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Nov 10 2011

Accessorizing My Way to Exercise

By at 12:24 pm

running shoesEarlier this week, Shannon wrote about running marathons to keep her sanity. But it’s not for everybody. What’s your exercise routine, or should we say, do you have one?

It has been a little over a year since I gave birth, yet I still look seven months pregnant.  My momma friends back in NYC were those lucky women who bounce back to their original size moments after giving birth and then run marathons.  I was never a size 2 to begin with, but I was thinner once upon a time.

I convinced myself that dieting and exercise could wait until after I finished nursing. Since I am not the healthiest eater and have Crohn’s disease, I didn’t want to reduce any of the few nutrients I was getting into my body. But when I finished nursing, I was trying to get pregnant. Once again, I did not want to change anything in my lifestyle or eating habits in case it jeopardized my getting pregnant again. In the meantime, my self-image has fallen to an all-time low. I just can’t stand the way I look anymore. I am embarrassed to go out, and in a new town,  that makes meeting people pretty much impossible. It is almost too hard to write about because I am so unhappy with it.

A few days ago I decided to take charge of the situation. I decided to start working out on the treadmill at the small gym in our apartment complex. It is not in my DNA to be a gym rat, and it is hard for me to stay motivated. I also have plantar fascitis (a painful foot condition) that sidelines me easily. I tackled this problem like anything I put my mind to: with shopping.

First, I splurged on some excellent sneakers to keep my feet comfortable and pain-free.  The first pair didn’t work out, so I bought an even fancier second pair. I am not sure why my feet have been feeling fine — is it the expensive runners or my husband’s nightly foot rubs?  (I rent him out by the hour, ladies.) Next, I noticed that of the three treadmills in the gym, only one has a working TV. But with the horrible programming on at six in the morning, even this TV couldn’t save me from getting bored and wanting to escape after 10 minutes. So, I convinced my husband that only an iPad could keep me going. While I was at the Apple Store, the guy in front of me was buying something I had vaguely remembered reading about. It’s a bracelet that counts calories burned, tracks your body’s response to different foods, and monitors your sleep. I lusted for it. I promised my husband that we could buy it as a trial run and return it within 14 days.

Yeah, right! How did I ever survive before this gadget? It monitors my heart rate and lets me know how many calories I burn more accurately than the antiquated treadmill. Eventually, I will be able to see patterns in my eating habits and the way I feel in order to make wiser food choices. But the best thing about this little contraption is that I now have irrefutable proof that I’m really not getting enough sleep.

Somehow, this thingamijig detects when I have fallen asleep, whether I am in a light or deep sleep, and how often I wake up during the night. My sleep charts show that I wake up almost hourly and only get about two and a half hours total of deep sleep a night. No wonder I am such a hot mess. Eating habits and physical activity I can consciously work on to improve, but I have no idea how to handle the sleep problem without popping pills. On the bright side, I have no problem waking up early to go to the gym.

After all my accesorizing, I’ve finally gotten down to exercising. I’m going to the gym 40 minutes a day, five times a week, increasing my speed a little each time.  I go before the break of dawn while my husband and son are still sleeping. It’s a brief pocket of time that I feel is truly mine.  No interruptions, no competing priorities, just 100% me time. And that’s better than any accessory.


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