Just Give Me a Chair Please

I used to hate it when people talked about the different activities they participated in.  Weighing 300 pounds doesn’t lend itself to being a joiner.  In fact, for me, weighing 300 pounds meant I did my best to stay still. At my heaviest, my favorite thing to do was eat and sit on the couch.  No attempts at taking a walk for me or joining a group. It never would have crossed my mind to get up off the couch and get on the treadmill we purchased.  No, for me sitting was pain and stress free.

Because I had young children I didn’t get to sit as much as I have liked.  Their energy level was high and they were always running and jumping around.  I remember watching them play one summer day thinking, “If I moved a tenth as much as they did I would be exhausted.”  They ran around and I sat.  If I took them to the park, I’d sit on the bench monitoring their activities to make sure they didn’t get hurt, all the while trying very hard to sit down as much as possible. Not only did I need to rest, I also didn’t want to draw undue attention to myself.  No matter where I was I felt people looking at me.

I’m not sure if other people actually were looking at me, but I sure looked at them.  While sitting on benches didn’t do much for my social interaction it gave me plenty of opportunities to think about my situation.  With my hips and behind spreading out on the bench I would visually compare myself to the average sized Mom sitting on the other side of the playground.  “She doesn’t take up more space than she should,” I’d think to myself.  “She doesn’t have to wear ugly jumpers,” I’d internally muse.  I’d sit and watch the children playing and feel sorry for myself.

Sitting through life for a few years took its toll.  From a physical standpoint, sitting so much did nothing for my fitness level.  In fact, it was detrimental and potentially dangerous.  Emotionally I felt alone and ostracized, even if it were by my own choosing.  Year by year went by and instead of using these negative feelings about myself to move me into action, I allowed the negative emotions to further my inactivity.  I feel like I was caught in a vicious cycle.  I didn’t want to move because it was uncomfortable, so I ended up sitting a lot more than I should have; thereby making the weight problem worse.

Moving around when you are very overweight isn’t easy, but if your doctor says its okay, it’s worth making the effort.  The day I got off the couch and walked down the road a bit marked a turning point for me.  Sure I was exhausted and sweaty, but I had just taken the first step on the path to a healthier me.  Little by little as I made a concerted effort to move more and sit less I saw a difference in myself.  I couldn’t believe how much more energy I had just by exercising a bit.  I also started to feel better about myself because I was finally doing something about my weight problem.  That movement, combined with fat percentage awareness and portion control enabled me to lose 150 pounds in 14 months.  If I can get off the couch and get moving, so can you! 

What was your first activity towards fitness?  Diane

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  1. My first activity towards fitness was pedaling on the recumbent bike. After I lost some weight I moved on to the elliptical machine then on to walking and jogging on the treadmill.

  2. Hiking, without a doubt!! I’ve always loved it, but the subtle shift came when I realized I wanted to take hikes that were longer than 3-4 miles and I wanted to keep up with my hiking partners who were in much better shape than I was. They were friends and always patient, but it was embarrassing to constantly be having to take a break for ME to rest. It was a great day when it “clicked” that I’d found something I’d rather do than eat!!
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  3. I think walking is always a good choice, because we can all do it to our own ability. It’s absolutely amazing, and easy to measure, how quickly you progress with walking.
    Hanlie recently posted…It&8217s all goodMy Profile

  4. My first real effort that led to my being a consistent exerciser came in my 30s when I was diagnosed with familial high cholesterol. I started walking. I was thinner then than I am now!
    Karen recently posted…Track Star Wanna BeMy Profile

  5. My first activities were walking and biking, then I tried Tai Chi, then I joined a gym, then I started running…all little by little and over several years.
    Over the years I have always done some yoga, I tried Tai Bo videos in my living room, Denise Austin aerobics videos…I tried a lot of things. But the things that have become a part of my life are walking, biking, running, lifting weights and yoga.
    Amy in Belgium recently posted…Warm WindyMy Profile

  6. Your story makes me a little sad, Diane. I’m so glad that you were able to improve your life, and at the same time I wish more people could make the decisions that you did.

