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Too Heavy to Workout?

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I used to have so many doubts about myself and my abilities. When I first started trying to change my life (March 1, 2012) I thought I was too heavy, too old, too clumsy and too out of shape to exercise. Which is funny, considering that I'd belonged to a women's gym for about 5 years or so. But I would go to that gym and then go about doing the circuit in a wimpy sort of way. I didn't put much "umph" into the workouts, and I would skip several of the machines because they were too hard. I would say "Oh, I can't use that machine, its too hard on my knees." Or "I better skip that machine today, I might strain a muscle." And I would completely avoid anything that might possibly make me sweat or start to breathe hard!

But last year, I decided to make a change. I was so tired of being obese! It was ruining my life and my health. When you're so overweight that it hurts just to sit and watch TV, when you're so fat that you get out of breath by simply turning over in bed at night....well, you know you're in trouble, and that you're WAY past due for a change. Thats the shape I was in last year, and all the while I was paying monthly fees to a women's gym and not really getting any advantage from it. I had no one to blame but myself, though. No gym is going to help you lose weight if you don't push yourself with the workouts. And no gym is going to work if you stop off for a large milkshake on your way home from your "workout"!

So I decided to quit the women's gym, and to start working out at home. Problem was, I thought I was too fat to really exercise! But I knew, deep down inside, that I HAD to push myself. I knew that if I wanted results, I had to stop wimping out on my workouts. The first part of "workout" is WORK, after all!

Of course, at 286 lbs, I had to start off slowly. I was aware that if I pushed myself too hard at first, I would burn out quickly, and give up. So I allowed myself to be a baby! By that, I mean that I started out as a beginner, taking baby steps. My first at home workouts were with a video game for Wii, called My Fitness Coach. I liked it because in a lot of ways, it reminded me of the aerobics classes I used to take back in the 80's. (I can still remember how hot I thought I looked back then, in my leotard, leg warmers, high top pink Reeboks and headband, lol.) So it was familiar to me, and challenging too. When I started out, my goal was to workout for 15 minutes. Well...that was surprisingly hard for me! I was a bit shocked by the fact that I COULDN'T workout for 15 minutes! Even though I was modifying the moves and going at a slower pace, I still had to pause the workout every 5 minutes, and rest for a few moments before I could resume it. My first goal was to just get through 15 minutes without having to rest!

It was humbling and embarrassing to be so darned out of shape. I was ashamed of how I'd let myself go. But I knew that this was just my starting point, and if I stuck with it I'd get better. Eventually, I was able to workout for 15 minutes without pause, and then I increased my time and intensity. Little by little, I worked my way up to a 45 minute workout, and I was so proud of myself! I started to feel more positive, and I even dared to think that I could do other workouts. Yoga had always interested me, but I thought I was too fat and not flexible enough for it. But I decided to try it anyway. And yes, at first it was extremely difficult for me. But I didn't give up....I practiced yoga every day, and I got stronger. I got flexible. It was actually pretty darned amazing to me to realize how much I was improving.

Now, a little over a year after I first started, I still amaze myself sometimes. I used to spend my days sitting around, eating junk food, and wishing that I could "someday" get in shape. I was just wasting my time and wishing my life away. Wishing never got me anywhere, but getting up off of my butt sure did. I stopped waiting for my wish to come true, and I got up and made it come true. I've lost 71 lbs, and although I still have a lot more weight to lose, I am healthy and I am fit. I am strong. I do workouts now that are far from wimpy! I do cardio with the stability ball, I do DDP Yoga, I do beginners kettlebell workouts...and who knows what I'll be able to do in the future? I feel like just about anything I want to try is possible for me to do.

If you think you're too heavy to workout, you're wrong. Almost anyone can exercise in some form. There are even chair workouts, you know. And even if you can only workout for 5 minutes...or 2 minutes....then do it. You can build from there. But you have to start. Start where you are, and allow yourself the chance to improve and to amaze yourself.

There are a little over 220 days left in the year. The time is going to pass, regardless of what you do. So you can choose to do nothing, or you can choose to start improving.

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