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Faster. Stronger. Higher. Farther. NOT.

This article was originally published on Gastric Bypass Barbie in August 2009, but I reread it and noticed that…I’m still the same girl: Not the front of the pack; not the back of the pack…just right 😉 Feel free to read, enjoy and comment!

Exercise in the Bariatric After Lifeâ„¢
Celebrating My Limitations

I’ve discovered something fascinating about myself:  When it comes to physical exertion — I’m not speedy, I don’t have a lot of endurance, and I’m pretty much just middle of the road.

  • If you’re looking for explosive bursts of speed, or incredible bouts of endurance: I’m NOT your girl.
  • If you don’t need the greatest strength or the most sweat: I AM your girl.
  • If you want me to show up with a smile on my face, give it my best effort, and promise me I won’t die trying: I’m your girl.
  • If it’s going to hurt a little: I AM your girl.
  • If it’s going to hurt a LOT: I’m probably NOT your girl.

On the plus side, I am persistent, fairly consistent, and learning to be less resistant.

So why am I sharing all of this? Well, I had this epiphany about my “limitations” (or shall I say “realities?”) while I was riding my bike with hubby the other morning before work. We rode 15 miles in an hour, which means that we weren’t breaking any land speed records, and I wasn’t “leaving it all on the trail” either. I guess I was moving along and a consistently decent and fairly quick clip, but didn’t kill myself doing it.

So, is that good or bad? Is it good that I don’t like to push myself too hard? Am I letting myself off easy, or just making sure I don’t overdo it (and wind up quitting, because it’s too hard or I end up hurting myself?)

Like the other night: MexiKen and I were out for an evening walk and, as usual, we weren’t speed walking (or running), and I wasn’t swinging my arms wildly. We were just walking –  faster than a crawl, but slower than a sprint.

I commented that:

  1. I should never walk if I’m in a hurry to actually “get” anywhere.
  2. I should not expect the scenery to change quickly.
  3. I should focus on the WALK and not the WALKING.
  4. I probably won’t be breaking any “distance” records any time soon because I get bored quite easily.

So, what do I do with this knowledge? Well, as I continue to transform myself in this Bariatric After Life — mentally, physically and emotionally — I think it’s important to regularly self-assess; to take stock in how I think and feel about exercise, especially since I never exercised before. I think this keeps me grounded and on track, but also gives me room for growth. It’s the same as introspection and reflection on emotional stuff — I need to know what makes me tick so I can exploit my strengths and not be hamstrung by my weaknesses.

In the past, I spent a great deal of time and mental energy comparing myself to others. Typically, I didn’t measure up and fell short because they were prettier, skinnier, richer, healthier, happier, smarter — whatever-er.

As I lost weight after my WLS, I kept comparing myself, but now I began to see that I was “as thin as…,” or “as pretty as…” or “as worthwhile as…” — but I still struggled with being “as fit as…” or as “physically talented as…” — Instead of running my own race (literally and figuratively), I was measuring my own accomplishments against others’ and coming to the conclusion that I was falling short and not keeping up with them! If someone else was doing more RPMs on the elliptical machine, I was not worthy; if someone else was able to kick higher at power tae, I was not worthy; if someone else could run a marathon (and I couldn’t run for 1 minute), I was not worthy; if someone else was able to ride farther on their bike, I was not worthy. It didn’t matter that I was doing 45 minutes of good, hard work on the elliptical, or riding 30 miles on my bike, or walking 5 miles, or kicking as high as I could for an hour at power tae.  In my estimation, I was “less than…” (again.)

I invalidated everything I was accomplishing if it didn’t measure up to what others were accomplishing. Fortunately, I realized that this was destructive and counterproductive and, with this latest epiphany, I have begun to right some debilitating and crippling wrongs.

Here’s what I know:

  • I am who I am.
  • I am good, and getting better.
  • I have limitations; some are permanent, others can be corrected with time and effort.
  • Life is not a race, and I’m not in competition with anyone else.
  • As long as I work hard at improving my abilities, whenever and wherever possible, then I’m making progress.
  • If I never run a 5K or swim a mile, I’m okay.*
*I have walked a 5K and I’m a reasonably good dog-paddeler.

 

At the end of the day, I’m happy with my second chance at living, and have learned to spend my days dreaming of new and wonderful ways to use my improved body.

Just this weekend, MexiKen and I went to REI and bought some hiking boots and a book with 100’s of California Hiking trails. There are details about the trails, difficulty, distance and length of time required to complete the hikes. We cannot WAIT to get out there and explore our Golden State. Oh, and if I DON’T finish the hike in the time mentioned in the book, that’s okay! I’m going at my own pace 🙂

Life is good, and getting better;  and, it’s okay that I probably won’t be crossing the finish line first…because, hey, I probably won’t be crossing it LAST, either!

Does all of this mean that I will live my life settling for mediocrity? Nope. It means that, now that I know who I am:

  • I  celebrate my success.
  • I strive for greater success — at my own speed.
  • I do not compare my success to others.

Are you fully celebrating your limitations? Why not shoot me a comment and let me know how “limited” you are? LOL.

1 comment

1 Nikkie { 06.25.12 at 6:34 am }

Wonderful! I enjoyed this blog, very much. Good to recognize and accept who you are! ~0;-*

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