This is my second day back on my exercise program with my classes at the gym after three weeks without classes. I have been running my girls around to swim classes, meeting up with friends, going to the pool, and visiting my mom in CT, so the days have really flown by, but I have really missed going to my exercise classes. Life seems to have taken over. But, I am learning a lot about myself in this transition to maintenance.
First, I am beginning to realize how much I rely upon my exercise classes for stress relief, pain relief for my herniated disc in my back, and socialization. I did not skip exercising all together for the last three weeks (except for last week in CT), I went to the gym to run and do some strength training before I took the girls to the pool for swim lessons for two weeks. But it was not the same workout. I do not seem to push myself as much as I do in a group class. I challenge myself more in the group classes and I love that we are all in it together. We complain about the pain and the soreness the next day and groan about what is to come. Yet, week after week the same core group of people (some have been there for years and I am still a newbie) come to classes each morning and we challenge each other just coming to the classes each day. I really enjoy it and these last three weeks away have made me realize how much I enjoy these exercise classes.
Today was my first day back to boot camp class and I am still sore from Monday's step and sculpt class, but I dragged my way through and even surprised myself with how many push ups I completed. (8 sets of 8 for a total of 64 "real" push ups; this is a first for me!!!) This leads me to my second realization about my Spark journey and maintenance transition, I love challenging myself to new physical limits. This is the first time in my life that I can say I enjoy pushing myself. My husband and I bought new bikes last year with trailers for the girls and we bike up and down the hills in our neighborhood. We took the bikes with us on vacation and used them as our main source of transportation. We are even looking to do a bike race before the summer ends. Moreover, I completed my first 5K in April in 34 minutes. Since then, I have increased my speed and time and I can run a 10 minute mile without losing my breath. I am truly enjoying this change in my mental outlook and in my life-style.
Finally, my food choices are starting to become second nature. I am still tracking because I do not trust myself completely, but when I was at my mom's last week, I was proud of my food choices and stayed in my maintenance range that week even without exercise. Moreover, I am becoming accustomed to when my body has had enough to eat and that feeling of fullness before I eat everything on my plate. Coming from an immigrant family where I taught to eat everything on my plate because it would be waste, I am learning to leave it if I feel full. Now, I take less and get more of something if I feel like having a bit more. I do not feel like it is a waste if it is not eaten because I do not like that overly full feeling. I am now throwing out cookies and pastry if it was left over and not eaten. I can tell you, throwing food out did not happen 9 months ago when I began this journey.
Ultimately, when life took over, I found a way to keep myself in check for three weeks and maintained my weight. After some reflection, I am pleasantly surprised about this change in myself because I wondered when it would happen. It seems that this life-style change is creeping up on me slowly. I'll take it and I am excited about challenging myself in the future because I know I can do it!