Sometimes I tell the world something to keep myself accountable, or to help my goals happen. I’ve done this in two forms this past week – things are happening and I feel great! It’s also helping my steps to positive life change.
I wrote last week that I had been to the gym for the first time in years. (And that post was republished on Mamamia – thanks Jam!). I wasn’t sure how long I’d stick it out, or whether I even should write this post as it’s only been a week. I felt so unsure of whether I’d stick excercise out that I bought that cheapest sports bra, telling the sales assistant that I only wanted to spend $20 because I was unsure of my level of commitment to exercise. But I’ve done it – I’ve exceeded my own expectations – and others’ too. My Mum told me she thinks it’s funny, Dad said I’ve “been exercising like mad” and my previous manager who’s known me for eight years had to sit down when I told her. My friends are giving me a lot of encouragement to keep going. Someone suggested I might like to run a half marathon in the future. I laughed and laughed, telling her I’m just focused on surviving the next hundred metres.
I knew I had to start exercising. The doctor told me I should, and I saw myself in a photo recently and wanted to look leaner. So I did. I started off at the gym doing exercise that I thought I could manage. A bit of brisk walking on an incline, gentle cycling, 10 sit ups. I went to a Body Balance class (which I did a few years back, back when I was first blogging). Admittedly I couldn’t stop thinking of food during that class.
Somewhere between feeling hesitant about starting because of the pain exercise might cause me, and the smile I broke into when I found myself running on the treadmill, I realised I could do a lot more. My body’s a lot stronger than I think it is. And I also realised, I can fit it into my day – 30 to 45 minutes is a good investment in myself, and not hard to make time for.
Since last Thursday night I’ve been to the gym six times. As this blog post clicks over to published, I’m at the gym. I’ve done lots of walking and cycling – I’ve moved 16 kilometres this past week. I’ve done a total of 250 sit-ups and a few dozen arm weights. I’ve stretched my body with some yoga and Pilates poses (and one of my proudest moments was being able to clip my hair up into a neat twist while sitting in a pose!). I’ve pushed myself from walking to running – first walking more than I could run, then equal parts, and then running more than I walked. First I ran 500 metres, then 600, and then 1000 metres. One kilometre! Without stopping or getting out of breath. It felt so good. I’ve heard about endorphins and now I’ve felt them.
I don’t worry how I look – or about what anyone else in the gym is doing (except that lady who doesn’t wipe ANY of the equipment she’s used – yuck!), I just focus my eyes straight ahead, looking at the metres clicking over. I don’t count calories burnt. I pace myself with songs (P!nk, Eskimo Joe and Darren Hayes’ side project We Are Smug have been on high rotation on my iPod), and hundred metre intervals. Just another song. Just another 100 metres. I find myself smiling a lot when I hit these little milestones. I can do more than I thought.
I have been going to the gym in the morning – I have a system worked out that is best for my skin. Get up at 6.00 am, wash face and dry bits of skin, comb hair and tie it back (it’s surprisingly lengthy now!) and get dressed for gym. While many people with Ichthyosis have trouble staying cool when exercising (because we don’t sweat properly), I have trouble staying warm (and flexible). My skin gets so dry when exercising. My skin is like powder inside my clothes. So I wear long leggings (7/8 ones are full length on me too!), a tank top over a tight long sleeved tee, and a light warm jacket for the majority of my exercise time. When I get home, I have a shower (the best shower I’ve ever felt), put my cream on, and go back to a warm bed (with heater or electric blanket on) for half an hour. I eat a high protein breakfast – this week has been a slice of frittata packed with veggies, plus a small serve of wild rice, pumpkin and kale. I still fit my social media time in before my day job – I do this in bed – and I am well rested, moisturised and warm.
I feel SO energised when I set off for my day job, and throughout the day too. The endorphins make me buzz. I feel a lot happier than I have been. And I’m sleeping well too. The other night I slept from 8.00 pm until 6.00 am, and then had another sleep for an hour!
I feel that my mind does not relax most of the time. I’m always on the go – reading my phone and a newspaper at the same time, thinking of three things at once, writing several things on the go, eating and watching TV or reading. But for that half an hour at the gym, on the treadmill, I am focused on my whole body. Every breath, every step. I just focus on my next step, the way my body is moving and the way I am breathing. It’s wonderful.
Even though it’s been a short time, I feel like my posture has improved, my tummy is less jubbly, I feel strong and disciplined. I’m eating more (good food, and not being tempted by naughty snacks), and my skin is feeling (and looking) good. That picture above – that’s after one hour and 20 minutes of exercise. Radiant.
I’m stronger than I thought, I can work harder that I thought, and this is less painful than I feared (though on Tuesday my body was so, so sore all over, except for my skin!). It’s a new kind of pain, a beneficial one – and for once, I know the reason for it. I am titanium. We all are.
Maybe I’ll keep writing about exercise here, if only to keep me accountable. I’m so glad I’ve started, again. I can’t wait to keep going.
I’ve done a heap of guest posts recently:
While not a sponsored post, but a commissioned one, I wrote about body image on Mamamia last month.
And finally, I wrote a post on the new Australian health resource site Health Engine.
Go show those sites some love.