On my god am I sick to death of this 5K/marathon craze. Every van and SUV I see around here has some kind of sticker on it stating how far they have run. 5K. 10K. 13.1. 26.2.
Wait, maybe we don’t know each other well enough. Please understand that I am not saying that people who enjoy running and challenging themselves in this way shouldn’t continue to do so. Whatever floats your boat and doesn’t sink other boats is generally fine by me. But some of us can’t and probably shouldn’t join in on this trend, and it is difficult to resist the pull.
I currently weigh 259 pounds. Technically 259.2 because I like to track exactly what I’m up to, but before I met my husband I was a respectable 190 pounds. I went to the gym every day on my way home from work and had a very healthy routine. I only ran because I love treadmills. That sounds weird, but I liked throwing on a playlist and just running, and generally I ran until I was done, which was usually around 3 miles. The 5K craze wasn’t on at the time, so I was more about speed than distance. I could do this because my body was used to it and my weight wasn’t out of control. If I tried to do what I used to do, I would destroy all of my joints. You could put the names of my important body parts in a hat and if you pulled one out there is a high probability that I would injure it.
Heavy people think they have to bust their asses at the gym to lose weight, and that couldn’t further from the truth. With all of these 5K, fitness apps, gym ads, exercise dvds and other hyped programs like Insanity it’s easy to jump in and hope for fast results. The chances are much better that you either get discouraged or injured within the first couple of days and then you’re back to where you were: not exercising, making excuses, and bemoaning your weight loss efforts.
I have been trying to lose my “happy fat” (and gosh don’t I HATE it when people call it that) since we moved to Florida. Between my jobs, taking classes, not having a lot of money, and learning how to be married everything seemed to get in the way. To say I was trying is really to say that I was starving myself until my subconscious drove me through a McDonald’s drive-thru in between work and campus, which I would then regret later.
So when I weighed myself on Sunday, my normal check-in day, and saw that I had lost weight for the first time in about three months, I was ecstatic. Now, I could credit this to being in the car less: we are now driving 20 minutes to work and 20 minutes home instead of 70 minutes (two and a half hours round trip!). That alone is probably alleviating my stress levels enough to shed a few pounds. I could also credit it to eating better: a shorter trip means less chances to stop for fast food, and saved money on gas and tolls means we have more to spend on good groceries. Really I credit my success to being forced to be slightly more active. We now live in a house that does not have a fenced in backyard, so we have to get up and take the dogs on a walk around the neighborhood at least twice between when we get home from work and when we go to bed and more on weekends.
At first I just figured “well, I’m being more active, I must be earning some calories back” but I had no way of knowing because, well, I was just walking. But let me tell you what, lugging 259 pounds around apparently burns some calories. I got a free app that tracks me via GPS when I go for a walk, and it tracks how fast I’m walking, how long I walk, how many calories I burn, and how far I go, and it communicates with My Fitness Pal to log my exercise. I am more motivated to walk because I know I can have more to eat if I want. Walking also gets me calories back that I might have blown earlier in the day (thanks Teacher Appreciation Week for all the god damned brownies) so I can have a normal dinner and enjoy it.
Fat girls, WALK. Walk everywhere. Walk up stairs even though you can’t talk when you get there. Walk around your neighborhood. Walk on a treadmill. You don’t need to run. You don’t need to join a gym. You don’t need to buy any dvds. Just get the Pandora or some other music app for free, turn it on, and WALK. Call someone you haven’t talked to in awhile and ask them to talk to you while you WALK. Trust me, you’ll feel better about yourself than if you kill yourself trying to do what the fit people do, and as a bonus you’ll lose weight. 🙂
Walk everybody, and you’ll be able to run later.