  7. Mine was walking…I think I made it about two thenths of a mile that first time out. I need to re-build my endurance, but I am proud to say I can make it much further, even now.
    Pam recently posted…Giveaway- Eat Your Veggies!My Profile

  8. Swimming was the first activity I chose. It was really hard to get into a swimsuit at 250+ pounds but I did it. I knew it was something I could stick with because I always loved swimming as a kid. I was also on a swim team in middle school. It worked. I stuck with it and I lost most of my weight by swimming!

  9. Somewhere in my head there has always been a big disconnect between where I think I am physically and reality. Which explains why my first attempt was to join a weight loss challenge at my gym that included a 1 hour per day boot-camp-like group workout. I remember going home that first week wondering what I’d gotten myself into and if I would survive. I’d manage 3 stair laps to my teammates 10. I could maybe do one burpee to their 7 or 8 (burpees for a 325 pound 5’3″ woman who hasn’t exercised in years is hard and quite comical to watch).

    That being said, I’m glad that was the first step back for me because I felt committed to at least showing up each day and before I knew it I was able to do so much more than anyone thought I could.

  10. The first activity I did was the treadmill. I think I started at 2mph for 20 minutes five days a week. I remember it being very difficult at first, but it didn’t take long for it to get easier. It’s amazing how making up your mind to get active and sticking to it can make you feel so much better. Not only physically, but emotionally as well.
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  11. It was walking, for me. At 250-ish pounds I put my six month old in a backpack, my two year old in a stroller, and hoofed it a mile down to the park and back. That was hard, and I developed a stress injury in my foot that took quite awhile to go away.

    Stationary bike and cycling were next. And given my current workout activities you can tell I’m a creature of habit ;)
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  12. I started walking around town with my friend while taking turns pushing her kids in strollers. We all needed the fresh air and the hills in town killed us. It was a fantastic way to spend the summer with just girl time.
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  13. I’ve always liked to do something … riding bikes, walking, aerobics (I loved aerobics). When we move (and we usually move every 18 months to 2 years), it always takes me a while to re-establish a regular exercise routine and that’s been my downfall.
    Siobhan recently posted…re-ordering the mindMy Profile

  14. Diane, after watching the show Heavy on A&E, I am so much more aware of how hard it is for obese people to just move around…. and also how important it is for them to try.. because every little step leads to a better life down the road. I am so glad you kept on stepping. You are an inspiration & a wonderful example of how it can be done no matter what..heck, you have all those kids! ;-)
    Jody – Fit at 53 recently posted…Healthy Hearts – Go RedWorld Cancer DayBlogger Healthy Heart WeekendMy Profile

  15. Maybe I was lucky to be fat from childhood. Plus I didn’t realise how big I was. I knew I fat but didn’t realise I was FAT. I took part in everything e.g. Sports Day, Physical Education, swimming lessons, days at the beach. My size never stopped me.

    My first time exercising was doing my dance video game. A pity I didn’t keep it up – and didn’t know about calories, healthy eating, etc – but when I reached my teens everything clicked, and here I am…
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  16. I guess for me my first attempt was back before I knew I had Type 1 Diabetes weighing in at 255. I tried “jogging” with my husband only to be slapped with more chronic pain so I quit.

    The next attempt was joining the YMCA before losing weight and getting on the Elliptical, then injured my knees. Then I continued riding the stationary bike and have never stopped riding!
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  17. My first action towards fitness was walking, just like you. I love walking and I knew that by starting to walk for 30 minutes a day, will get me fit and get some weight off. Walking is what started me off.
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  18. It was walking for me, too. And then burpees and other bodyweight exercises a little bit at a time, and now I’ve added exercise vids. I am encouraged reading others’ replies! I have no desire to run, but lots of people are telling me to. I think it will take time for me to get there!