Becoming Fast Friends With A Former Nuisance: Exercise
Exercise and I haven't been on speaking terms for many years. I can remember seeing people out running and biking on purpose and I just couldn't imagine what possessed them. Doesn't that hurt? Are they sweating and breathing hard? That's not comfortable is it? At over 500 pounds my exercise routine was just existing. Just getting up and walking to the bathroom or the fridge was a challenge. If I had to go to the store, oh my, that was sometimes a little more workout than I wanted. I have the perfect career for someone who doesn't like or associate with physical activity: Radio personality. Yep, sitting in the same comfy, heavy duty studio chair while pushing buttons, talking, and presenting a radio show never really gets tiring physically, mentally sometimes, but I've never broken a sweat except when the air conditioner was in need of repair. My career has catered to me on a psychological and physical level. First, it's a career that allows me to hide behind a microphone, interacting and communicating with people who have no idea what I look like. On the radio, I look like whatever your imagination decides my voice looks like. And I'd like to think I have a slim and trim sounding voice. I obviously sound like a John Stamos or Tom Cruise lookin' kinda guy judging by some of the surprised reactions from listeners when we meet face to face. Secondly, walking down the hall to the next studio chair is about as physical as it gets, and even that was becoming a burden at over 500 pounds. Changing my mind about exercise has been much easier than I expected. First of all, I can only do what I can do. My approach has been a very natural progression. Even though I've always heard exercise “fanatics” say how good it feels, I never believed them until now. How could exercise feel good? Give me a break and a couch. But it does feel good after a while. I say “after a while” because I can't honestly say it felt good the first 30 days or so. The first week it actually felt kind of dangerous. I knew that I had to exercise if I wanted big time results. Knowing that didn't keep me from trying to rationalize not exercising “until I lose the first 50 to 100 pounds.” I quickly dismissed that nonsense because it was coming from a mentality that had kept me fat my entire life. I was simply trying to find an excuse to make it easier on me. And I decided that I had to steamroll excuses from the very start. Some might say that not exercising at over 500 pounds was a smart idea based on safety concerns, and in an attempt to make myself feel better about not exercising, I would've agreed with them completely. I couldn't allow my sedentary lifestyle and overall laziness effect my exercise decisions. To protect me from dropping dead, I just did what I could do, never any more or less. In the beginning it wasn't much, but it was for my size, and anything was better than nothing. Then I discovered something. I discovered that no matter how small the start, if you do it everyday you can't help but to progress, building endurance and stamina. And I have to say that it does actually feel good after a while. At first I only recognized the good as a feeling of accomplishment, but now it's much more than that. I use to roll my eyes when people would talk about “endorphin rushes.” Whatever, I thought. Boy did I think wrong. There is definitely a feel good chemical reaction that comes from exercising. Isn't it funny that I've heard experts and physically fit people say that for years, but until now I really didn't get it or even believe it? A good workout creates a natural high that feels groovy man, trust me. I'm far from an expert, and I have tons to learn about exercise and fitness, but I'm learning and doing it everyday. Consistency equals success pure and simple. Consistency plus insight from experts along the way equals greater results a little quicker. So I'm open to learning from the experts. I have to say that Dr. Amy, Mark, and Dana have been of tremendous value in helping me better understand exercise.
My workout today at the YMCA was on a different level. It must seem that I say that all the time, but seriously, this interval training is just amazing. I usually just set a pace and walk the same exact pace the entire time. Lately I've tried “interval training.” Walking with short burst of everything I have. Last night that “short burst” was 5.8 mph for 30 seconds, before dropping back to 4.0 for three minutes. Today I planned on “bursting” for 45 seconds at 5.8 mph, instead I pushed it to a minute. Every time that minute was up, I quickly backed it down to 4.0 or below so I could regain my composure for a bit before bursting forward again. I completed about ten “burst” during my hard two on the treadmill, you can watch one of them below. By the way, yes those are jeans I'm wearing, here's the deal: My “workout” pants (I have two pair) are about 15 sizes too big. I have to wear a belt around the top of them to keep 'em up. Those jeans are actually about 5 sizes too big. I don't want to spend too much money on new clothes until I absolutely have no choice. And I really don't care what I wear to workout, as long as I'm covered and I get a workout.
I've also posted a picture of me with Debbdimples. Her name is Debbie and she's my cousin. She's read this blog from the very beginning and has been one of my biggest cheerleaders. Her comments on the myspace version have been fantastic. She's made me laugh, she's made me really think, and she's been extremely helpful with advice and wisdom along the way. She's experienced weight problems in the past, but has now successfully changed her life and health for the better by losing the weight. She looks fantastic! With people like Debbie in my corner, it's hard to go wrong. Thanks Deb!
We had a fantastic meal tonight at home. I cooked beef tacos and taco salad. And despite my usual weirdness when it comes to lettuce at home, I enjoyed lettuce on all three of my tacos! I loaded up on the salsa too! They were incredible and low in calories. Low calories (148 per taco) and high flavor and satisfaction, now that's what I call a good “calorie value” food! By the way, an MSN.com story caught my attention tonight. The story was about changes you can make to your daily food intake that will save you 100 calories or more. The picture they used was a bowl of ice cream and the headline “drop the cone, eat the ice cream.” They really should have been more specific in the article. They were obviously talking about sugar and waffle cones, not cake cones. Sugar cones are typically about 110 or so calories, and waffle cones can be anywhere from 75 to nearly 200 calories depending on the size. But cake cones run anywhere from 15 to 25 calories depending on size. So go ahead and eat the cone too! I do all the time with my low-fat vanilla soft serve. I don't do the sugar and waffle cones because I don't want to invest the calories in them, but cake cones? Absolutely, every time! Have a wonderful Sunday. Good night and...
Cousin Debbie and Me. Readers of the myspace version of this blog know her best as “Debbdimples.”
Movin' on up to 5.8 mph, for just a minute...several times throughout the walk/jog.