With all of the irons I already have in the proverbial fire, you'd think I'd have learned by now to just say no, that I don't have time to do everything.. or something like that. But when I realized I felt like a very old woman in a fat suit, with me barely 30, just starting what was supposed to be the prime of my life, I knew I couldn't put it off taking care of my health any longer.
First, a little background. I am the fourth child of 10 children. My younger brothers and sisters came to me when they needed someone. And I understood them, spoke their language. And from then on I have been taking care of children that I did not bear but that I have great love for. A neighbor put it best: Children collect me. I help a child in need and then I am forever theirs, tied to their lives by strings of love. I can't quantify how much time I have invested in children. Maybe one way to put it is that I have potty-trained 17 children in 12 years. You may extrapolate from there.
I had never had any weight problems growing up, I never had to think of how much I weighed. I was athletic and busy and didn't sit still long enough to gain any extra weight. And then when I was married and pregnant with my oldest child health issues left me with 100 extra pounds. That stayed. No matter where I tried to leave them they just kept following me. Now 11 years later I still have those 100 extra pounds, plus 40 more that the years and two more children have graced me with. (Plus gray hair, but I have this little arrangement with Clairol.) I have tried dieting of all kinds with no lasting results, but never felt I had time to be as physically active as I was before having a family of my own.
Health issue after health issue has plagued me, and I am finally fed up. I could list my current health issues, but it is a long and rather boring list. I think I'll just leave it for now and mention them when they (inevitably) resurface to irritate me. So, I have been playing a game of catch up. But now, instead of trying to catch up with my kids, or trying to catch up with everyone that is passing me by, I'm just trying to catch up to myself. Trying to make the picture in my head of the me that can do anything match up with the real me that is slow and tired. One of these days the picture in my mind will match what the mirror says.
My Plan: Exercise. And blogging.
I have never had a problem with eating healthy, or eating too much. I probably eat less now than I did when I was an active teenager. But I need to be active now. So I have started exercising in the mornings. I walk, bike, and/or swim in the mornings. I walk three miles once a week, bike up to 7 miles, and swim for an hour. I know I look silly, but I always feel so much better after I exercise that I don't care HOW silly I look, I know it is good for me to do what little I am able. When I first started I didn't think I had time to focus on exercise by myself or with my kids, but I have found that what you focus on, you find time for. The best part of my new exercise focus has been walking daily with my kids to the pool, 2.2 miles a day,and swimming for an hour and a half as well. I know it is helping my kids to have more movement in their day, and the difference is visible. It's very gratifying to see that I have lost 13 pounds, but it is daunting to realize what a small amount that is when my Doctor says I have 132 more to go. But, numbers are not everything.
Why add blogging to it when I complain of never having enough time? Because for the past week I have not been able to drag my butt out of bed at 5am. And we have found driving to the pool during the day much more convenient than walking. There just isn't enough accountability between me and the scale or tape measure to keep me going. Just like it's easier for me to work up the courage to give blood when I have an appointment and know that someone out there will know if I don't show up and donate, I need that little extra bit of encouragement to keep me going. I will have to be accountable to you guys from now on and will remember you in the morning when I decide whether to hit the bike or the snooze button. So, in advance, thank you.
I need to get a camera working so I can get better pictures of what I really look like to other people.. but I have a recent one I can show. About a month ago I tried biking with friends. I only go about half their speed. The whole time I was trying to catch up with everyone else and just miserable. I have so much fun when it is just me and my bike and I can go my own speed. No more trying to catch up! Soon enough my speed will be a speed I can be proud of. But for now I am proud of just getting out there and doing it.
And now to let you guys in on a little secret: I'm training for a triathalon. Okay, so I don't know exactly when I'll be in good enough shape to do one, but that's my goal. And I don't care how long it takes me to get to the finish line, I WILL get there. Just try to catch me!