Deciding I wanted to get back into shape after putting on a lot of weight during my pregnancy was easier than doing it. I tried a lot of different diets including Atkins and discovered that deprivation wasn’t something that worked for me. I simply couldn’t stick to a diet that cut out a lot of my favorite foods entirely.
When the quick fixes didn’t work, I started watching my portions and eating three or four small meals a day. Still, the pounds didn’t shed. I discovered that thinking I wanted to lose the weight and get into shape was a heck of lot easier than putting that thought into action. Action was what I needed though.
I joined a fitness club in order to use the equipment and when my membership languished for six months and I’d only made periodic visits, I had to get serious with myself. What I needed was to make an investment in myself.
So, I sucked it up and spent nearly seven hundred dollars to hire a personal trainer for 14 sessions, twice a week for seven weeks. The money spent hurt, but it got me into the gym twice a week and sweating my butt off.
The trainer is the one that got me walking. She wanted me to warm up every day on the treadmill.
Initially my warm-up lasted about fifteen minutes. By the end of the seven weeks, I had the habit down. I worked out twice a week at the gym and three times a week at home.
We had a treadmill purchased on a whim a few years before that sat gathering dust in a spare room. I cleaned it off, plugged it and made a concerted effort to walk on it at least twice a week as well.
What I discovered after the first week was that I didn’t have to make myself do it anymore. I didn’t spend the workout hour cursing my investment or the pain in my legs, back and feet. Instead, I found myself just sinking into the zone and I was going longer and longer.
My standard workout now consists of 60 to 70 minutes on the treadmill five days a week and 20 to 30 minutes on my two slow days. I walk with my daughter two or three times a week while she rides her bike and I even park in the back forty when we go to the grocery store or the mall. On the busiest of days, I’ve managed to sneak in two or three 20 minute sessions that keep me charged up. I make myself accountable and I reap my own rewards.
I don’t always enjoy myself while I’m walking those extra steps to the mall door (especially in the rain or the blistering heat of the summer), however I do enjoy the fact that I’ve dropped five dress sizes and lost more than fifty pounds. I feel great. I’m hardly ever sick. When I do catch a cold, it doesn’t last longer than 48 hours most of the time. I sleep well and even on nights when I get short sleep, I feel pretty up beat when I get up in the morning.
I was laid up for three weeks a couple of months ago and I couldn’t work out, do long walks or anything ‘strenuous.’ I quite literally thought I would go mad and that’s when I’d realized that initial investment all those months ago was paying off.
While exercising may not be the ‘best’ thing I do, it’s as regular as breathing to me now and I miss it when I don’t get a chance to do it. I’ve also learned that what works for one person doesn’t work for another.
Diets that restrict or deprive make me want to splurge. So rather than binging, I just eat smaller portions. If I decide I want some super sinful dessert, I get to have it and I don’t feel an ounce of guilt.
I’m about halfway to my goal now and I’m not really racing to get there, instead I take it one day at a time and enjoy the feeling I’ve got. Walking every day has brought me peace of mind and when I’m feeling fried, stressed or at an impasse with work or life, I just hit the pavement for a stroll or the treadmill.
It always seems like life’s better after a good walk. Whenever friends ask me how I maintain my exercise regimen with my schedule, my family, my pets and all the other responsibilities life heaps on, I just grin. If I don’t invest in me, I won’t have the surplus to devote to the rest.
Contributed to Discover Walking By: Heather Long