discovery #35

that riding your bike at 6:30am on a sunday doesn't feel like EXERCISE

i was kinda dreading my workout on sunday, my first pre-work bike ride since i started the new 12-hour shifts. i got up at six and quickly realized that it was still dark outside and that i didn't really want to ride alone until the sunrise at 6:23am (yes, i did look it up online). in those 23 minutes i was strongly considering snuggling back up with my hubby. but once i hit the path along the bayou, it was perfect. quiet...the sun slowly rising over the city...me and my pal piedra on the open road bike path.  i knocked out 45 minutes at a good clip and arrived home energized and ready for my twelve-hour day at the hospital.

this story is just one of the many examples i have to show that a healthy lifestyle MUST be based on
a) things you like
b) things that are fun
c) things you have easy access to
d) things you can do at 6am on a sunday
....and preferably, all of the above. 

i have been approx the same weight (150 lbs, if you must know) for the last decade. once my body figured out the shape it wanted to be in my early 20's, i just tried to keep it there. i have found this fairly easy to accomplish because of two things: fun activities and a weight watchers mindset. let me break it down for you:
1.  sometime around 2000, i found yoga. then, when i was about 25 i decided to run my first half marathon. i swim (indoors and out), mountain bike, take salsa lessons, group exercise classes (zumba dance!) at the ymca...anything that sounds like FUN! if it sounds like 45 minutes on a treadmill looking at some old guy's worn out sweatpants...i'm out. if it includes "spinning" while some skinny bitch yells like a drill sergeant that i'm not going fast enough...i will RUN in the opposite direction to get my exercise. which brings us back to this discovery...i actually enjoy riding my bike...what a concept!

and 2. i gained A LOT of weight after my sister's death. we're talking twenty-five-pounds-a-lot. i found it very hard to care that i had gained this much weight and even harder to put in effect any type of consistent plan to change it. grief sucks. literally...it sucks the energy right out...and there's not much that can replenish it. when getting up and walking to the bathroom feels like an accomplishment, running three miles is completely unfathomable.

weight watchers (ww) gave me the structure--and the freedom--i needed to get my life back in order. well, that and a goal of training for the austin half marathon.  almost five years after i lost the 25 lbs on ww, i still use the principles. basically, because.they.work. and i can have wine and ice cream and pizza. (preferably not at the same time) i need something that allows for fun...and understands that i am human.

i will not be able to run for much longer...my knees just can't take it. but i am finding great joy in my bike rides (usually with d beside me) and my recent return to swimming. both remind me of my childhood--riding around the neighborhood and splashing in the pool...and they fit perfectly with my philosophy of living life like a kid. and that's something i'll get up at dawn for.

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