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Move It

I wish I could say I loved to exercise. Essentially, the amount of activity I endure is directly proportional to the size of the hot fudge sundae I want to eat immediately climbing off the elliptical machine. The benefits, however, far outweigh any inconvenience, and that’s what keeps me going. (I forgot that for a while, but it’s slowly coming back to me.)

When I was at my biggest, I used to eat when people pissed me off, and a lot of people irritated the hell out of me. Exercise helps me curb emotional eating, and I know it is the biggest factor in maintaining a healthy weight. But it still doesn’t mean I don’t fight from time to time.

The thing about exercise is that you don’t have to train for the Olympics to achieve victory. Modest goals lead to success. My objective to be able to eat a hot fudge sundae may not land me on the cover of a fitness magazine, but it is realistic for me.

When I began, I couldn’t walk across a parking lot without getting winded so running a marathon was obviously out of the question. I decided I could commit to ride a stationary bike for seven minutes, twice a week. It was the most excruciating seven minutes of my day, and the activity I received from lifting my arm to check my watch 23 million times to see how much time passed could have technically counted as resistance training.

The only reason I didn’t stop was it seemed ludicrous to make an excuse that I couldn’t carve 14 minutes a week out of my busy schedule. I stuck with two, seven-minute workouts for quite a while. Then I added another day to the mix. Gradually, I increased the time. Fast forward several years, and I try to do something physically active at least four to five days a week. I go through phases when it is more difficult than others. However, I notice when exercise starts to slip, emotional eating increases.

When I first got to my goal, I often exercised twice a day. While I liked the way it made me feel and look, I lack that sort of discipline for the long haul. I continue to try to find the right mix to help me feel good but not overpower my life. It takes a nano-second to talk myself out of exercising so I try to make a plan and stick with it…skip three days, and the demons arrive at my door.

I belong to a gym, and I try to vary the workouts from group classes like Zumba, spinning and yoga to just hopping on the elliptical or stationary bike. By the way, I hate to run, and extreme sports scare the hell out of me. This activity gig is about finding something that fits the life in which you lead. There is no one right workout, just like there is no one right diet. Some days all I can manage is a quick walk plugged into Pandora as I stroll through our neighborhood. The important thing is to move. It clears the head, helps my body and decreases the amount of time I available to stand in front of the refrigerator.


6 Responses

  1. Dear Melissa:
    Good for you for getting this blog going. I’ve never viewed you as “fat” I just knew at times in your life you were dealing with very stressful things that happened in your life and that the comfort of food helped you get through them. I am happy that you are physically healthier now and certainly in much better cardiovascular shape than you were (and than I am, I know because I’ve walked with you,) and I could take a few lessons from you. Your motivation is contagious, I hope, as I really need to get moving this winter when I rather curl up in front of the fireplace. I’ve always seen the creative, talented side of you with your confidence and poise. But for your sake, I am glad that you no longer feel invisible. I love you. Thanks for sharing your recipes and story. Lori

  2. When we first took up bicycling this year, we used our 15-20 mile roundtrips on the bike to the ice cream shop to justify getting out. It was much healthier than driving to the ice cream shop that was less than two miles away.

  3. As someone who loves running I’m always amazed when someone says I hate to run. I believe some people are better runners than others but I think when someone says they “hate” something, they haven’t given it a chance. Its a self fulfilling prophesy to say you hate it and then don’t like it. You probably hated the bike at the beginning too and after a while it wasn’t so bad. Maybe next time you’re out on a walk try jogging to the street corner in the middle of the walk and do that 2/3 times. That’s how I got running…jogging during my walk and then it turned into running.

  4. You are right about the starting point. I would have never imagined that I would participate in some type of aerobic activity most days, and really miss it if I have to skip. Sometimes you just have to move your arse…and the rest will follow.

    I think I could probably learn to enjoy running, but I really mangled up my knee and ankle so I don’t know if it is a great fit for me, but I now occasionally jog and walk. I think it helps keep my heart rate up. I haven’t done any research on it, but it feels like I get a better workout – in less time.

  5. Melissa-

    I just wanted to say that you are the best ww leader that I have ever had. Your fun and you keep it real. I attend your Saturday morning class and I hate to get up early on a Saturday but you make it worthwhile. Thanks for allyou do and I love your blog.

  6. Your words are so kind. Thanks so much. I really enjoy the class, and I think fun is an important part of life!

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