From Lazy to Crazy About Fitness
Imagine if you will, eating like you haven’t got a care in the world, and acting like life couldn’t be better. You’re eating so much you don’t even know when you started and can’t get yourself to stop. Then, the pain begins to settle in … a sharp, searing pain that makes you double over. You don’t know what it is, so you take antacid thinking it might do the trick. Then, you realize, you eat a lot of cheese, so it’s got to be lactose intolerance, right? A doctor wants to treat you, and even they’re uncertain what is ailing you. You go to work, and a couple hours into the shift, pain is so intense you can barely stand up let alone function enough to do your job at one hundred percent. It’s time to go to the Emergency Room, and find out what’s wrong. The doctor comes in, feels your belly and she knows… it’s a hernia, a ventral hernia, and you’re going to need surgery.
In the time leading up to the surgery, you take it easy, which means you don’t work, and you just sit around watching television all the time and surfing the web. The day before the surgery, you aren’t to eat anything, you have to drink this liquid cleans you right out. It’s disgusting, awful, and you wonder to yourself how you ever let yourself get into this position. But, there is a silver lining, just a quick laparoscopic surgery, and you’ll be good to go. No pain, just a quick recovery, and life can go back to normal, right?
Wrong, well, for me at least. After my surgery on that wintry day, I was told my condition was much worse than suspected, and one-third of my large intestine breeched my abdominal wall. This meant it took more than a couple small incisions to fix me. Instead, they gave me one large one, and it left me with a scar to remind me of my poor health choices forever. A year and a half later, I had to have a second surgery for a variety of reasons. Thankfully, that one was the laparoscopic type. My surgeon told me in order to prevent future hernias; I ought to lose fifty pounds. I countered and said I would lose seventy-five. What I didn’t know then was I would begin to make good on that pledge right away. And, I have never looked back.
Just four months later, I started walking on a treadmill in my living room used previously solely as a place to hang my clothes. Before long, I was on it a couple times a week. Though just doing this wasn’t enough to drop a substantial amount of weight, it felt good to burn calories in the hundreds in a single burst. I sought consultations from dietitians to help me figure out a plan to begin a fitness quest. They urged me to stay within a certain caloric range due to my height and weight and one suggested that I do the treadmill seven days a week, burning five hundred calories each day, so that at the end of the week, I could burn thirty-five hundred, the equivalent of one pound.
Then, after just over a year of walking in place, I knew I had to get somewhere with this goal. I checked out various gyms in my area to get the right fit for my needs. After researching for a few days, I settled on one that seemed to have a very fun atmosphere and two pools; one indoor and one outside. Before long, I made a habit of going there a couple mornings a week to go swimming, and walking the treadmill in the evenings. Still, I felt self-conscious, but when I lost my first five pounds, I started to feel that this battle with my weight and self-esteem was winnable.
Some time passed, and I got involved in two activities that I never thought would be a part of my life; hula hooping and yoga. Hula hooping was fun. I went from the hoop falling to the floor right after starting to using it in my toast at a wedding a few months later. I began my toast, attempting to spin the hoop around my waist, which proved quite difficult in a tux, and decided instead to spin it over my head alternating from one hand to the other as I went through the story of the courtship and evolving relationship of the couple getting married. I finished up the speech by giving them a custom made hoop that I commissioned my instructor to make for them with their names, the wedding date, and the song title “Circle of Life” timed to play just as I presented it to them.
Yoga also became more than just exercise for me. It became a sanctuary where I could leave all my stress, frustrations at the door, and I started to find flexibility and coordination I never knew was possible. Back pain that had been an issue of mine for several years dissipated completely doing all the different poses. Also, I dropped a little bit more weight, but most importantly I found my confidence. A classmate and a few of her friends encouraged me to try Zumba, and though I was never much of a dancer, heck, I’m still not, I took them up on their invitation.
The Zumba instructor and I became fast friends and I asked her all sorts of questions about fitness and dropping weight. She taught me so much I never knew about the benefits of weight lifting versus cardio, and more. I started to take other classes she taught, which worked my core and abs. I was soon doing yoga, Zumba, and three abs classes a week. Then, she recommended I use the free session with a personal trainer the gym membership included.
Seeing a personal trainer would have been really daunting six and a half years ago, had I went immediately after my first hernia surgery. It would have been somewhat intimidating if I talked to one when I began hula hooping. Now, with going on three years of steady exercise of several varieties behind me, I was ready to take the leap. That didn’t stop me from having butterflies though.
After my first session, I was hooked, before I knew it, I was taking on a few personal training appointments a week. I was doing Upper Body – Pull, Upper Body – Push, and Lower Body, each one or two days a week. Almost immediately, I was dropping lots of weight do to all the lifting I was doing, in addition to the other exercises.
It feels like a lifetime ago when I was lying in my hospital bed with my surgeon telling me to lose fifty pounds, and my countering with seventy-five. Honestly though, it has been a lifetime ago, I abandoned that life, and started this new one, this one of good health, exercise, and positive outlook. And, to date, I have lost seventy-one pounds. I still have four more to lose to reach seventy-five, but I have since amended my goal with my personal care physician and we both agreed on a certain number. I have less than half of what I have already lost to reach this new milestone. And, now thanks to all that have stood by me, taught me, trained me, and most of all believed in me, I know I can do it. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s absolutely true, I believe, if I can do it, so can you. Just seek out the proper help and guidance and you’ll be well on your way.
Once I hit this goal, I’m going to undergo training to become a motivational speaker and more of a fitness expert, so that I can help others like me who struggled with weight issues, stuck in neutral and feeling helpless. If I can help one person before it’s too late for them, I will consider it a success.