When I was heavier, before I started exercising, I had a bunch of handy excuses to be sedentary. I'd been using them for years.
I thought I had "settled" at my body's appropriate weight. I didn't want to join the gym at work because I didn't want to have to drag a heavy gym bag around (I park a half mile from my office -- literally, a half-mile), and I felt like I spent enough time at work, and I didn't want to join any other gym, because it would cost too much and be inconvenient. I didn't want my plantar fasciitis to come back. I didn't care if I was overweight, it wasn't a big deal.
I'm sure most heavy people have a litany of excuses! Well ... mine were easily demolished, once I got past the part of me that wanted to be obstinate. I was seriously my own worst enemy, and I am sure this is the problem facing a lot of people. The first words out of my mouth were "I can't, because...." I see this with other women, who immediately say "Oh, I wish I could run/lift weights/do yoga/etc, but I can't because--" That is the biggest roadblock. That instant "I can't," when it has nothing to do with real reasons to not do these things, but just plain obstinacy. We should just be honest and say "I don't want to!" I clung to the plantar fasciitis excuse like a lifesaver. "I can't ... I don't want my plantar fasciitis to come back!" It was such a great excuse to not do weight-bearing exercise (to be honest, I had a bad case that took years to heal).
Over the summer I gradually started to change, and to be honest, I have to say God did this. I have never known God to act decisively and suddenly -- more like nudge, nudge, nudge, until you finally do what He wants. He changed my heart, because I was miserable and I wasn't doing anything to help myself. So I put aside all the bad stuff, the excuses, and got on the treadmill. It sucked. I kept at it. It no longer sucks ... and now I love my gym days best of all. Sometimes I put that big heavy gym bag on my back and then stand on the scale in the locker room with my shoes on and my purse and lunch bag, and I laugh because even with all that on, I don't weigh as much as I used to.
When you have a roll of fat around your middle and you sit down, the fat pushes up and it makes you uncomfortable sitting upright, because it's harder to breath with that fat pushing against your diaphragm. A few weeks ago at a friend's house, we all sat around the kitchen table for hours after eating, and I didn't have to ask if we could move into the other room where the softer, more comfortable chairs were ... because I was comfortable there! I didn't have to lean back to breathe. I could just sit with my friends and laugh and talk like everyone else.
I feel so strong and healthy now. I feel like everyone else must feel ... which is wonderful after so many years of being the fat one in my circle of friends, the one who couldn't go shopping with the girlfriends because they weren't plus-sized too, the woman who wouldn't ever wear shorts or tank tops in public. I very nearly cried the first time I tried on "misses" clothing and it fit ...I was in Kohl's, and I put on clothing from the regular section ... no "W" or "X" on the tag ... I was so happy. And amazed, because I'd invested so many years in telling myself I couldn't do it, and then I did it. There was no magic pill or potion or diet shake for me -- it just took perseverance and attitude.
This is what I wish I could tell all the women I see who are carrying so much extra weight, and they look so tired, and so unhappy, like they just can't wait to get home and put on sweatpants and take off the too-tight bra, and sit down and not move again until bedtime. I wish I could get it through to them how important it is to be strong not just in mind, but in body too. Sometimes when I'm on the treadmill, or running around the parade field on the army base, I feel awesome. I feel mighty. I don't ever want to go back to what I was before!
I went from this, in September 2010 ....
To this, in April 2012:
It was just a 5k ... but to me, it might as well have been the Olympics.
(In that 'before' picture, I was in Anne Hathaway's cottage garden in Stratford-upon-Avon in September 2010. I took a bunch of pictures of that orange shawl, all over Wales and England. You can see them here.)