When my surgeon told me after my second hernia surgery that to avoid further operations, I had to lose 50 pounds, I countered with 75. And, I knew I had to make good on it. He recommended I find a dietitian to help get the journey underway.
“You’re going to want to get your heart rate up, and burn 500 calories a day, seven days a week,” was the advice given to start changing my life and be healthy once again. I set up a plan to start using a treadmill to begin the exercise regimen. I had one in my house, but I decided that going to a gym would help keep me accountable, and maybe eventually I could make some friends to work out with. I researched and toured a number of sports clubs in the area, and found the ideal one less than five miles from my house. I was so pumped, I felt ready to take on my gut and show it who was boss, but then… when I drove to the gym, my anxiety set in. However, I did follow the dietitian’s first bit of advice, albeit inadvertently…
My heart rate increased when I sat in my car in the parking lot. Though, the gym seemed like a good fit from the tour I was given, and the amenities offered, I still had anxieties about actually going inside to exercise. I was uncertain of what kind of people I would encounter, and feared that it would be all individuals who looked like they never had an ounce of extra weight to contend with. Despite my trepidations, I got out of my car, and headed toward the entrance.
It was just after dinnertime, and I had no idea if that meant there would be more or less people. I scanned my membership card at the front desk and since I was already dressed in my workout clothes, I went straight downstairs to the cardio room. Before me was a large array of treadmills, ellipticals and various other machines. I had that number “75” in my head, and I knew it was time to start cracking.
Stepping onto the treadmill, I thought about the second part recommendation from the dietitian, repeating to myself, “Burn 500 calories, 7 days a week… “ I had no idea how long one needed to walk on the machine to reach that goal, or what speed to choose. Selecting an hour-long workout, I hoped for the best. There was a mini television set attached to the front and I wished I knew to bring my headphones so I could watch something to escape my nerves for the hour.
A guy entered the room that was from head to toe solid muscle. I thought I was going to feel intimidated, but a surprising feeling came over me, determination. I said to myself, “I’m going to get there someday. Not tomorrow, not next year, but I will get there eventually.” I pressed the start button on the treadmill and took my first step. I kept going to the gym for the treadmill solely for a couple months, and I slowly started to see a change in my body. While my belly wasn’t shrinking yet, every once in a while, I felt ready to raise the speed and incline levels. It was a mountain I was climbing, and I was not going to look back at how far I had come until I reached the top. There was cloud cover over the summit, but I knew it was there waiting for me. I just had to believe in myself, and then I would be able to achieve it.
People often said to me, “I don’t see the point of a treadmill, you’re not really going anywhere.” Well, I respectfully disagree. Four and a half years since I first got on one at the gym, I’m still a member, and I have lost 71 pounds, gained numerous friends, and had the experience of a lifetime venturing out of that cardio room, and enrolling in numerous classes. Those adventures and more will be detailed in future blog entries, but just wanted to share this first step with you for now. And, hopefully, maybe, just maybe, someone reading this will get on a treadmill and feel like they are capable and ready to get going somewhere too.