the harder I worked to get healthy.

I’d encourage you to look for chances to work. Unexpected moments of time in your day where you can be active. Choose to get up and work for a few minutes each hour. It doesn’t have to be all day – but every little bit helps you physically and mentally.

How did you feel about physically working? Has it changed?Β  Diane

33 thoughts on “Working It Out

  1. Miz says:

    I love the thought of looking at every day and searching for ways to be active.
    For me it lessens the need to get “traditional” exercise and allows me to hang with (play with? weed with? :)) my girl more.

  2. Barb says:

    I have never liked exercise. In fact, in general I hate exercise. But, I don’t mind working. In fact, I like work because I get something immediately for my efforts. I would rather weed and paint and hang drywall or dig over the gardens or rake leaves or anything than lift weights or go to the gym. So to those readers who may not like doing the gym, why not take on a project at home? It can be quite effective.

  3. Amy says:

    I think one of the biggest benefits of becoming more active and losing weight is how much easier physical tasks around the house become – and how much more energy I have to do them!

  4. Desert Agave says:

    I too spent a lot of my time avoiding any and all physical exertion when I was heavier. Since losing some of this weight and starting to work out regularly, my attitude towards work has changed. I’m more likely to take on household tasks, and when I do, I’m still surprised by how little energy doing them takes.

  5. Susan says:

    The more fit I become the more active I have become. This year I have started to do a lot of the yard work around here my husband can’t do it all:)
    Happy Labor Day Diane! Enjoy your day:)

  6. Jane says:

    This post really struck a chord with me. The heavier I became, the less I did of any work that would require beding, kneeling, etc. I have counted on my husband for all of the yard work. It’s a vicious cycle–inactivity means more weight gain.

    To be honest, however, it is much more difficult to do certain chores, such as cleaning baseboards and weeding flower bends, planting, when you have a spare tire in the middle and kneeds that will groan under 70 excess pounds (me). Right now, I am trying to increase my activity doing things that will not strain or cause injury to my body. Thanks for the timely post.

  7. vickie says:

    “It wasn’t as though I had any real physical aliment like some people do. It’s different if you really are not physically capable of doing work – but that wasn’t my case. I was physically able to work, but I chose to sit instead.”

    most of the time the answer for ‘real physical ailment’ is movement, working the muscles too. We just have have to be very careful of the positioning.

  8. Dr. J says:

    I guess I have been the poster boy for working out at work πŸ™‚

    I have often climbed stairs (did I tell you what a great view it is from the tenth floor of the hospital fire escape), or go for a 7 mile run on a lunch break.

  9. Emergefit says:

    I think one of the saddest things about the obesity epidemic is that for so many, living life is hard work; shopping, gardening, cleaning, but especially playing with kids.

    These should all be without struggle, yet so many do. The more astonishing aspect of this is the context; that so many people (children) now are starting off obese, that they view all of the above (and more) as work from day one. Somebody who has been obese from say, age 16 on, may never appreciate gardening or cleaning as anything more than a physical burden. Again, sad.

  10. kwithme says:

    I had/have back issues since my pregnancy for my second daughter. One of the things that really hit home was that I read that your spouse is your biggest hindrance to getting better. Basically, if your back hurt, it was likely you would ask someone to do things for you, increasing your lack of movement and decreasing your strength. That turned on a light for me and I really worked at not asking my husband to do things for me, unless I really could not do them, which meant I had to try first.

    I like physical labor like construction, it makes me feel strong and competent. I like to push mow the lawn and shovel snow for the same reason. Days that I don’t feel like traditional exercise I try to fill it with functional activity.

  11. Kate says:

    Mmmmm, I am so guilty of this. I have to force myself to do housework, and would rather head to the gym any day than get down and scrub baseboards. Perhaps I could be brainwashed into liking to work around the house??

  12. NewMe says:

    Having lived through times when I was unable to walk more than a few steps (on crutches, at that), I seek out every opportunity to take extra steps and do extra work (while taking into account my on-going disabilities).

    People who knew me when I was on a cane and then crutches still ask me “if I can make it across the street or would I prefer to wait here?” Even though they see me walking normally, without assistance, they still view me as unable to move around. Have they become vision impaired?

