There was a time in my life when I ran. It was a short time, very long ago, but it’s in my history.
One day I was on a jog with a friend when I had a moment of supreme clarity.
“I hate this.”
I stopped in the middle of the street and no friendly motivating would get me to pick up the pace faster than a brisk walk.
I never ran (on purpose) again.
Years past, metabolism slowed, waistbands tightened and my doctor said with a “duh” in his voice, “Exercise.”
The hatred of running rushed me so I walked. I could walk for a very long time, I didn’t hate it and it helped. After my first child was born, daily stroller-pushing walks around the small town with big hills in Iowa where we lived helped me drop all the pregnancy weight.
The baby loved it and I loved that she sat still so we made it part of our daily routine: Between breakfast and lunch I would put on my walking togs and off we would go for an hour of baby chatter and Mama sweat. When we got home I would feed her lunch, put her for a nap and take a shower.
Then I had a second child. I first pushed them both in a double stroller that cornered like a tank, then switched him to a backpack and her to a jogging stroller. Before Daddy came home, between afternoon snack and his arrival, I would put on my walking togs, walk and talk with the kids then take that very necessary shower when I got home.
Again I lost all the pregnancy weight.
And after our third baby was born when the other kids were in school? Togs, walk, shower, lose the weight.
Three babies, three pregnancy weight losses because of walking. You would think that this would be my go-to exercise, but no. I found lots of no-walk-today excuses: the dress/sweat/shower/redress time was too much. It was boring without the kid chatter. The weather. The To Do list. Solar flares ,,. anything.
The daily walks dropped to every other day; the hour to 30 minutes. Then just on the weekends. Then just on the weekends when the weather was nice.
Then not at all.
Those pregnancy pounds found me again even though there was no baby reward for them — just Type II diabetes and crappy sleep.
My doctor would ask, “How often are you exercising?” First I lied, then I told the truth.
“Not at all,” I said for years.
Then I started to lose weight. Not by a diet, per se, but by changing how I thought about food. But that only took me so far.
“How often are you exercising?” my doctor asked again, late last year.
“You mean besides running off at the mouth and jumping the gun? Not at all.”
I thought about it. Losing weight was fun, my lab results were improving — maybe there is something to this exercise thing.
One nice evening I was cleaning the kitchen after a supper while listening to a podcast and feeling guilty that sweeping was going to be my only exercise.
“Idiot, go for a stroll.”
So I did.
No dedicated clothes, not planned time. I didn’t even sweat. I did listen to a 20-minute podcast.
I didn’t hate it.
So I did it again. And again.
“Where are you going?” My husband asked as I headed out the door.
“Doctor Forced March around the neighborhood,” is what I told him, but really? It was an untimed stroll to listen to a podcast … and break just a little sweat.
Susan Vollenweider is down 45 pounds and is one more blood test away from getting off all her diabetes medication. To listen to the women’s history podcast that she co-hosts visit www.thehistorychicks.com and to learn how to listen to podcasts (or read more of her writing) visit www.susanvollenweider.com