Last fall, I had gotten to the point where I couldn’t even walk a couple of blocks without being out of breath and having my calves and back hurt. It was truly humiliating if I ever had to walk with anyone else and have them hear how out of breath I got from such mild activity. I couldn’t even hold a conversation with someone while walking at a leisurely pace. In fact, more than anything, there was a particularly incident in September where this happened that was what made me realize that I had to do something about my weight. I couldn’t just avoid stepping on the scale and pretend everything was fine.
Ironically, though, it’s the memory of that which has made it hard for me to start exercising again. Not that I’ve ever been good at exercising, but I’ve really been avoiding it this time because I’m afraid it will be such torture. Even though I see the scale plummeting downwards, I actually don’t feel most of the time like I have lost any weight. I look in the mirror, and I don’t see a change. I still wear the same shirts (although I know they must fit looser, even if I can’t tell it, and I have gone down a size in pants). I still consider most booths my mortal enemy.
But I recently got an unexpected reminder that yes, I HAVE lost weight, and that that actually affects more than just how I look. Yesterday was my daughter’s dress rehearsal for her dance recital this weekend. She has serious dreams of becoming a professional dancer, so she takes a lot of classes, and this year, she has 7 dances in the show. Because she has so many but is also too young to fully handle changes by herself (especially the several quick changes she has), I was allowed to come back stage at several points tonight.
However, in this particular venue, the route from the dressing rooms to backstage involved several flights of stairs, usually about 18 or 24 steps, depending on where you were coming from. Now last fall, doing the 6 up to our bedrooms or the 6 down to our basement in our trilevel would have winded me just slightly. 24 stairs would’ve been enough to force me to stop at the top for a minute or so to catch my breath.
But not last night! I hauled up and down those steps at least 15 times, I would guess. And without a doubt, my legs felt like jello by the end of the evening! That’s to be expected since I haven’t been exercising regularly. But the big victory is that I was only a tiny bit out of breath each time I had to climb them – little enough that I could and did carry on conversations while climbing them. I didn’t need to stop and recover at the top, even the time I practically ran up and down them because Maggie had forgotten we were supposed to be doing a quick change in the wings, so she’d gone back down to the dressing room – meaning that I had to run down them to get her and then right back up them!
Obviously, I’m very proud of the progress I’ve made in such a short time. But also, this has really inspired me to actually get moving. I’ve been talking about starting to walk regularly this summer when I take my kids to the park (there’s a big walking path around it), but even though we’ve been twice, I haven’t done it yet. In the back of my mind, there has always been this fear that it was going to be horrible.
Last night proved to me that I CAN handle some light exercise. And in fact, I’m even feeling a teeny tiny bit excited to get started! The competitive side of me wants to see how much more progress I can make. By the end of summer, will I be able to walk a whole mile without being out of breath? Maybe even two? I can’t wait to find out!