Thursday, June 29, 2006 by Michelle

Inspiration (In`spi*ra"tion), n.
1: arousal of the mind to special unusual activity or creativity
2: arousing to a particular emotion or action [syn: stirring]

So when one of us steps out and actually does what we all know we "should"/could do and stays committed, it stirs others on to do those things too. Out of the ruts and excuses we get.

When I started working out last year, I was inspired by my mom; she was walking a lot, had lost 10 lbs and looked healthier than I had seen her in a long time. I thought "If my mom can do it why can't I?" Now it seems my road to fitness has inspired a number of friends, co-workers and relatives; if that isn't responsibility I don't know what is! It seems my new found enthusiasm for physical activity has helped people I care about in ways I never would have imagined. A year ago, you would never have convinced me I'd be doing everything I am right now, let alone enjoying it. For me, it has been the act of adding one thing at a time, getting used to that, then adding more. Incrementally. Others dive in, often returning to something they loved "back when they were fit." However it's done, the point is to do it!

What keeps me going? A big part is the way I feel physically and emotionally. I can do this; this isn't impossible for me; exercise is actually enjoyable - no one would have ever convinced me of that before. These things give me tremendous self-motivation. I'm also encouraged by my trainer Warren. And by how people are inspired by what I'm doing. Of course, Chris too (even if he is bewildered). Also, as many of you know, I'm a voracious reader. So off to the library I went and recently read Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running by Dagny Scott, which has helped me with my running (besides hounding Warren for tips/pointers); and Body for Life for Women by Pamela Peeke so I can incorporate strength training at home (this has been only marginal so far, but in time...). These books have helped me; let me know if there are books that have helped you too.

Finally, don't listen to the naysayers. You know them, the people who; tell us to do it all one particular way or why bother, get all anxious we're gonna injure ourselves, focus on the stuff that holds us back, or dredge up excuses we've had ourselves that have prevented us from getting started. Avoid them like they have the plague, or just be honest and tell them if feels like they're trying to sabotage your efforts. Then get into your running shoes and go.

Pondering the Scale

Monday, June 12, 2006 by Michelle

When I started working out a year ago, I decided there was no way I was going to allow the scale to dictate my progress, or my mood for that matter. It has had too much power in my past attempts at weight loss and I wanted this to be about fitness not weight. I already knew I was extremely overweight and I even knew approximately how much I weighed; I certainly didn’t need to be hit in the head with a clue-by-four to realize I was in need of exercise! Trying to dash down a couple of blocks last year proved that to me without a doubt; I thought I was going to die of a heart attack! And without the relentless feedback of the scale, I have done amazing things for my health and my body and have been able to feel good about it. The wretched beast called “I’m giving up because there’s no point if the scale isn’t going down fast enough” just didn’t exist, and I’m all the better for it.

Now that even my new clothing no longer fits me properly (this has been an expensive endeavour, let me tell you!), I had become curious as to what my weight was. Fitness books talk about BMI and how many calories a day you need, etc. and I just didn’t have a clue what I weighed. So I finally succumbed to stepping on the scale to find out what it had to say. This time, I knew I was in control and what it had to say wasn’t as important to me any longer. So without fanfare, I sneaked a peek last Friday. The result: even with the gain in muscle (much heavier than fat, that), there is 35 pounds of me that will not be a part of me again; it has been forever set free from the confines of my body. Holy shit is what I have to say about that! And I’ve gained a decent amount of muscle, so a whole lot more than 35 pounds of fat has disappeared.

So what have I learned this past year? Aside from escaping from 35 pounds of excess weight, I’ve learned to enjoy exercising and have embraced a healthier lifestyle. I’ve learned it’s true about what “they” say about exercise and nasty periods; it helps considerably to move my body when I’m feeling crampy and unwell. I’ve learned I’m capable and that it isn't too late to get fit. Believe it or not, I’ve even learned that running is quite enjoyable. I’ve learned that having muscle I can see and feel is absolutely delightful. And most of all, I’ve learned to honour my body.

Chris, on the other hand, is still wondering what the hell happened to his wife!


Thursday, June 8, 2006 by Michelle

Today was quite the "red letter day" for me. I started jogging early in the morning before work on Tuesday and Thursdays a few months back; this is in addition to my Sunday jog and my near-death-experience workout on Fridays. For those of you who know me well, you know that my getting out of bed by 6:30 a.m. is nothing short of a miracle!

Anyway, it has been frustrating jogging around that track lately; I've only been able to occasionally jog three to three-and-a-half laps before needing a rest walk, sometimes only two laps on a bad day. I do a total of six laps (1.5 miles; 2.4 km I understand - correction: according to Google Earth the track is much longer than usual, so it's more like 3.6 km), but that's usually with jogging, walking and a bit of running if I can muster it. Today I started slow and in fact it wasn't even my best time... but I did six laps without stopping! I even felt like I could keep going for a while longer, but didn't want to be late for work so didn't continue. To say that I was in an annoyingly good mood today is using understatement.

What's next, you may or may not ask? I'm going to add two laps on Sundays because it takes me 25-30 minutes to do the track now and it's time to make that a bit longer. That being said, I'm decidedly not looking forward to Sunday now. Let the gasping for breath begin!

Quilt of Belonging

Sunday, June 4, 2006 by Michelle

On Saturday, we (mom, husband, friend and I) went to the Surrey Arts Centre to check out the Quilt of Belonging (see their website here). It's phenomenal - very inspiring and amazing. Definitely worth the trek to 88th & the King George Highway, at least for those who live in the area and who appreciate textile art. The symbolism is fabulous and there are two books (one brief and one exhaustive) regarding the quilt.