Dear Old Me,
I wrote you a letter last night that said that to get the mythical “natural high” from exercise that you needed to get real with yourself and work harder, but I wanted to clarify. In the beginning you just need to do whatever you can to lose weight and exercise may not be possible. For a while you will simply need to watch your food intake and basically lug around the extra 150 lbs you are carrying. Carrying the equivalent of a full grown adult around with all the time will burn the extra calories needed to get the ball rolling. I know that at 320 lbs it is hard to exercise. Your back always hurts and you can only make it through 15-20 minutes of any kind of cardio. You hate every minute of it. At first it will be difficult to even move your body and break a sweat. You may even think that you don’t sweat. Believe it or not there will come a time when you can literally squeeze the perspiration out of your hair and clothes when you get done with a workout. In the meantime focus on your food intake and do what you can with exercise.
Don’t beat yourself up about the fact that you can’t exercise like everyone else. The hardest part of the weight loss journey is learning how to manage your eating. Because truly, the amount of food/calories you are taking in are enough to feed at least 3 grown adults. There is no wonder that you weigh over 300 lbs. So the first thing I recommend that you do is monitor your food. Learn proper portion control. Follow the guidelines on the labels of food. Stop eating at fast food restaurants. When you get to a healthier weigh it will be okay to occasionally go to that type of place, but it should not happen frequently. You need to lose a lot of weight and those establishments will do nothing but hinder any progress you hope to gain. In the beginning you will lose weight if you focus on your food. Don’t stress too much about the fact that you are not exercising and you are not sweating or working out at the same level as others.
When you have lost enough weight that you can work out you must find an exercise that works. You have to try all sorts of physical activity. I recommend looking outside the norm. You never know what will happen when you try out a new type of exercise. You may hate it, but you may fall in love with it. When I first decided to try out a Zumba class I had no idea that I would find the one type of exercise that I could stick with. I went to my first class and I really wish that I could describe how hard it was for me. I couldn’t really keep up. My feet were like thousand pound bricks. I could barely lift them when the dance would call for it. I certainly could not jump. Any time it called for a jump I would lift one foot at a time. I hated that I was such a prisoner in my body. There was something about the way the class was put together that made it possible to get through an entire hour. Granted I was looking at the clock every few minutes wondering if I would live until the end. I was surprised when the final song came on and it was time to cool down and stretch. I stretched and moved in the way that the instructor showed us to. I was soaked with sweat. I had never worked so hard for so long. Never in my life had I sustained that level of exertion for any period of time let alone and entire hour. That to me was enough to sell me on returning for a second class. I wanted to see if I could do it again. And truly that is what kept me going for the first couple of months. I wanted to find out if I could do it again and again and again. Each time I expected to fail and hate it and go back to my normal level of total inactivity. I am so grateful that never happened and has not happened yet. When I began to go to Zumba I had already lost about 70 lbs. I couldn’t have gotten through the workout at 320 lbs, but at 250 lbs I was ready to include exercise in my diet plan.
It was bumpy at first, but each time I did a class I felt stronger. Each time I was able to jump a little higher or do a full dance step combination. I am not sure if it was the music, the dancing, the instructor, the other ladies in the class or exactly what made me keep coming back. I will always be grateful that it did. I have totally fallen in love with Zumba. I may be getting a little ahead of myself, but I really want to become an instructor. I want Zumba in my life as a permanent fixture. I want to help others see the potential in this awesome physical activity. I started going to a second Zumba class after about 2 months of going to just Karine’s class. Jamee, the other instructor was a spunky, cute little thing. I could tell there was some serious ballroom experience in her choreographies. Her dances were so much fun and I soon started doing her class twice a week and Karine’s 3 times per week. Me, working out 5-6 times a week for over an hour each time? It is absolutely insane but it is happening. I crave the feeling I get when I am dancing. I love the feeling of complete happiness that envelopes me when I am done working out. I have to have it. And why not get paid to do it, right. I am a Zumba-nerd and I want to be a Zumba Master-nerd. I hope I am accepted by the other instructors and potential students. I hope I can figure out how to make my feet not look retarded when I dance. I hope I can make my body strong enough that I can lunge further, squat lower and move more fluid than anyone else. The only way I will know if I can do it is by actually doing it. And doing whatever it takes to make it happen. Jamee said she will help me every step of the way. And so did Karine. I have their blessings. I hope I can be ready by the September certification class. I love how Zumba has totally transformed me. I feel like it will turn me into the person I always wanted to be. Happy, healthy, energetic, in love with life. Me and aerobics instructor? Who would have thunk it. Not me, that’s for sure.
So, Old Me, it is possible. Just get started and you will go further than you ever dreamed possible. Start with a manageable food plan and start now!
The New You