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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

Solace In Sweat

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. – John F. Kennedy

This is a very new revelation for me. As a person who stayed pretty drowsy during the years I was raising my guys, I never thought I would enjoy being more tired. There is certainly a difference between being energized through aerobic exercise and trying to figure out how once again, you will be able to keep three individual lives thriving while knitting a family.

A few years ago I set a resolution in motion to run a 10K. I don't know what possessed me, but I said it out loud in front of my guys. Now let me give you an accurate description of who I was then. I owned a gym membership and really enjoyed one class that worked on core strength. The class was filled with ladies who didn't want to get too sweaty, but wanted to get the benefits of an aerobic workout. There was lots of good camaraderie in the class. The gym changed the class listings and eliminated all of the 9 pm classes, which meant my favorite class was eliminated. In retrospect, I can see some good from it now because it forced me to look at the other classes. I was admittedly 10 pounds heavier than I was 9 months pregnant so I definitely needed to do something. Weight has a way of sneaking up on you. It’s just like that frog in the frying pan we learned about in high school science. If you throw the frog into a hot pan, he knows to jump out. If you place it in a cool pan and heat it up slowly, it will fry. So in my quest, I have really come to understand how mental this whole journey is.

Eating...a necessary activity, but the when, what, and how often are the key. When I was tired (most of the time) but needed to stay up longer, I would grab something to eat for fuel. (Two no-nos – eating late and eating off schedule)I had trained myself over the years to eat infrequently (When was there time to eat?) so my metabolism slowed down to a dull crawl. I have learned that I need to eat small meals several times a day to get to the metabolism moving. All three of my guys are athletic so when I announced this resolution, my youngest (the cross country runner) says, we can go on the trail tomorrow mom! Uh oh.

My typical approach was to walk up to the trail and then jog, but mostly walk. My son wanted to run to the trail and then run on the trail. At 30 lbs overweight, I just didn’t see that happening. We get to the trail and he sets a moderate pace. I am good for about 30 seconds and then I want to stop. My dear loving son starts encouraging me to keep going. There is a real dynamic going on here. I am the parent who encourages, cajoles, complements (sometimes using tough love) until we get the desired results. The roles are now reversed and I am acutely aware that I have to model the correct behavior. All the while, I think my heart is ready to jump out of my chest. I go as far as I absolutely can without passing out and my dear child looks at me with an alarming disappointment in his eyes and says “Mom, is that really as far as you can go?” If I didn’t know it before, this was confirmation that I was in really, really in bad shape. It was a combination of age, poor muscle tone, slow metabolism and not making time for myself. So now to remedy this problem - Instead of concentrating on the scale – it can be helpful and hurtful, I focused on my personal goals. The first goal was to get my stomach out of my lap. When I lay on my side, I felt like someone was lying next to me…not good. Between that and Mr. Jiggles that keeps moving after I stop moving…these are public enemies one and two.

Over the next couple of entries, I will share my quest to overcome myself and take proper care of myself.

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