Over the years I have always been a very active person. When I was a toddler my mother used to tell her friends that I was very “busy” aka a messy kid who had to play with six toys at once. In high school I kept being busy with swimming, diving, badminton and volleyball; and the swimming and volleyball continued all the way through college. And then I stopped … er… everything all at once.
What happened? Oh right … I got a job and then a home and a life … and then I moved permanently to Bermuda with my luggage, a cat and about 20 pounds of personal blubber. (And you thought I was perfect – ha!)
For a while I sat on my little lump of shame reasoning that I was still thinner than most people and besides, it wouldn’t look so bad with a tan.
And what was the result? Nicely tanned blubber – not the look I was going for.
But I had a job and my life just kept filling up with reasons why I could not get to the gym. In fact it actually took an illness to get me to change my ways. I was off work at the time and when I was finally well enough to get off the sofa I was dying for fresh air so I went for a walk.
And the next day I walk a little further … and a little further. Suddenly I was buying running shoes and workout gear and looking for bigger hills to climb. I drove the route in my car to calculate my mileage; I got hand weights to carry. I was obsessed.
I lost 15 pounds and 2 dress sizes. I felt wonderful. And then I got a new job and moved to a neighbourhood with no sidewalks …
Yup. I stopped walking and quickly became very resentful that my free time had been taken away.
For months I lamented the loss of my walks and then I was sent to Santa Monica California on business where, due to the time difference, I had trouble sleeping. As I sat on my balcony watching the sun rise suddenly the beach in front of me was filled with rollerbladers, bicyclists and people walking dogs, and I thought “wow! Look at these people out exercising early in the morning – I wish I could do that.”
Then it hit me … “You idiot, you live three minutes from the beach – you CAN do this too.”
I went home and started taking morning walks on the beach near my house. I kept it up for a long time but between hurricanes and a broken toe that would not heal I eventually broke training and stopped going and now, once again, I am paying the price.
Or at least I was until this morning – I finally got myself out of bed and went back to the beach. My goal this time is simply to go. I am not “in training” and I really don’t know if I will lose any weight – that is not really the point any more.
I have finally learned that the secret to better health is simply to show up and pace myself. Watching the sun rise does me as much good as the exercise itself, and the sound of the wind and the waves is more soothing than any yoga meditation I know.
I have a lot of projects on the go at the moment, but I will keep up the walking no matter what happens this time because there really is no point in being too busy to take care of myself.