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Thursday, March 06, 2008

I sat in the parking lot, working up the nerve to go inside. Could I do this? Could I really make a change this big? More importantly, could I stick with it? “God,” I whispered, “if this body really is your temple, you’re going to have to help me treat it that way.” I opened the car door and walked across the parking lot.

“I want to sign up for a membership,” I told the girl behind the desk – quickly, before I could lose my nerve. “Here’s a list of the classes you can join,” she said, after I’d filled out the necessary paperwork and handed her a cheque. “There are lots of choices of times for aerobics classes, step classes, yoga, etc. Or if you prefer, you can just use the machines and weights. What time of day do you think you’ll be coming in?” “Six o’clock in the morning,” I said, gulping a little at my bravado. “Really?” that other little voice whispered in my head. “You REALLY think you can get up that early in the morning to go to the gym? Ha! You’ve gotta be kidding!”

Trying to ignore the pessimist in my brain, I set two goals for myself. Lose at least 30 pounds by my birthday (in May), and run the 2.6 mile super-run with Nikki at the marathon in June.

That was January 21st. In the seven weeks since, I’ve been at the gym at least six mornings a week – usually at six o’clock in the morning. At least forty-two times, I’ve proved the pessimist wrong.

As of this morning, I have lost 11 pounds. And just this morning I ran 2.6 miles on the treadmill without stopping. If you’re not an overweight, out-of-shape over-forty-year-old, you might not know just how good that feels. Just believe me when I say it’s so SO good.

Even better? It turns out that I LOVE going to the gym. Really love it. Crazy, eh? I look forward to it so much that I often consider going in the evening too. And on the rare weekend morning when I have to miss because of a soccer game or a trip to the airport, I’m disappointed.

Other than riding my bike in the summer and chasing after small children, I’ve done very little exercise in the twelve years that I’ve been a mom. I haven’t been a member of a gym since back in my single days. I really didn’t expect to enjoy this. I thought it would be pure torture every single day, and after a month or so of subjecting myself to torture just because I’d paid for it and didn’t want to waste the money, I’d drop out.

But – surprise, surprise – it’s not torture. Sure it’s tough, and I’m not too fond of dragging my tired body out of bed that early. But mostly it’s delightful. It’s delightful walking the three blocks to get there in the crisp quiet morning air. (Yes, I’m lucky it’s so close.) It’s delightful pushing my body to new limits. It’s delightful feeling the pain of the last push of adrenaline at the end of the workout. It’s delightful getting to know some of the other women who are mostly very much like me at a small homey neighbourhood gym. It’s especially delightful stepping into a warm shower afterwards and letting the water wash the sweat from my body.

I keep expecting the novelty will wear off (there goes that pessimist again). It hasn’t.

What surprises me the most is just how spiritual it feels to be pounding out my footprints on the treadmill or flexing my muscles on the weight machines. With my music playing in my ears, it feels like meditation – like prayer. Even a little like communion. It feels like God really is visiting this humble temple.

17 comments:

bbb said...

Way to go, Heather!!! And don't worry about what Dad would think of it all. He didn't care for hiking in the mountains much either. :-)

Accidental Poet said...

way to go, H. Six in the morning would KILL me, but I could do it to walk the dog :) I love the dog. Wait, this isn't about me ...

Keep up the good work.

Karmyn R said...

Awesome! Congrats on the achievement! You are my hero.

andrea said...

The coffee you reward yourself (OK, myself) with afterwards -- the most delightful thing of all! All those endorphins combined with caffeine! :) Word of caution: don't get so addicted that you injure yourself and then make it worse by "working through the pain" just because you are scared s***less about stopping. Been there done that and still have lessons to learn. :) And well done you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Heather - congrats on the self-discipline! I am in awe. Now for something completely different - I vaguely remember you writing to Mystic Wing. Am I crazy? If not, then do you know what happened to his site? Blogger is telling me it doesn't exist. Write and let me know.

Erin - teadrnkr36@yahoo.com

ccap said...

Why I do believe that's what I've GAINED since January 21st. ;-)

Tabitha said...

I am thinking of starting a fitness routine and your post has inspired me....well done on your achievements.

Anvilcloud said...

That's amazing!! You should win some sort of award. I could never do the morning thing.

Michele said...

That is really cool. Congratulations!

Linda said...

Way to go!

karla said...

Fabulous Heather. Once it becomes part of your routine, I becomes a bit addicting doesn't it?

Congratulations!

Liz said...

That is so awesome Heather! Fitting exercise into your schedule is the hardest part, but once it becomes just part of your day, you'd miss it if you didn't go. Congrats on the weight loss too! I've lost 5 and have 10 to go so I understand how good that feels! (it's so much harder to lose now that I am in my mid-40's!!)

Hope said...

I just picked up my favorite little black dress from the dry cleaners this morning for a party tommorow night.... just tried it on, I haven't worn it for a year, and I won't be wearing it tommorow.
I think I found your lost pounds!
Thanks for your last couple of posts I need a reminder of how fortunate I am.

Pamela said...

so happy for your commitment.
I feel more like being committed (in another sense. sigh)

Stephanie said...

That's amazing! Way to go on getting in shape, and how fabulous that you enjoy it too!

Cecily said...

I loved this post! I can echo your enjoyment of exercise (although I don't go to the gym at 6 6 times a week... I go maybe twice at 9am! But I still love it)

But I cried as I read out this post to my husband! That spirituality bit. This is where God meets us isn't it. He meets us in the nitty gritty every day of life. I love that God is teaching more about what it is to be spiritual. And I love that I'm not the only one on the journey.

Thanks Heather!

joyce said...

brave. Way to go for posting this and for- WHAT DID YOU SAY- ENJOYING IT ??!!
wow.