Saturday, February 12, 2011

So, What is YOUR Excuse?

I hate sounding like an exercise evangelist. But the fact of the matter is, there really are so many benefits from exercising. In my personal experience, I've seen:
  • Getting toned. I haven't lost any weight, but I can see my body changing shape, clothes fitting differently.
  • More Stamina. If I am walking/hiking, I can go much longer without needing a break. (Unless I am properly hydrated and have to take potty breaks:-)
  • Better mental health. I notice this in general, but on weekends if I decide to be a slug and not get at least some cardio in, I tend to start feeling like Charlie Brown with those little dark clouds following me around. 
  • Better physical health. As mentioned in a previous post, I get sick much less, and when I do catch colds or have allergy attacks, I recover much faster. In fact, I recover from any kind of strain my quicker now. I walked the 1/2 marathon on Sunday and was back to the gym the next day. 
I try not to annoy people with proselytizing, but it's hard. It drives me nuts when people tell my why they can't exercise. Here are my favorite excuses that I've heard lately, and my responses:
  • Excuse: I can't afford a gym membership.
    • My Reply: Really? How much is your cable bill every month? I've never seen a cable bill that is smaller than a gym membership monthly fee.
  • Excuse: I don't have time to exercise.
    • My Reply: Really? How much time every day do you spend watching TV? If you cancel cable, you can knock out two excuses in one blow. And, you can watch cable/satellite TV at the gym -- all cardio machines have built in TVs.
  • Excuse: It's too cold/hot/raining out.
    • My Reply: Let me get this straight. You are paying $30/month to go to the INDOOR gym, but you can't go to the INDOOR gym because it is cold OUTDOORS? So tell me, how did you get to the grocery store/post office/anywhere else you went today? Did those things not involve going outside in order to get INSIDE?
  • Excuse: I don't know anyone at the gym.
    • My Reply:I didn't know anyone when I joined the gym either.  So I said "Hi" to the people I didn't know. You know what? I know them now.  But seriously, here is tip: Leave your iPod home now and then. I think I met more people the month I was without an iPod than I had in the previous 5 months of being a member at the gym. Wearing an iPod all the time can give people the impression that you don't want to be talked to, not wearing an iPod can do the opposite. 
  • Excuse: I don't feel good enough to exercise. 
    • My Reply: What doesn't feel good? If you have an actual ailment (the flu, anything contagious) then absolutely stay home and rest. If your doctor has told you that you cannot exercise,  then again, stay home till he tells you otherwise. However, if you are just tired, don't feel like getting up, don't feel like leaving the house, that is NOT a valid excuse. I have literally NEVER gone to the gym and felt worse after. The only times I have felt worse is when I give in to being lazy and blow it off. 
  • Excuse: I am too stressed out to spend time exercising.
    • My Reply: Whatever is bothering you, you will only feel worse if you sit and stew over it. You will always feel better if you take it out in the gym. Case in point: one of the best moments of my life was when some idiot broke my little heart, the trainer at the gym I was going to at the time taught me how to play racquetball.  I named the racquetball after the jerk and smashed the living crap out of it. I cannot tell you how much that did for my poor broken psyche.
  • Excuse: I hate going to the gym.
    • My Reply: So, walk outside. Get a Wii and play WiiFitness. Take a dance class. Take a self defense class. Your local rec center, church, or adult ed mostly likely offer free or low-cost activities. Heck, there might even be a web site that offers free activities that can get you out moving!
  • Excuse: I'm too out of shape to start. 
    • My Reply: No, you aren't too out of shape to start, you are too scared to start. Trust me on this one, the scariest thing I ever did as an adult was to walk into a gym for the first time (I remember this -- it was the Prospect Hill gym in Waltham -- I was terrified.)  But you know what? It wasn't that scary at all. The people were all really nice to me. But, even if you are too scared to go to a gym, you can start small -- remember my motto -- SOMETHING is better than NOTHING.  Here are some suggestions to get you started:
      • When you go to work or shopping, don't take the first parking space you see. Park further from the door every day.
      • When you go grocery shopping, only get 1/2 of what you need in each aisle, then go back and make a second lap.
      • Use your imagination. For example, pretend you are expecting a diamond shipment via US mail. Walk to your mailbox once every hour to see if they have come  yet.
So, now tell me -- if you are reading this -- have you exercised today? If not, WHY? If I haven't covered your excuse here, please tell me what it is, I'm dying to hear something more creative!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

1/2 Marathon Results

I did my 8th race today, my first ever 1/2 marathon. Here are the results of the last 8 races:
My time was a little higher than I had hoped, but given that George ran with me, causing me to stop for breaks than I wanted to take, I was pretty pleased with the results. The highlights of the race included:
  • No blisters! I used moleskin, and that really seemed to do the trick. I will definitely use that for all long walks in the future.
  • LOTS of encouragement:
    • I got a text last night from Heather that said, "GOOD LUCK! Power to the new sports bra and all that is contained within!" Made me laugh, which is one of my favorite motivators.
    • David and Beth were there to take pictures and cheer us on. Beth texted us encouragement throughout the race. David even went out in search of scissors and ice at 5:45 this morning for me, and had Starbucks at the finish line for me!
    • Dave and Alison from the gym surprised me at mile 12 to cheer me on for the last part of the race. (This made me cry, I thought it was the sweetest thing EVER!)
  • And most of all, cousin Amy kicked my butt to finish. I didn't want to quit, but I had cramping and bad back pain about mile 8. Amy didn't just cheer me on, she waited for me while I took breaks,  didn't even consider leaving me behind, and was WAY more patient with me than I ever could have expected anyone to be.
Thanks so much to everyone who supported me in this endeavor, I seriously love you all! 

I started this blog as a way to encourage other obese people to get out and do stuff. I really hope that someone reading this realizes the same thing that I have been lucky enough to have shown to me again and again: It is not being fat that keeps you from doing stuff, it's the voices in your head that keep you from doing stuff. I have been lucky enough to find people (all the way back to that day on Mount Monadnock with Wayne) to help me drown out the voices in my head. I hope some day that I can convince people reading this (Michael, I'm looking at you) that there is life beyond the couch. You just have to start, take one step at a time, and prove to that annoying voice inside that it is WRONG. I am living proof of it.

And, for those who need photographic proof, once again my adoring and adored husband photo-documented everything (click to enlarge pictures):

Me and Amy the night before the race in our official race t-shirts and hats. The hats were really neat. They were made out of this stretchy fabric that felt kind of like wearing underpants on my head. In a good way.

Me and Amy, before the race, warming up.
Cousin Beth, posting our pictures to Facebook.

David, doing our shin splint exercises with us.
Me and Amy, being goofy as we start the race. Notice my gatorade red tongue. I actually remembered to hydrate, I downed about 50 ounces before the race. Which was fine except there weren't enough porta potties for my taste.
Getting near the finish line. This is my favorite picture from today, I love Amy's "You GO GIRL" fist-pumping action.
Amy, crossing the finish line.
Me, crossing the finish line.
Having our official portrait taken.
Our official portrait by David.
When all was said and done, Amy looked like she could do another 13.1 miles. I looked like I wanted Amy to carry me to the car. But I was much better after the Starbucks my baby brought me.
So, I'm downloading the pictures and I come across this one. This store was across the street from the finish line. I asked David why he took the picture. He said, "Because it's Fudge! I like Fudge!" We didn't actually go here, but now that I've rested and drank more, my appetite is back and I kinda feel like I could eat the store!