Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Out of Shape

I hate to admit it, but I am really out of shape! It is so sad. I lost my baby weight very quickly (another post for another day), and I decided maybe I didn't really need to exercise as much. Oh, how wrong I was. I forgot that exercise is not always about weight loss. It is also about keeping your body healthy...your heart, your muscles...everything. I am quickly realizing that while I may not need to lose weight, I definitely need to exercise more!

I have taken being in shape for granted. You see, I can't even remember the last time it was this bad. I started gymnastics when I was 3. Yes, 3-years-old. I stayed in competitive gymnastics until I was 13. I quit gymnastics because I had finally reached middle school and was able to do basketball, cheerleading, and track. I eventually dropped basketball (everyone else kept growing...I did not), but I continued with cheerleading and track through the end of high school. Then, I even went on to do track in college. After college, Theron wanted to keep running. I figured, I was going to all these races anyway, so I might as well run in them, too. I started with 5k's, then half-marathons, and eventually, a full marathon in November 2009.  I took a little time off after my marathon to let my body recover, but after a few weeks, I was exercising regularly again.

Then, around the end of March 2010, I found out I was pregnant. I wanted to do everything I could to keep exercising throughout my pregnancy, and I did. However, the intensity was much less. I was able to run or jog for awhile, but eventually, it got uncomfortable, I had to pee every 5 minutes, and it just wasn't worth it. I walked almost every day, though, and even bought a "walk indoors" DVD, so I could walk when it was cold and nasty outside. I also did low impact exercises and used hand weights almost daily. By the end of my pregnancy, I was pretty pleased with my fitness level and how well I had done to at least stay somewhat in shape.

No one told me that the hardest part came after you had the baby. Sweet Will was born in November 2010. I knew I would have to take about 6 weeks off, so my body could heal and recover from the delivery. I didn't take into consideration that even after my body had healed I would be tired! And busy! And trying to figure out how to take care of a newborn! And, did I mention tired? I thought my 6 weeks would come and go, and I would jump back in right where I left off. Sometimes I am delusional. This was one of those times.

Now my baby is 4 months old, and here I am. The most out of shape I have been since I was 3-years-old. Seriously. I have been walking 3 or 4 days a week for a few months now and felt like I was still in pretty decent shape. Today, however, proved me wrong.

I decided I needed to add some variety to my exercise routine. Just walking was not enough. I was ready to regain my muscle tone, and I knew walking along could not do that. So, I put in the old Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD. I thought...just a 20 minute workout...this shouldn't be that bad. Then I died. I was aching and panting and holding my side and getting cramps in my legs. It was terrible! 

Then it hit me. This is why people don't exercise. It's hard. It hurts. It actually really sucks. I had not experienced these feelings in a really long time. So, even though I hate being out of shape, I'm kind of glad I'm going through this experience. I will get back into shape. I promise. But I will have to struggle through it just like everyone else starting from scratch. I hope this will help me to be more encouraging to people around me who may struggle with exercise. I also hope it will help me to be more understanding when people become discouraged and want to quit.

Getting out of shape stinks, and this is not just true of exercise. You can "get out of shape" in your eating habits, in your quiet time, in spending time with your spouse or your family. Exercise had become such a regular part of my life, I didn't realize the discipline, the effort, and the sacrifice it required. It had just become natural. Once I stopped, it was not a natural part of my life anymore, and I realized just how difficult it was to get started again. The same is true of all those other things I mentioned above (and just about anything else you can think of!). When you have a quiet time on a regular basis, it just becomes a natural part of your day. If you stop, even for just a few days, it is difficult to get started again. If you eat healthy foods on a daily basis, it just becomes natural for you to eat healthy foods all the time. If you take a break, it is often difficult to start consistently eating healthy foods again.

The good news may be difficult, but it's not impossible! I am going to get back in shape. It won't be easy, but I know it's something I need to do. If there's something you need to start doing again (or stop doing), I hope you will. I always find the most challenging things are the most rewarding. Now, let's get going!

1 comment:

  1. So true! Pre-baby weight and pre-baby body are two totally different things! I lost my baby weight in about 6 months, but it was really 9 months before I got into a good exercise routine and got my body back. It is a huge motivation for me to maintain a healthy weight and fitness level for life!