This last year has been a changing one in several ways. I've adjusted to having two children rather than just the one. I've worried and celebrated and then worried again when we prayed Charming would get into a Physical Therapy School, and then when he was accepted, and then when we realized we were moving to North Dakota. I've dealt with some heavy emotional and minor medical issues. Right here I was about to trump this entire list by stating: "But the biggest thing of all...", but I don't think that either having a child or moving can be trumped that easily. Nevertheless, today I am feeling vain and would like to state that my favorite life-changing thing about this last year is my body.
Yes, that's right. My body. I don't say that to sound sensual--my body is anything but that. I say it because my body has become functional, and there's nothing more fabulous than a body that works for you.
I was never the athletic type and would rather have washed my mother's baseboards than play baseball--let alone run the "fun run" (a sick term the PE department from my school came up to enthuse the students into running their weekly mile in class). I wasn't chubby, nor was I slim--just your average girl who wanted to be skinnier. Still, I felt I had a handle on things and didn't think I was out of shape.
And then my shape changed. Two babies later and I had gained enough weight to equal the equivalent of both of their current bodyweights plus a sack of flour or two. Obviously I didn't like the way I looked, and even more hated the way I felt: in my clothes, sitting, standing, breathing etc. I was plain uncomfortable and I knew that had to change. My mother tells me this is where my strengths lie--in seeing a problem and using all I have to fix it. I knew it wouldn't be easy, and that I would want to quit several times over, but I was angry with myself for letting myself go that far.
I turned my frustration into determination. I signed up for Weight Watchers Online and made an exercise goal for each week. I got rid of my excuses and decided I wanted to be in shape more than anything else. I worked SO hard. I watched as the pounds slowly melted off as the weeks went by. I was shocked as the months passed and found myself buying workout equipment--an aerobic step, a stability ball, and small weights. I found my endurance level rising, my heavy breathing becoming calmer during my workouts, stairs were no longer a problem--and best of all, I could run around the yard with my children without exerting myself or pausing for breath. Yes, I lost a lot of weight. That's been wonderful and worth it for my self-esteem and my wardrobe. But even better is that I feel good. I have never been healthier in my life--never, not even in my teenage years.
So this morning I decided to do something I have never done before--something I never dreamed I would voluntarily do. I went jogging. Yup. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous. I knew I was in better shape than I've ever been, but that doesn't mean I'm in "great shape" by anybody's standards but my own. Even so, I began with a warmup and then headed out. It was exhilarating, moving under the speed of my own feet. It was overcast and there was a slight breeze, just right for a jog. I probably went for a 1/3 of a mile and then had to slow down to a walk. After a bit I bumped it back up again and went around the block a couple times. It was short, and kicked my trash, but it was a jog and I did it! Something I never thought I would or could do. For me this is the biggest milestone yet.
I intend to keep my new regimen up--short workouts five days a week and making small changes in my diet. That part is simple enough for me now, and worth the pain (yes, I still hate working out most days). Now, if I could only find a way to avoid future pregnancy weight gain. Surrogate, anyone?