    So yes, within the limits of my disability, I move like crazy and give thanks for the opportunity every minute of every day.

  13. Sandi says:

    Before I lost the weight I tried to avoid work too. It was so much harder to do things when I was carrying around the extra 100+ pounds. Now I really appreciate how easy it is to do everyday tasks around the house. I love that I can do hard work. My husband and I were shovelling some road base for a project in our yard and he said to me “you don’t have to compete with me”. The old me would have been sitting and watching him do it. I think he doesn’t quite know what to think of the new me sometimes πŸ™‚

  14. katie squires says:

    I know one thing that has changed for me…today I carried my children for half of our 5km family hike. 4 months ago there was no way I could have carried a 4 year old for 2.5 km. let alone gone on a family hike πŸ™‚ Maybe next time we will keep the kids at home πŸ™‚

  15. Tish says:

    I’m so much more likely to volunteer to run upstairs to get “x” or to accompany DH on a bike ride or evening walk. It feels great. Yes, I too knew I was ducking any possible exercise. I’m smarter (and a lot fitter) now.

  16. Leah says:

    I felt exactly like you when it came to doing extra work. Even picnics out with friends at the park or lake seemed like too much because I would be hot and they would play games and I wouldn’t always feel up to it.

    Now, as I’m losing weight, I find myself more willing to do those extra things and actually enjoy being active. I look forward to giving it my best shot at the game of volleyball going on at the church picnic, instead of sitting on the sidelines. It’s a great feeling!

  17. John says:

    I’ve always been against extra work before I put on the weight,after I put on the weight and now that I’ve taken a lot of the weight off. I can talk myself into “working out” now though so that’s a start and we all have to start somewhere.

    Thanks for the comment on the CN Tower climb. I’d like to be able to say I did it too. Going to be quite the workout though if I try it!

  18. Fran says:

    I never “hated” it, I just didn’t do it. I’ve been a little bit active all my life, meaning I went to the gym once a week for most of my adult life but that was it.

    These days I want to be active at least once a day even if it’s just a walk with Bella.

    When we lost our dog in March one of the things I thought I would also be missing, besides her of course, would be going out for a walk with her 4 times a day. And I noticed that on non-exercise days I didn’t do that much either. One of the reasons I’m happy we got another dog so soon after passing away.

    There still are days (usually on Sunday) when I don’t want to do anything and sometimes I don’t but even on such days there are always those walks with Bella so I’m happy to say I’m active every day and loving it.

  19. Taryl says:

    I definotely tried to be energy-efficient, if you will, when i was heavier. I noticed because now that I am uncomfortably pregnant I am doing it again, and even now I probably still do more moving each day than I used to not-pregnant and fifty pounds heavier. The difference is marked, I didnt seek to step up my daily exercise or energy but rather it just sort of naturally happened as I became lighter and more fit. I wanted to move and be healthy, I naturally did more.

    I hope that trend continues as i head down the scalr, it feels good to move!

  20. Shawnee says:

    I love to exercise. But…I have two times when I can do it. Before work and after work. Some days I am so tired. I am mentally tired in the morning and both mentally and physically tired in the evening. Somedays I just can’t make myself do it. I am trying to be more strict with myself and pretty much force myself on those days.

  21. Tami says:

    I know that physical exercise for me is great not only for burning calories and staying fit but also for my mental health! It is a boost that keeps on giving long after the actual work out is done!

  22. Siobhan says:

    I love to walk and ride bikes and generally do anything “fun” outside, but I don’t pull weeds and I haven’t mowed the lawn in years. I’m lucky in that my DH likes doing yard work. I do all the house cleaning … including the baseboards. πŸ™‚

  23. Tiff says:

    I can definitely relate to this- I would never be (and sometimes am still not) the person to be the one to run and get the kickball when someone kicks it out of bounds or to go back in the house to grab something when we’ve all gotten in the car- thanks for this great reminder about the great affects it can have on our psyche to constantly push ourselves!

  24. Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42 says:

    “The more I worked and moved, the better I felt about myself. It was like a slow snowball. The better I felt about myself, the more I cared about my health, and the harder I worked to get healthy.”

    I’ve discovered that with myself, too. I like your description of the slow snowball.

    It’s that initial push that can be so hard for some people.

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