To take care of me, to pass the time without all of my children needing my care, and to help me sort out things in life, I've been walking. Extra. I really need to drop some pounds, and I also really like the thinking that happens while I walk. Finding the time, and staying motivated are, of course, the ever-present complicators, but I've found something that will work for at least the next month until school starts again.
I set my alarm for 6:10am, to be out the door by 6:30am. The sun isn't above the mountains yet at that time, so I can huff the mile uphill to the high school track without its rays beating down on me. I take Conor with me in the stroller, and now that Lyndsay is home, she comes too.
I walk for one hour.
Pushing the stroller. Uphill one mile. Around the track for two miles. Downhill one mile.
(I'm not as young or as fit as I once was!)
But, I decided that to reach my goals, a 20 or 30 minute walk just wasn't going to cut it. I needed to sweat more. Incidentally, pushing a stroller when you walk helps you burn 20% more calories, did you know? That little thought helps get me through as I'm pushing my three year old with all of my might.
Setting just a weight loss goal is too abstract for me. I don't even own a scale, so keeping track is difficult, but also, I don't want to be so tied down to a number, or discouraged when the losing is slow. So, I decided instead to reward myself for time spent exercising. A point system.
My minimum goal is 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. For each 30 minutes, I get a point. So, for my hour-long walks I get 2 points. Then I needed something to work towards.
I need walking shoes! Badly. Mine are about seven years old, and bless their torn soles, they have carried me over thousands and thousands of miles. But you know how it is (or do you?) when you just can't bring yourself to spend money on you. But if I earn them. . .
So, that's my first reward. I decided on 40 points getting me a new pair of walking shoes. That would be 20 days of walking one hour. Almost three weeks, which is long enough that I will have come a long way towards establishing a habit, I should feel stronger, and I might even have some noticeable weight loss by then, at least to me. After my shoes, I'll set a point goal to earn other fun things, like a new dress, or a pair of jeans that make my (newly firmed up) butt look great.
Today was 22 points. That means I'm more than halfway to my new shoes! (I'd better have some money when I get to 40!)
So far, I haven't missed a day, except that I take Sundays off to rest. And I feel so, so good. I feel my lungs and my heart and my legs all getting stronger. I come home sweaty every day. And I feel happy that I'm honoring myself.
I noticed that when I began, pushing the stroller up that hill to the track was made more difficult because the whole time I was thinking things like, "Oh my gosh it is so hot already. I hate this. This is so hard. I am so out of shape." I'm trying to banish negative or defeating self-talk.
Now, I walk up that hill saying, "I am so strong! Look at me go! Fitter every day!"
I watched Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life, all about the power of affirmations and positive thinking. As I push Conor around the track I say to myself (and sometimes out loud, which Conor loves) "I am beautiful! I am healthy! I am strong! I can do anything! I love my life! I love my body! I am happy!"
And it works! It makes me walk taller and faster. It makes me smile.
And I'm getting there.