Friday, October 9, 2009

Short of Breath

By Guest Blogger Jeanne Adams

Earlier this summer, I realized I was short of breath. Now before you frown too much, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t like ME either. By nature, I’m an active (verging on hyperactive), extroverted Tigger-type. Which means, I was never heavy as a kid, nor as a young adult. In fact, I’ve only been over my “typical” weight levels twice in my life.

Now is the second time. The first time was in my twenties when my life fell apart. In the space of 45 days, my mother died, my marriage ended, I moved, and my now-thankfully-ex-husband left me thousands upon thousands in debt. It was the same month as my birthday and Christmas too. Ick. I cried a lot. I ate to fill the emptiness. The worst for me though, was that I didn’t move. I sat. I stared. I worked. I went home.

Not a lot else going on.

As I began to heal, I realized I was in my twenties, and short of breath. WHAT?? How could I, the quintessential bounce-out-of-the-chair-in-meetings gal be overweight, breathless? Well, sitting and thinking and moping will obviously do that to a body.

I tried yoga, aerobics, swimming, biking and all manner of other things. I discovered a very important thing. I really, really, really don’t like to sweat. I also don’t like chlorine hair. So vain! Unfortunately, even doing yoga makes you sweat if you do it right. If you want to move muscles and burn fat and gain health, you’re gonna sweat. Bummer.

It took me months, and dozens of false starts. Then, one day, I walked into a Tae Kwon Do studio.

Within two years, I was told, I could have a black belt. Wow. Cool! Engage brain AND body…I like it!

The first day of class was painful. There were push-ups in the warm-up routine. The 8-year-old kid in the green belt next to me was pounding them out. I couldn’t do any. It was two weeks before I managed one full, military-style push-up and made one lap around the dojo without huffing and puffing. When I resigned the dojo to move to D.C. just shy of two years later, I could easily do 25 push-ups, circle the dojo ten to fifteen times before I was breathing hard, break boards, and drop a man twice my size. I made it to high-red – a step below black.

Fast forward to now. Short of breath again. A move, a marriage, a decade full of fabulous life with two kids and two books out. Problem is, the fertility-drug-induced and pregnancy weight gain, plus a lot of sitting to write books has caught up with me. No excuses though, since my youngest child is nearly five and I don’t write 24/7.

I needed to lose 25 pounds. And I needed to not be short of breath.

Time to start, I decided, with what I knew. So, I did one push-up. I drank more water than Diet Coke. I took a walk around the block.

The body is pretty amazing. It remembers. I have my Tae Kwon Do handbook. I’m doing the forms – the patterned movements. I started Karate in between books. I don’t get to class much, but I do the forms.

Author Mike Dooley in his book Infinite Possibilities says that the body knows it’s ideal weight and it knows how to get there, if you’ll just be still and listen. I’m listening. I’m doing push-ups. I’m walking. I’m breathing. I’m moving.

I don’t need The Biggest Loser. All it took was being short of breath to remind me that if I want to sing and chase and yell and whoop and be there for my kids and my fantastic hubby, then I needed to start with one push-up. And keep going.

What was your start? What’s your motivation to keep going? I’m down ten pounds and going for twenty by my birthday in December. Do you have a milestone? I’m hoping that I can finally drop the last five by New Year's. I’m getting there, one push-up at a time. I’m not losing weight, I’m gaining health. What are you gaining by getting fit? I’d love to hear all about it!


Today's progress:

Calorie intake: 1,420

Exercise: Lots of walking during errands and shopping. Seriously, I should see how many steps it take from the time I walk into Walmart until I walk out. Some dancing around while I was uploading '80s music to my iPod for my 20-year high school reunion this weekend.

Steps: 16,157


Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on October 9, 2009 at 12:30 AM said...

Jeanne, I know this shortness of breath of which you speak. Annoying, isn't it? It tends to get a little better with each pound that leaves the bod, though.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) on October 9, 2009 at 7:18 AM said...

Bummer isn't it? But you're right, the shortness goes away w/ each pound, each day full of 10,000+ steps. :>

Michelle Butler on October 9, 2009 at 9:22 AM said...

Way to go for making the commitment to get back to being fit!

Why is martial arts so appealing to you?

The point from Mike Dooley is really interesting. I've NO IDEA what my ideal body weight is. No idea how my body would go about telling me that. It'll be interesting to see if I reach the point that it does.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) on October 9, 2009 at 10:34 AM said...

Hi Michelle! I think the martial arts appeal so much because I can actually learn something useful while exercising. Not so true with aerobics. :>

I found the Mike Dooley perspective really interesting because when I was in the best shape of my life - as I turned 30 at the Dojo - I knew that I not only felt good, but looked good and didn't feel the need to lose weight at all. It's probably a different set point now, but I'm hoping to find that again, so what Mike said really resonated with me

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) on October 9, 2009 at 10:35 AM said...

Hey, Michelle, can you see the tigger pic and the martial arts pic? They aren't showing up on my computer

Michelle Butler on October 9, 2009 at 11:51 AM said...

I can't see the photos either. I can see the book cover.

Susan Sey on October 9, 2009 at 12:57 PM said...

This is a great post, Jeanne--thanks for the reminder that my body knows what it's doing. I spend so much time trying to impose my vision on my body that I forget to listen.

Congrats on your progress! I blow at martial arts, btw so I'm doubly impressed!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) on October 9, 2009 at 4:06 PM said...

Susan, whatever your vision is, it's working! You look great. :>

It took me a long time not to blow at martial arts too. Haha! You should hear Nancy and me comparing notes about the bruises from the early days. Yeeeouch! But, like anything, you get the rhythm and flow of it and it, well, flows. :> I have a friend who refuses to do any kind of martial art because it requires hitting. So, she does yoga instead. Yoga was too slow for me, as was Tai Chi. Ahhhh, well. :>

Tawny on October 9, 2009 at 6:45 PM said...

I love it, Jeanne. I think we all find some 'exercise' that just resonates for us and our body. The trick, of course, is getting ourselves on track to doing that on a regular basis!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) on October 9, 2009 at 8:23 PM said...

You hit it right on, Tawny! Self-motivation...urg.

Theresa Ragan on October 9, 2009 at 9:12 PM said...

Great post, Jeanne. Yes, we need motivation to keep going. I keep exercising mostly because of how it makes me feel mentally. When I don't exercise I get moody and it's not very long before I know I need to get back on the treadmill or start walking. Good job on losing ten pounds!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) on October 9, 2009 at 11:12 PM said...

Thanks Theresa! I've been enjoying the "return to me" I've had. Its good motivation to keep going. Grins.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on October 10, 2009 at 11:18 AM said...

Hey, Jeanne, thanks for the post, and thanks to everyone for popping by to read and comment. Sorry I didn't get back here yesterday. Day 1 of the class reunion went way later than I thought.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) on October 11, 2009 at 9:52 AM said...

Thanks for having me on, Trish! Hope the Reunion was a blast!

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