Exercise is not a four letter word, although if you had asked me about it thirteenyears ago I may have told you it was. I was a moderately active teenager, participating in marching band, going for walks and occasionally running the neighborhood roads. As such, I was in decent shape, wore a regular size, and never thought too much about my fitness level.
However, once I married, my adequate fitness level quickly declined into the abyss of restaurant menus, long hours at the office, and weekends filled with sitting on the couch or in a movie theatre seat. And while I was busy sitting my life away I always made sure there was food to keep me company. John and I both loved to eat and so were very bad influences on each other. At the restaurant we’d encourage each other to order appetizers. At the theatre, we’d have buttered popcorn, and we both loved to eat Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream anytime.
But one thing I hated and never made time for was exercise. No matter what amount of free time I had, it never crossed my mind to exercise. Even during one of my many visits to the Weight Watchers meetings I put the thought of exercise right out of my mind. After all, who had time to exercise and I was sure it would make no difference to me. Oh, I was so wrong, because I know now that exercise is a vital part of our health, and a great way to jump start and keep your weight loss going.
I began exercising when I weighed 305 pounds. Let me restate that. I was 305 pounds when I finally decided to incorporate exercise into my new lifestyle plan. I put on my ugly jumper, old white tennis shoes and began by walking 10 minutes away from the house and 10 minutes back. We lived in Florida at the time so it was hot. Therefore, I was hot, sweaty, out of breath, and generally exhausted when I returned from my first foray into fitness. But I was extremely proud of myself for taking a few steps. In fact, I even told John that I now was “part of the land of the fit!” Truthfully though, I had a long way to go before I was even close to becoming fit!
It was amazing how quickly my thoughts on exercise changed from something that was a terrible punishment to something I looked forward to, and yes, actually enjoyed. I didn’t go fast or far at first, but I did go. And by the end of six weeks I could walk two miles, up and down the hills of our neighborhood. By the end of the first year, I could jog slowly 3 miles. I’m still not a runner; though I enjoy breaking up my walking routines with the occasional slow jog.
What stops you from exercising?
Lack of energy
There are thousands of excuses to not exercise, but there is only one reason to not exercise, and from where I’m sitting that would be if your doctor has advised you not to. If your doctor says don’t, then don’t. But if you are like the majority of people, and in decent shape, your doctor will most likely encourage you to move your body. So, check with your doctor, and see if he/she gives you the go ahead to begin an exercise program.
WHERE TO BEGIN?
You need to begin where you are. Like I did all those years ago. At the time, I didn’t even own a pair of shorts or sweat pants since I had gotten so big that I couldn’t find any in the stores. I had resorted to making jumpers to wear so that’s what I put on that first day that I walked. I had an ugly flower jumper, an equally ugly t-shirt and some little tennis shoes. You know what? No one laughed at me, no one stopped their car and said, “Hey fat girl – go home!” No one cared but me. And the longer I continued walking, the more weight I lost and the more confident I became. As my body began to change I couldn’t believe how my energy level and my self-confidence increased. So, begin today. Do something. Even if you have to break up 30 minutes into three 10 minute segments that is a great first step.
WHAT TO DO?
Do what you want. If walking is your thing, then walk (but quickly)! If you’d rather be a runner or a swimmer or a biker, then that’s what I encourage you to do. If you are one who likes to belong to a gym or a weight club then do that. But pick something and try it out for a couple of months. That’s the key you know. You can’t just walk a few times around your block and then quit because you don’t like it. If you don’t give it enough time how will you know whether or not you even like it!
HOW DO I IMPROVE?
One thing that I found very helpful was the advice I heard from a nutritionist one time. She told me, and this is validated from other sources, that when you are exercising you should be able to talk for a short time, but you should not be able to sing. In other words, you shouldn’t exercise to the point that you are unable to carry on a short conversation, but neither should you be able to talk on your cell phone without the person on the other end of the phone knowing you are exercising.
So, begin, begin, begin. Try it and let me know how it goes! Back to Plan Page