Saturday, April 16, 2016

Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other. Slowly.

Yes. That is indeed my foot. 

Johanna recently left this comment on one of my posts about a new commitment to exercise:
I just found your blog and OMG, thank you! Real talk from real people that isn't all doom and gloom. I struggle with exercise as well, and that quote really hit me. I am really struggling with fatigue and flu-type pain that hits every work day about mid-afternoon. But I have to start working movement more into my day. Thank you for your post of accountability and for sharing your journey.
Oh, right. I DID promise to be accountable to y'all and report my exercise progress. Thanks for the reminder, Johanna. So as promised, here is an update on my commitment to increase my exercise. And I have to say overall, I have. My motivation source is partly from within, and partly because I made a very public statement about that. The result is that in spite of several days during which I felt significant fatigue, I managed to haul my butt up off the couch and do something. Anything.

This made me feel that I had made some progress, but my attitude changed when I had to share the total number of minutes that I had exercised with the rest of a wellness class that I am taking. It didn't take long before my 120 minute week total went from spectacular to pathetic in my opinion after several members reported ten mile hikes and daily sixty minute running sessions on their treadmills.

Whoa. Deflated my puffed with pride ego as fast as a thumbtack can pop a balloon. I had to do some serious positive self-talk sessions during which I reminded myself yet again of the realities of my energy management; which simply can't be compared to others' abilities.

So after class last week, I mustered up some courage and struck up a conversation with our instructor. I shared my disease and resulting physical limitations with her; as well as the frustration and envy that I felt after seeing other class members accomplishments.

Her response was fantastic. "I am sorry that I was so insensitive. I will continue to encourage exercise, but won't ask participants to publicly share their actual numbers with this and all of my upcoming classes. I think that I may need to learn more about the challenges that my class members are dealing with so that I can address issues that are outside what we consider the norm, as well as emphasizing the importance of realistic progress."

We went on to have a very enjoyable thirty minute conversation, and as we said goodbye I felt as though my concerns had been authentically HEARD. What a rare thing. And a very good thing. Makes a girl want to go take a walk.


Marion said...

Your journey is YOUR journey. What someone else does is irrelevant. To go from nothing to something is a win, a big win! It's a platform to build on. As I always say "I don't go fast, and I don't go far, but I go." One foot in front of the other. Day by day.

Gertoe said...

120 minutes is a huge accomplishment. I am really proud of you. Go girl!!

Kate Stout said...

120 minutes - that's excellent. I'm coming from a bad place right now, so I'm hoping to get up to 10 minutes a day, which would give me 70 minutes a week.

It's the increase that matters, not just the number. So if next week is 130 minutes, that's improvement. Or if you can do a bit more in the same 120 minutes, that also improvement.

Laura said...

Exercise is good. Increased exercise (to a point, of course) is good.

120 minutes in one week is only 30 minutes shy of the American Heart Association's "150 minutes of moderate exercise" a week recommendation - so in other words, on your first go and with all the extra issues you have to deal with from the Sjogren's, you were at 80% of the target for an adult with no adverse health condition....

That is *excellent*.

Nancy said...

Yes, 120 minutes is an awesome place to start. I'm a bit above that now, but it's often still a struggle to get going. My husband has become a more understanding "coach" in recent years, and has come to understand that some days are better than others.

For the first time since early last fall, I was able to get out to work on my tiny little raised veggie bed yesterday. I mean TINY, at 12' x 2'. Yesterday I got THREE (3) tomato plants planted. That was it. Took me the better part of an hour, and I was exhausted. Today, I went out and planted seeds for my other veggies, which was somehow less onerous than yesterday's project. But I'm out of gas for the day, now.

So congratulations, Julia, and thanks for prodding us all along. Right now I'm a 30 year Sjogren's veteran, but recently diagnosed with RA. So we'll see what new challenges may follow.

ShEiLa said...

Auto-immune and Sjögrens sufferers cannot be compared to the average healthy exercise numbers. I totally relate to this post. I have started my routine again which mainly consists of my recumbent bike rides... I had an asthma exacerbation flare that required a third round of prednisone and for a month it was a struggle to breathe. Thanks Julia for your inspiration and information. (((hugs)))

Nicole said...

I totally understand. I can only do a fraction of the exercise I used to do on a regular basis just 6 or 7 years ago. And I'm in my 30s still. Maintaining what you have and slowly slowly building up is the way to go. It can be discouraging because it's so slow and can seem like you'll never get back to what you want to be doing. But it is the tortoise and the hare. Stick with it and you will win for YOU! <3

Shara from Seattle said...

Agh! They caught me! I have to go to some weight seminar on Monday for a whole hour! Since I can't get out of it I'm already trying on fake personalities to use with these people cause otherwise they are going to see how I really feel about being there. Unhappy face, unhappy face, unhappy face. Somebody is going to suffer and I refuse to have it be me.
I've been fasting since two weeks ago to make that number go down before my reg. doc saw me. Plan B, starve myself until I dump all the fat like I've no life to live. That's all I will concentrate on. If my weight was 100 lbs less they wouldn't pick on me this way. Fat Shaming is what it is. I'm not diabetic, I don't have high blood pressure, Plan C is F*ck em, They can't mess with me if I'm dead.