For whatever reason, last November, I decided after reading an article that it wasn’t how much you worked out but what you ate that was more important. Well, maybe it is but I don’t know why I got it in my head that I would give it a try over the winter months while I finished my college degree. I was going to be busy with classes anyway, so what would it hurt?
UGH. I’m 46-years old, not working out for months really affects your body. First you start getting lethargic and then you start to grow weaker. For me, depression runs in my family and exercise helps keep this at bay. Which I knew and which I thought oh, a few months won’t hurt. Another really dumb assumption. School kept me busy but I just never felt good all winter.
Winter is a season I struggle with anyway because I am very much an outdoors person and well I hate the cold so I am stuck inside more. I join gyms but then quit by mid-April when I can get outdoors again which means I have 6-7 months of the yearly fee that is wasted. I wish they would let you do a winter gym membership for November – April where you could pay one fee up front. Though I found I end up catching more colds and viruses when I go to the gym even though I clean every piece of equipment before and after use. That and I’m not a fan of crowds or waiting on people who decided to camp out on say, the leg press, as if it is their personal throne. There are only so many evil, impatient looks I can give in a day.
Probably unrelated was the fact my thyroid slowed down even more but I didn’t find out I needed a higher dosage of my medicine until spring. So I put on 25-30 lbs. Now I am heavier and weaker and more fatigued than I have been in a long time. I got a new dosage of medicine and pulled out my bike on the first warm day. I rode a little and felt like crying. it was as if I was starting riding 10 years ago. I wanted to kick myself.
Now I am 4 months later starting back to exercising pretty much an hour or more daily alternating between riding and walking or hiking. It has been a slow process and the longest I’ve ridden has been not quite 40 miles. Last year by August I had ridden almost my 1000 miles for the year. This year I’ve barely broken 600 miles. I have no one to blame but myself (okay maybe my thyroid just a little). Regaining my fitness has been a struggle and I have yet to lose the weight. My clothes are looser but the scale won’t move but for me it could simply be muscle weight replacing fat.
Mostly though I am frustrated with starting over. While winter is not my friend, I have to keep exercising almost every day to keep from losing my fitness. The one thing I have to remember how much better I feel when I work out most days, how much less I eat because my appetite seems to diminish. Instead of finding myself eating all the time for no particular reason, I’m finding that I wait until I’m hungry and some days I’m not hungry as often. In a way, not doing what you body was designed to do, move, sabotages you and you end up gaining weight, feeling crappy and lethargic. It is much like night and day how I feel when I am exercising vs. when I am not.
The moral of the story – Keep moving, every day. This is more my reminder than your instruction though I would love to hear how exercise or lack of exercise affects you. The one key I have learned, is you have to pick activities you enjoy. Me, I have to be outside most times and I never stick with videos, classes or prescribed regimens. I need it to be fun, like play when you are a kid. I try to remember to keep active throughout the day which means cleaning my house, working in the yard, taking the dog for a walk or whatever I can dream up.
I’ve decided that I will invest in whatever equipment or clothing I need to keep active this winter. I’m selling my rollers and going back to the rear wheel bike trainer (wonderful barely used set of e-motion cycling rollers for sale – contact me! :-). As Denise Austin would say on her aerobics videos, if you rest, you rust. As my great-grandmother would say, you are only as old as you feel, so she tried to stay as active as she could and lived to be 100. Sitting on my arse is not taking care of myself, it’s destroying my health.
Note to self – keep moving, stay moving, stay strong.