I haven’t talked about fitness in awhile.
And good reason. I haven’t formally exercised (aside from the few yoga classes I was teaching in the fall) since July of last year. It all started with our summer road trip, then Joseph went off for four months for AF training, leaving me alone to raise & home school 4 kids. I had to cut something, so I chose exercise. Which wasn’t an easy decision.
Looking back, I was an exercise holic. After all, it was our proverbial bread & butter for 6 years. I made enough money as a fitness instructor at two universities & other professional institutions to pay (most of) the bills. Some days I exercised 2-3, or more hours. It was crazy, & I don’t recommend that level of exercise for anyone (except, of course, if it’s your dream to become a professional triathlete even then I might recommend switching professions).
So what did that amount of exercise do to my body?
First, & most obvious–I was in wicked good shape. Probably the best shape I will ever be in. And funny, when I was that fit, I still thought I could get stronger, faster, more toned. It was never “enough.”
Second, I ate a HUGE amount of food every day. When I wore my body media gear (accurately tracks calories burned throughout the day), there were some days I was burning upwards of 3700 calories a day! Holy moley. And this didn’t count nursing, which I was doing for a good deal of that time. Joseph & I still talk about the days when I could shovel down large amounts of food like there was no tomorrow. Eating, became somewhat of a chore. The time cooking, preparing food, & eating was twice what it is now.
Third–I was often tired. That level of exertion, day after day after day, was, well, tiring.
I loved teaching. Absolutely loved it. It was exhilarating to get up in front of a class & get paid to have fun & exercise. I loved getting to know my students & feeling like I was helping people learn how to take care of themselves through fitness.
Now that I have some distance from that period of my life, I have some perspective on the issue. I have to admit, it’s taken some time to adjust to my “new” body. I no longer have buns or abs “of steel.”
When I went to D.C. in November & saw Joseph for the first time in 3 months (& having undergone some changes in my body from not exercising), I was a bit self-conscious about it. I was afraid that Joseph would think I was “fat.” What I was worried what would be perceived as fat, Joseph just saw as a curvier, softer, & more attractive me. Having him respond so positively to me, was a huge boost in self-confidence. Also, I should insert here that Joseph has never been one to ever comment on my weight (be it gaining or losing). My weight doesn’t factor into his love for me, & he makes it a point to make sure I always remember that.
Now my day-to-day activity includes walking to Mali’s school to pick her up (about 1/2 hour round trip), cleaning my house, running around after Salem. I think I used to believe I would never, ever not exercise formally. I was a “believer” in word & deed. My attire, 75% of the time was workout pants & cross-trainers. But now, here it is. It’s been months & months since I’ve laced up my cross-trainers for a workout.
Despite this, I’m active. Do I burn fewer calories in a day than I used to? Heavens yes (& thankfully so). But, I rarely sit throughout the day. The activity of my new lifestyle is less intense than before, but it’s a kinder, more natural way to live. I’m still very active, & hope to return to a regular yoga practice. But for now, walks with my kids & the activity that comes from caring for young kids & a large house, is good enough for me.
I have a few more thoughts on some of the changes (physically & emotionally) that I’ve undergone in the past months. More on that, in next post.
What’s your current exercise regimine? Have you ever stopped an exercise routine after being faithful for years? What changes did you notice?