Trust me. This is something I never thought Iíd be writing. I always firmly believed that exercise did nothing more than make me sweat [sometimes] and got me out of the house. But as Iíve progressed from bedridden to walking 40 steps dragging that oxygen tank, to hiking for up to several hours at a time plus lifting fairly heavy at the gym, something has happened. And I didnít realize it until about a month ago, when I finally returned to the gym after a long exercise layoff.
Itís a bit hard to explain, but Iíll try. You know how people can be in denial about certain things in their lives, like their spouse cheating, or parents dying, or a layoff coming? Well, imagine that you were in denial that you had a body, and that you were taken by surprise whenever it hurt or needed attention. If you got a cold, you ended up with bronchitis because you didnít take care of yourself. Or you had to have emergency gall bladder surgery because you ignored the pain for so long.
Youíve probably seen this in other people.
Well, if you let this go on long enough, you donít notice youíve gained weight. And if you do by some chance notice, youíre not paying enough attention to what youíre doing to figure out whatís going wrong. And then you start living completely in your head, and it gets worse.
For whatever reason, probably because of the surgery, I have had to focus on this poor old body, at first to figure out when it was telling me that I needed pain pills! Later, it told me in no uncertain terms that I needed some protein [I was about to pass out] And then that it was tired. Or needed water. Gradually, as I walked and felt more energy, my body and mind began to work together.
But sadly, over last summer and fall, I started going back to the old ways. Too much stress, sadness, inability to cope. Remember those posts at the first of the year about my problems getting back to the gym? Yep. Thatís what was happening.
Now, Iím happy to report that Iím going to the gym regularly, and hiking more. And I feel more in touch with my body, like weíre a team [ok, that might be an exaggeration Ė we still have a way to go here!]. Itís the weight training, that need to focus on small movements so that I donít hurt myself [dropping it on my foot, wrenching my back, or heaven forbid Ė breaking a nail!].
The physiological benefits are great, with more stamina and strength, and the ability to actually balance my calorie intake with exercise. But for me, itís really more about the fact that Iím finally feeling centered and more able to cope.
That center point, focus, balance point – whatever you want to call it. Iím getting one!!! Along with this, food isnít holding as much power over me. So much of weight control is mind control, and figuring out how to live with ourselves, and in our skin.