Challenge Accepted

Some might say that a challenge presented by oneself doesn’t really count as an actual challenge.  Pffftt, I say.  It totally does count.  My challenge to myself is one of fitness and health.

Over the summer, while everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is trying to watch what they eat and keep their figures beach ready, I’ve been indulging.  My kids were home for the summer, and we had a couple of birthdays to celebrate.  With birthdays come cake, something that is not usually present in our home.  There was also the additional snacks in our home that I don’t usually keep here…everything from cheese sticks to graham crackers to pretzels.  Now, to be fair, we had our fair share of fruit and yogurt on hand as well, which was never turned down when offered as an alternative to some of the “sweeter” snacks (except by me…I am not a fan of yogurt despite my best efforts).  My husband was here for the summer too, which meant that we dined out frequently because some of his favorite indulgences aren’t available to him overseas.

In addition to my poor diet over the summer, my exercise became almost non-existent.  I was taking daily walks with my youngest each morning.  Those dissipated as soon as school was out.  My excuse was that I couldn’t leave all the kids here by themselves while I went out and walked.  Two of the kids would wake up at a decent hour, while the other two seemed to sleep half the morning away.  I would use the heat as an excuse as well…it was even too hot to go swimming out back!

My high-fat low-movement regime resulted in an extra 5 pounds that went straight to my mid-section.  Now that school is back in session and my husband is about to depart back to his job overseas, it’s time for me to get back on track.  My challenge to myself is to cut the fat and increase the activity level.  I joined a local gym a little over a week ago, and I had my orientation earlier this week.  Challenge Accepted!  The plan is to go to the gym Monday through Friday-every day.  Five days a week, one hour each day. This seems like quite a challenge, especially each morning when I wake up and think to myself how tired I am, how good it feels to just lay in the bed, there’s always tomorrow…yadda yadda yadda.  Then, I force myself to get up, get dressed, and just do it.  Who knows?  Maybe this challenge will lead to a greater challenge later on…can you say Triathlon?

Sometimes we all need a swift kick in the…

…well, you know.  I certainly can benefit from time to time.  A prime example is my lack of discipline when it comes to exercise.  I was doing great for a while, back before it got REALLY freaking hot outside.  However, all I was doing was walking.  I continued to make up excuse after excuse as to why I couldn’t just try to jog a little bit.

I’m nursing, so I don’t want to burn TOO many calories…then my milk might dry up. (Which is totally an excuse, and I’m sure my body would cue me in to the fact that I needed to consume more calories.)
I might get out of breath and sweat…(Duh, that’s KIND of the point, right?)
I’ll try it tomorrow…(I am the QUEEN of procrastination…just ask anyone.)

Now that my husband is back in town, and on an exercise kick of his own after taking a much needed sabbatical from his routine when he came back to the U.S., he is my personal trainer.  Every morning he coaxes me out of bed in the morning so we can go for a “walk”.   Granted, he doesn’t make me get up before the roosters do, but it’s still at a time of day where I’d rather be lying in bed snuggling with Tristan or having my first cup of coffee for the day.

We start out with a leisurely walk, and progress to my husband challenging me to jog “from here to the stop sign” or “from here to the next street”.  The first day I got a little cocky.  I told him, “I can run farther than that stop sign”.  BIG MISTAKE.  Since I made it seem so easy, he pushed me a little harder the next time.  It’s like that game you played as a kid called “Mercy”.  I submit, Mercy!!  

In the evenings, after my husband comes home from work and finishes his workout at the gym, we go for another “walk”.  Strangely enough, these “walks” are becoming more “jogging” than “walking”.  When I tell him that I can’t go any farther, he encourages me.  He doesn’t yell at me, or make fun of me, or make any negative comments.  Instead, he just continues to be positive, tell me that I CAN do it, and gives me a gentle, yet, swift, kick in my rear.  I love him for it.  He needs to hear this, because typically I am protesting the entire time.

These “walks” together give us a chance to reconnect at the end of the day without cell phones, email, Facebook, work, and even Tristan from interrupting us.  We can talk about the things that are on our minds, our goals for the future, our plans for the weekend, etc. while we walk side by side, pointing out homes that catch our eyes, landscaping designs that look awesome, and some yards that are not so awesome.  Tristan is content to go along for the ride in his BOB stroller, so long as the sun isn’t right in his eyes.

After it’s all said and done, there is another reward besides the quality time with one another.  Fitting back into pre-pregnancy clothes is one of them, and I experienced that reward today!  Maybe this jogging thing isn’t so bad after all!