Cankles to Ankles - Fitness for Sloths
The second goo-ball of an idea that I needed to tackle before I started WW was to decided how I was going to exercise. In the WW plan, fitness points = more food points. So the more you exercise, the more you can eat. And who wants more snacks? ME!! Who wants a snack sized bag of cheddar cheese goldfish? MEE!! Who wants a fun-sized TWIX bar? THIS GIRL!! So I had to exercise, somehow.
Now, as a proud and noble sloth, my physical movement is limited and clumsy. I am not "sporty" nor am I built for sports in general. My people are short in stature, hairy, have short legs, wide hips, strong backs, low centers of gravity, strong appetites, hearty immune systems, and are generally built to bear heavy loads over great distances and survive natural disasters. Who is built to survive the ice age? The women in my family.
No really. Upon DNA testing, my aunt found that we share a larger than usual portion of our DNA with the neanderthal man they found frozen in the ice; well, we share a larger than usual portion of our DNA with one of his female ancestors. Regardless, my people are built for survival in an ice-age like environment, thus, it is SUPER easy for us to gain weight and twice as hard to lose it. Our bodies think we are in a perpetual state of starvation and thus hoard calories and store fat like pre-hibernation grizzlies.
To burn off calories (and earn more food), I needed to find an exercise to start with, do consistently and one I didn't completely hate.
I have always wanted to be able to run but am in no way built for it. In fact, I struggled as a kid to keep up running with other kids in gym class. My chest would always kind of seize up and it would feel like I was breathing in eucalyptus (a kind of cold feeling) would surround my lungs. But I was told by medical professionals that if I wasn't wheezing, that it wasn't asthma. So I just struggled on thinking that I was just an unfit kid who needed to get more exercise. But I have always wanted to be able to run. So that became my goal: I wanted to be able to run.
But not outside. On a treadmill..safely indoors.
I also decided to see my doctor. Turns out I have exercise induced asthma. So an inhaler will help the whole breathing problem I was having.
Why not outside? Running outside just seems to pose a lot of risks. You know who finds dead bodies along the side of the road? People who run outside. Do you know who gets kidnapped by being pulled into a white van? People who run outside. Do you know who gets accosted by various ruffians? People who run outside...that's who!
I started small, running 1/4 of a mile on the treadmill at a time and walking 1/4 of a mile until I completed a mile. And running was probably a generous term. But I slowly increased my distance by 1/4 mile at a time over several months until I was able to run a mile without even breathing hard. Then, 2 miles with no problem.
Have you ever seen the 1967 film of bigfoot walking into the woods? That is kind of how I run, I guess, according to my husband.
According to my mother, "When Erin runs, it is not a pretty run, if you know what I mean."
SOOO supportive. Anyway, it was baby steps over the last 9 months or so and, as of this posting, I am running 4 miles at a time.
Now, why did I not want to tell anyone about the running? First of all, there were some hurdles (a running pun! Totally intended). There will be another post called "Don't be that Guy" which will detail how to be supportive and not an asshole to a person who is trying to lose weight...there is a fine line and I want to draw it in that post, not here.
I did not want to deal with any crap if I couldn't hack it. If I couldn't overcome my anxiety and various other issues in order to run, I didn't want it to be framed as "just another thing at which I had failed."
More specifically, since I look a little funny running (apparently- see the sasquatch comment above), I was pretty self conscious. So I had to overcome that anxiety and get used to running in front of people at my local Y. If I couldn't do it because of that, i didn't want to deal with any crap.
Now, again, I assumed my husband would figure out what I was doing since I was coming home sweaty and whatnot, but again, men don't notice things. Don't fret though, eventually, fitness became something we did together. We both found our preferred exercise and could work out together or separately - it depends on what the kids are doing.
65 lbs lost later and I am still running 4 miles, three times a week and continue to increase by 1/4th to 1/2 a mile at a time. I don't have a set goal or anything. I am not all like, "I want to run the Boston marathon." I just want to be able to chase after my kids, a purse snatcher, or after an ice cream truck if I have to.