I received an e-mail from Cathi asking me to talk about the very early days of my journey - specifically about exercising and what I ate.
Today I’d like to talk about exercise. I talk a lot now about my running and doing things like P90X, but back at the start of this journey, I was obviously not fit at all. I was pretty active, so I had some of a base, but I found out quickly how out of shape I was!
In late 2009 we bought a Wii and were having fun with the games that we were getting. In January 2010, they were selling a fitness game online called EA Sports Active for dirt cheap as an after-Xmas sale. I thought it looked fun so I bought it. It involved lots of different structured exercise routines. I did a basic routine and I think it called for 2 sets of 10 squats. My quads hurt SO BAD the next day I thought I was going to DIE.
But I kept up with it. And pretty soon I was able to do the basic workouts pretty darn well. As winter turned into spring I made a commitment to walk the dogs. We began taking the dogs for a walk every night when I got home from work. I began by walking slowly and only would go about 2 miles. But it was good for me and the dogs.
As summer came upon us, between exercise and eating better, I had lost about 30 pounds. I heard about Zumba. This was the first exercise DVD that I tried. I liked dancing and latin music, so I figured this was right up my alley. I think I made it 7 minutes the first time I tried it and was WORN OUT and turned the DVD off.
Once again, though, I kept with it. Soon I could make it through the 20 minute Zumba "express workout". So I moved on to the 45 minute Cardio Party. I began looking for new and different DVD’s to do. I like dancing the most, so those are the DVD’s I stuck to. I have to enjoy it to keep at it.
As summer turned into fall, I knew I would have a harder time being active as I wouldn’t be outside as much. So that’s when we bought the treadmill. We set it up so we could watch TV while using it. I also began using my lunch hours at work to do some simple Pilates and Yoga exercises.
I’ll give you the good news and the bad news about exercise. The good news first - exercise will help you lose weight! In addition to the calories you burn while working out, the fitter you get, the more muscle mass you have. Muscles BURN MORE CALORIES at all times over fat. So when you are fit, you burn more even while you are sleeping. Also, exercise releases all kinds of feel good chemicals in your brain. This means that you will be in a better mood, you’ll feel less tired and more motivated when you exercise. Also, you won’t be looking for UNHEALTHY food, packed with sugar and fat, to get a brain high - you’ll have it from exercising. Trust me, it will come IF YOU STICK WITH IT.
Here’s the bad news. Exercising when you are fat and out of shape SUCKS. It HURTS - really, really, really bad. I started running at 289 pounds and every bit of my body hurt. If you are doing it right, you will be grunting in pain and exhaustion. Your heart will feel like it is going to come out of chest and roll around on the floor. It isn’t easy. But if this were easy, EVERYONE would be fit and thin. So how bad do you want it?
Now some people have actual medical problems, and if you do, you need to work with your doctor.. BUT, most people don’t. I hear people all the time saying they have "knee problems" and that is their excuse why they can’t do this or that. BULLSHIT. You have a being fat problem, just like I had. OF COURSE your knees hurt. They are supporting 2X as much weight as they were supposed to take. My knees used to ache all the time. Now I do squats holding a 20 pound kettlebell and my knees don’t bother me at all. And I go "ass to grass".
I’ve said it before - Being fat is hard. Eating right and exercising is hard. CHOOSE YOUR HARD.
For Cathi and anyone else out there reading this, I’m sorry that I can’t give you an easier answer. You have to make a commitment to do this if you want results. That’s the way it works. But, you’ll have to trust this former 344 pound chick - it CAN be done and it does get easier.
I wish anyone who is feeling discouraged could get into my head and body for 5 minutes to see how GREAT it feels to be fit and thin after being fat forever. That feeling can be yours!! For a price, and you have to be willing to pay that price.