How I Lost Weight: I Dropped The Pounds And Started A Campaign 2 Move To Motivate Others
How many times have you heard about the importance of exercising and being heart healthy? As an officer it is easy to fall into the rut of sitting at your desk all day with little to no movement while snacking on unhealthy snacks. Two years ago if someone had asked me if I lived an active life I would have quickly listed all the activities that I participated in. Today however, I realize that I was gravely mistaken about the extent of my movement.
My story of “movement” began by force and not by choice. Trust me when I tell you, I fought it until I could not avoid it any longer. March 10, 2011, I was added to the list of people inducted into a not so popular group; women suffering with heart disease. I didn’t have any of the risk factors associated with heart disease: I did not have metabolic syndrome — (combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides), my annual physicals were always on target, I wasn’t suffering from mental stress or depression, and I was in a new relationship and very happy. The main risk factor I was exempt from was smoking. I had never smoked in my life. The most noticeable risk factor that I believed would exempt me from heart disease; was my age. I was only forty years old at the time. I think my age is what caused my doctors to misdiagnose my symptoms for almost a month. I continued to go to the doctor with complaints of chest pain, labored breathing, extreme sweating, back pain and weight gain. It wasn’t until I insisted that I receive a chest ex-ray that I was given the correct diagnosis. There is the first lesson in this story. Please seek a second opinion if you believe something is wrong beyond what your doctors are saying. This is your life that you are dealing with. Your doctor will not be offended. My total trust in my doctor and not listening to that little voice that was speaking to me almost cost me my life.
Once I was diagnosed correctly and instructed that exercise was the key to getting my heart back on target, I continued to resist. I didn’t see any reason to start working out. I had already dropped a couple of pounds, changed my diet to a low sodium diet, was eating healthier snacks and drinking my Spinach Smoothies. I felt one hundred percent better than I had a couple of months ago. Why did I need to exercise? During every appointment my doctor continued to give me the same sermon about exercising. I could recite it without even looking at him. I felt like a little girl being rebellious against her parents. I refused to work out.
April 12, 2011, I decided to sign up for the IOC 5K at work. I was no stranger to 5Ks. I had walked those on a regular basis for the American Cancer Society. This time something was different. Something had definitely changed. Because I could barely make it to the finish line, I knew my doctor was right. I needed to exercise whether I wanted to or not. I decided to add a little “movement” to my life. That was the best decision of my life.
I emailed the Wellness Manager at work, Erlene Cavalere, to request pedometers. I knew I would need help from others if I was going to succeed with working out. I also asked her questions about habits. I wanted to know how long it would take for me to think of exercising as a regular routine. Erlene gave me some good advice. She said “habits take from twenty-one days to twelve weeks to develop, depending on your engagement and interest in the activity”. “Exercising was a little different,” she said. “If there was an emergency or some life altering event, people tend to put exercise to the side.” This may sound funny to others, but I prayed that I could make those twenty-one days. I would actually email her with my updates and a countdown.
Erlene said she had seven pedometers. Those seven pedometers lead to “A Campaign 2 Move” and a new lifestyle. I started out walking on the treadmill in the gym. It was a slow process. I can laugh now thinking about those early months of working out. A mile on the treadmill would take me an hour. I would be panting and praying to reach that one mile. Don’t let me tell you about the elliptical. The elliptical became my “beast to conquer.” During Cardiac Rehab I would almost make it to two minutes on the elliptical and would immediately be instructed to get off. My heart was racing as fast as Danica Patrick during the Nascar Races.
A year later, I am proud to say that I have conquered that “beast.” I can stay on the elliptical for over thirty minutes without stopping. I can also walk/run five miles in an hour. This year, I challenged myself to participate in the IOC 5K that started my “Campaign 2 Move”. There was a major difference in my performance. I was able to run!
The road to “movement” has not been easy. Some days are better than others. I am happy to say that not only did I make the twenty-one days but it has now been well over a year for me exercising. Erlene and Saje Taylor (her assistant) have been a big help to me. Whenever I email her or Saje they readily agree to answer questions or help me with whatever I need. Saje has even volunteered to meet me on Saturday mornings at Cranes Roost in Altamonte to take body measurements for me and the girls whenever we ask. I now exercise with or without a partner. I have participated in Zumba, Kickboxing, Curves and any other activities that will keep me moving. I recently requested a tour of a gym to look into boxing. “Movement” can be fun. It doesn’t have to be mundane.
I leave you with this: exercising the biggest muscle in my body has been an adventure that has proven to have many obstacles. I am happy to report that along with those obstacles came a heart that is now functioning like the heart of a normal person without heart disease.
I challenge you to park farther in the parking lots, take the stairs, and to buy a pedometer. Once you purchase your pedometer, set a goal of ten thousand steps a day. Trust me those will be the best ten thousand steps that you have taken.
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