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Walking, Breathing, Climbing Stairs & Eating

This originally appeared one year ago on GastricBypassBarbie.com.
I love going back and rereading some of my archives…just to see if I still feel the same way today. HINT: I DO!

Walking, Breathing, Climbing Stairs, and Eating

Sometimes, as I’m going about my day, something ordinary will happen, and I will see it through extraordinary eyes.

Today is no exception.

I was walking to my car and, as I stepped down the curb to enter the parking lot, I caught myself worrying that I might fall. When I didn’t fall, I wondered in amazement how it is that I manage to ambulate every day — up and down curbs, through parking lots, to the store — WITHOUT EVEN THINKING ABOUT IT. See, that’s the key to this little ordinary moment. I walk without thinking about it.

Okay, it’s true: Every once in awhile, I will trip (usually, it is over an imaginary speed bump in the carpet, but sometimes, there really is a crack or a rock or a tree root.) If it’s a really bad day, I will actually fall. Of course, before I land, I am already panicking about hitting the ground (which is the wrong thing to do), so it usually hurts more, because I have tensed up (I overthought it). The best falls are the ones that happen before I know it’s happening – LOL.

So, when that happens, do I just lay there and never ever get up again because I am convinced that I am not able to walk? No, I pick myself up (or accept a hand-up, if someone is around to see my clumsiness), dust myself off, and carry on. That’s how it works: I walk, I trip, I fall, I get up, then I walk some more — just a bit more carefully this time.

And then there are stairs. Now, stairs are a little more challenging for me, because stairs and I have a very bad history. I have fallen down more flights and steps than I care to remember. Fortunately that doesn’t keep me from climbing up and down them, now, I just don’t do it as frequently as I “walk.” That means I am “not as good at navigating stairs, as I am at walking.”

Now, if you talk to MexiKen about this, he will tell you that I’m not especially good at either thing, but I contend that I have improved since shedding over 160 pounds, so that is a major victory, but I digress.

Even though I may not navigate stairs that often, I usually do okay. That is, until I stop to think about each step. Then my rhythm gets all funky and I trip or miss the stair or something. (Thank goodness for handrails, that’s all I can say.) In the past, I avoided stairs, pretty much at all costs, but not anymore. Now I kinda view them as a challenge that I usually win.

Same with walking. I used to hate walking (in all forms, including, but not limited to: strolling, hiking, jogging or striding.) Not anymore. Now I actually relish the idea of taking a long walk on the beach or up a steep hill or something.

Okay, so what do walking and stair climbing have to do with the Bariatric After Life™? Well. I’m glad you asked and am thankful you have stuck with me this long.

Walking is something we do without thinking (unless we have extenuating circumstances). It’s like breathing. We don’t think about breathing, yet we do it. When we choke on something, we don’t just “stop breathing.” We clear the airway and keep breathing! Same with walking: If we trip, stumble or fall, we don’t stop walking forever; we get up and keep walking.So, I look at breathing and walking like I do eating properly and making smart food choices (ahhh, there’s the connection).

With eating, I have learned that if I think about it TOO much, I “stumble,” but if I do what I “know,” I am more successful. Now, I’m not advocating that you NOT think about what you are going to eat, anymore than I would suggest you go walking without a purpose, destination or direction (that would be like meandering…or grazing!)

What I’m saying is, I think there is a way to move the concept of healthy eating in the Bariatric After Life into the “involuntary” part of the brain, right alongside walking and breathing!

And what about those stairs? Well, in my case, since they are a bit challenging, I look at stairs like I do eating at a party or a restaurant — in other words, something I don’t do *as often* as walking, but something I need to be good at, in order to “get where I need to be.” So, stairs require a bit more thought — but not OVER-thought, or I will stumble and fall out of rhythm.

For example: When I see stairs, I do a quick assessment: How many flights are there? What shoes am I wearing? How much time do I have to get to my destination?

Same with eating “out.” Where are we going? What’s on the menu? What will I order? How much time will I have after we are seated? Once I get there, it’s time to move into the involuntary mode, so I’m not preoccupied with overthinking the process.

Since I walk, breathe and even climb stairs without THINKING about it, I believe that becoming a confident healthy eater can be handled the same way! When I occasionally trip, fall, or choke, I simply pick myself up, dust myself off, and take the next best step (or bite). Hey, everyone makes “missteps” in the Bariatric After Life. It’s what you do next that matters most.

Gosh! I got all of this from not tripping when I stepped off the curb in high heels. Imagine how profound I am when I tie my shoes (and don’t pass out from lack of oxygen.)

Does this make sense? It’s okay if it doesn’t, but to me, the parallels are kinda cool.


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