Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Health and Nutrition Are Important-but there are consequences

The history of my health is not inspiring. I was a normal kid who rode bikes and played on swingsets and jumped rope. We had an hour of PE and two recesses at school. It was required. From age 9-12 I played summer softball. From age 13-16 I performed with a drill team in autumn. I never played sports beyond that. Didn't want to, wasn't interested. I ate what I wanted. Then I went to college--basically out of shape and with teenage eating habits (candy, sodas, and chips). Still, I was not overweight. Never have been. I just had "well placed fat". I hated working out so I took my four PE credits asap and worked, while taking a full load of classes. I lived on coffee and bagels for a couple of years and lost weight. Too much weight--like down to 109lbs for a 5'7" medium build frame of a girl who needs to be a good size 8 misses. I was a size 6 and was told I could not give blood because I was underweight and not healthy enough. Then I began teaching and eating and cooking (I was married). I got up to that size 8 and stayed there for years. It was about where I was in high school but with more womanly curves. Oh, and almost no exercise at all, except for walking now and then.

Then came children, starting when I was 28. Five of them in 8 years were born. It should be noted I gave up soda when i got pregnant the first time and have only had them sporadically over the last 16 years. I really don't care for soda. Anyway, I was at my heaviest after the second was born (two kids in 19 months). But after nine months I was back at the size 8. I was an active mom with active kids. We walked everywhere and rode bikes and I carried the whole house with me everywhere usually with a couple of toddlers and a baby in my arms or in a monstrous stroller. I had some muscle! I know because one thing they do to moms is weigh them often, and I went from 130lbs to 150lbs at that size 8, over the years. So, i guess I was doing better just by being a busy stay at home mom.

When the youngest kid was 6 I decided it was time to exercise, for me. I wanted to be healthier and toned up. I found some great workout wear on clearance at JC Penney and actual workouts on pinterest. I got an exercise ball, some arm and ankle weights, and started walking daily and working out. I thought I would tone up and that would cause me to get a little bit slimmer in the process, along with eating better. I cook most things from scratch. I really do eat well and drink tons of water. I don't care much for sweets either. is what actually happened when I got healthy (at age 42, by the way):

I walked and did my workouts about 5-6 days a week, trying to push myself to be stronger and have more endurance. Then a friend asked me to do a 5K with her. I did, and signed up for an extra one just for practice. I began jogging with the couch to 5K program. That nearly killed me. I have never discovered the "runner's high" that some experience. I still hate running most of the time. I jogged for about a year and then injured a foot tendon from wearing improper shoes. Let that be a lesson to all of you! Get the right shoes! I know they cost big money but I promise you will want to use your feet every day of your life. I was still eating right and working out with weights. It paid off. I took a self defense class and found out I really was strong! Encouraging. Yes! I was not jiggling. I was strong. My blood work came back great. I had endurance. I was healthy!
But there was a side effect. I was not a size 8 anymore. I was a 10-12. And still am. You see, getting healthy means you will gain muscle, and that weighs more than fat. I put on about 10 pounds ( I know this from the doctor's office. I have never owned a scale) and was rounder in many key areas than ever before---think rear, and calves, and arms. My abs were tight, but that just made the loose pregnancy skin sag more. Not fun. But the muscles were tight. The strength was present.
I have endurance. I don't jog as much to save my foot from surgery, but I still do it sometimes. I'm just a little stubborn. I walk/jog a minimum of 2 miles a day...usually more like 4. I do workouts with 8lb arm weights every week. I do yoga poses, ballet tightening, cardio, and crossfit work outs. I fit in at least 3-6 of these every week. I eat right and drink lots of water and take my vitamins. And I am bigger than I was before I started it all. Women who are like me have to get over wanting "thin". Wanting a certain size clothing. We have to wear what fits well and flatters. Anything else looks awful. We have to dress the body we were given by God and take care of it by keeping it healthy. My husband likes it now that my body is tight and I am healthy. I am a better example to my kids--and I make them work out now too. I feel better. But I do admit to sometimes wishing I was still that smaller size. Media does a number on us girls that are over a size 6. It is hard not to notice. But I also notice most women who are really healthy are not tiny little people with bones showing. They are toned and fit and strong, and come in all shapes and sizes.

When I was thin I was my most unhealthy and light weight and a smaller size. That isn't true for everyone, but it was for me. Not everyone gets the results I got from working out. And that is ok. I still find it hard to clean out the clothes that are now too tight thanks to working out. They were a smaller size that used to fit, before I was fit. But that is the way it goes. I am getting older, and am healthier than I have ever been, and this is me. God made me and I take care of what He made. It's all good.

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