Friday, February 17, 2012

You gotta move.... Exercise post VSG surgery

It is exactly one month to the Warrior Dash!!! I am terribly excited and overwhelmed! This is the first time I have ever committed to something like this, that is so different from the old me. Something outside of my comfort zone that requires weeks and weeks of commitment to accomplish. And I am very excited to be doing it with my friends Kyle (oh my friend - the path we have walked together!), Karina (working out with you last year was the foundation to my current workout regime) and Noel(you inspire me with your never changing positive attitude!)

Oh the love hate relationship I have with exercise.

I love being active. I never allowed my size to hold me back, even as a kid. I did tap dance, ballet, cheer leading, and rode my bike down Braes Bayou while my dad jogged. When I started getting involved in theatre, I hand-jived and chorus lined with the best of them. I will admit that I threw myself into these activities in a futile attempt to pretend to be normal - "See.. I am not fat.. I can do this just like YOU!!"

Over the years, most of my attempts at dieting always started with exercise. I would convince myself that if I could first get moving again, my body wouldn't feel so deprived when I started modifying my diet. It was my way of easing into the changes. And usually I would hit the plan hard. I would walk for 45 minutes or so 3-5 times a week. It worked well for me because I love to listen to my music and I love to wander. I learned more about my neighborhoods here and in New York by just walking around. I talked with God, thought things through, came up with plans, listened to that voice deep down inside.

SO - walking. Lots of walking. That was it. I convinced myself that I was giving it my all. But guess what - nothing changed. Yeah - I felt better. I lost 10-15 lbs. But it was never life changing.

Fast Forward to early 2009. I was done. I could no longer pretend that I was not fat. I could no longer hide behind "Oh it's just holiday weight" or "I'm a big boned plus sized woman, I am supposed to be this way!" No - I was fat. I was uncomfortable in my skin fat. So I emailed Kyle - I wanna try out for the biggest loser. His response - me too. I said, I am serious. He said - me too. And we did - see here , here , and here . But we didn't get picked.

Fast forward to Fall 2009 - joined the YMCA - more walking. This time inside on a hamster wheel. Would eye ball the other machines - but could not convince myself to go there unless no one was around. Eventually made it to the other machines. But success was slow. I was healthier, but not skinnier.

Fast forward to January 2011. This is it - do or die. I will make a commitment to myself and make serious changes. I made appointments to meet with the weight loss MD and set myself up on an exercise plan and come hell or high water, i was sticking to it. And I did. And I lost 30 lbs before surgery.

Surgery came - and I actually missed the gym. I didn't have the stamina to go from the bed to the chair, so treadmills and elliptical were certainly out of the picture. 3-4 weeks after surgery, I was already rehearsing for the summer show, so the gym wasn't going to work. No problem. This where Karina, Kyle, Noel, Tamarie and a few other great people in the show come into the story. Karina (a fitness instructor) agreed to work out with us 2-3 times a week before rehearsal. AWESOME!!! And the really great part of this story, this is where I started to break out of my shell when it came to exercise. We did lots of cardio, ab work, combat work, intervals. It was awesome!! And I could do it. I may be slower, my stamina wasn't as great as the others, but I did it. I wasn't just walking anymore.

After the show closed, I was more focused on variety. Still committed 5-7 times a week. I was educating myself on heart rates, and strengthening, and stamina. And I noticed... I was stalling. I was losing crazy weight because of the surgery, but the workouts were getting easier, so I wasn't getting the same hard, sweaty results.

So I did the unthinkable in my world. One Saturday morning, Edge of Glory came on Pandora and the craziest thing happened. I found myself hitting the speed/pace button... higher and higher... until damn it if I wasn't running... on purpose... with no one chasing me. I only made it a minute or so, but I did something I swore I would NEVER do. And it felt great!! Walk for 3-5 minutes, run for 1-2 minutes. Nice.

I told myself, I wanna start running. Really. I want to do the Warrior Dash. I have seen many friends all over the country do them and post pictures. I want to do that. I WILL DO THAT!

Text Kyle - I wanna do the warrior dash. Kyle - okay. Becky - I am serious. Kyle - me too.


So now I have stepped it into serious gear!!! I am running 3 times a week, taking two cardio interval and combat classes. I still even manage to get some long distance walking in on my "rest" days because my family (especially the boys) are in on the new game too! I have made the commitment to myself and refuse to stand down. I schedule my life around this because I refuse to let life get in the way this time. My schedule is on the fridge and everyone knows. This is the new me. This is what is important. This is my focus. I stand in the classes, staring at myself in the mirrors, and I honestly have no clue who I am looking at. I am dripping in sweat throwing blows and side kicks to the old me, pushing her further and further away.

And I love it. It feels so good to be exhausted at the end of the day. It feels great to get home, shower and know I gave it my all today. And even on the days when I am not into it at all, if I can just get my shoes on, I am already done. The hardest part on those bad days is reminding myself how great I am going to feel afterwards. Let me make this clear... I don't like running. I get no runner's high, there is no euphoria. My euphoria comes afterwards, the pride in the accomplishment, when cold and viruses are all around me and I am in perfect health, when going up and downstairs is nothing, when I see results, when total strangers at the YMCA stop to tell me how amazing I look or ask me what I am doing because they have seen me coming and going for awile and notice the results.

It has not been easy. The battle in my head between the "you're not good enough girl", and the "shut up and move girl" has been loud and long. But this battle is necessary. The surgery was a tool. A wire your mouth shut tool. It helps you to lose a lot of weight fast. But if you do not take that gift and make serious changes, nothing is going to change. You will get a few good years, but nothing will change.

So go.... MOVE.... do what you can... and then do what you think you can't... because you can!! Stop making the excuses and MOVE. A LOT. You may not thank me today, or even next week. But I promise you will thank me next month, this summer, or next year! I would like to say it seems just like yesterday, but it hasn't. It has taken 2-3 long years to make this change and I have felt every ache along the way, but I am thankful that I kept moving because if I hadn't I would be where I am today.