Total honesty time here. I always felt like I had to lose a little bit of weight before I could start exercising. I had so much weight on my petite 5’2 3/4 frame and suffered from chronic back pain. In the past when I tried to exercise one of two things would happen: I’d either end up in a lot of pain and be immobilized for a few days or I’d become upset with myself because I wasn’t capable of finishing any of the workouts I started.
When I resolved to lose the weight in January 2017, I knew that I wasn’t capable of adding structured exercise into my daily routine. Trying to find the time to prepare our meals at home was eating up enough of my time. Throw in homeschooling two, nursing another, and all the other crazy life stuff we had going on, I just didn’t have the time for structured exercise. I wanted to be successful long term so I started with small, daily movement and decided that later on down the line when I felt like I was ready, I could add formal exercise into my routine.
I take this approach with many things in my life. I didn’t just jump in and start making chicken broth from scratch, homemade almond milk, and refried beans on Day 1. I started gradually replacing things. When I had adjusted to my new schedule and felt confident, I’d add something else.
It’s taken me an entire year but I finally feel like I’m ready (and excited) to add exercise into my routine. After losing 125 pounds just eating real food in modest portion sizes, I feel like I have a handle on the food part. Now I want to work on my stamina, endurance, and strength.
I don’t want to be skinny, I want to be strong. It took me a long time to get here but I know that’s because I waited until I was ready and for that reason this will be a change that will last.
I started interval training last Saturday. All that means is that I spend 5 minutes warming up (brisk walk), and then alternate between running for 1 minute and briskly walking for 1 minute 30 seconds. After 15-20 minutes of this, I have a five minute cool down. That concludes my run.
After my first workout on Day 1, I was super discouraged. I only made it 10 minutes due to some unforeseen inclines that wore me out fast. It was the first time I tried to run in about 10 years and it took its toll. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I gave up in the middle of the workout and went inside. I laid in bed for two hours waiting for the nausea to subside all the while wondering why ANYONE would EVER subject themselves to such torture. Not knowing that what I did was just about the worst thing you could do post workout!
So on Sunday I did. I tried again. Day 2, I took everything you said into account and made it through my ENTIRE workout! After my workout was done, I was tempted to repeat the whole workout again. I felt like I was on top of the world!
On Monday Day 3, I woke up raring and ready to go. I had some errands to run but was excited to get to my run all day. After I got home, I put on my running shoes and I started with a grin on my face.
I was surprised that the workout wasn’t as easy as day 2. My muscle were still a little fatigued and I was battling some pretty heavy winds. About 7 minutes in, I started watching my phone to track the workout. Smile gone, legs jello-y, I was just trying to to get through the rest of it.
Every time my phone said “RUN!” I thought, “not again!” It was rough and I barely made it to the cool down phase.
As I began my cool down, I started to notice several things. My breathing began to return to normal, my heart rate slowed, I started to feel less “I’m going to die”, and started to feel super happy. By the end of my cool down I felt incredible!
That first day in the middle of my workout, I stopped when things got rough. I didn’t give my body any time to cool down or return to normal. I quit and it made my recovery so much more difficult.
In my life I’ve faced hardship. On the 5th of March, it’ll be three years since we lost our son. I’ve struggled with depression, despair, and grief like I never knew existed. I could have stopped there in the midst of my devastation. I could have lived in it.
But something told me that the ‘cool down’ was right around the corner, a chance to acclimate to my new circumstances, and learn to breathe again.
I didn’t stop in the middle of my struggle when my knees were buckling and my breathing labored. If I had, I’d never have been able to experience all the excruciatingly beautiful things on the other side of my cool down.
Whatever is in your way, whatever’s making your legs like jello and your breathing harsh, please know that you are stronger than you could have ever imagined. If you hang on and push through, there is relief and joy on the other side of that mountain.
If you’re on Day 1 or Day 101, my advice to you is: go at your own pace. Don’t give up when things get hard. Perseverance and persistence will yield the best results and bring you to places you never could have imagined.
Thank you for all of your support, wisdom, and unwavering friendship. It’s only been four days but I’m excited to see what the future holds. I love running more than I ever thought I could, which was not at all. In my limited retrospect, I probably love the way running makes me feel about myself, not the actual running itself!
If you have a structured routine that works for you, let us know below! I’d love to know what exercises you are doing!
I’ll keep ya’ll updated on the changes I see now that I’m adding in formal exercise! Click here to subscribe to receive updates!