50,000 Times

I can't believe summer is gone, I am disappointed that I didn't take more time to really appreciate it.  Oh, we did get to the peninsula that neighbors Green Bay a few times:
And my husband and I escaped to Washington Island for a weekend 
Still, it was the ins and outs of the summer that I feel like I really missed out on.  Plus, my stupid sun allergy flared up again, so even ten measly minutes of sun exposure had me itching my neck and chest like I was diseased.  So sun-worshipping was not in my agenda, though we did spend a handful of days at beaches or pools now that my youngest has developed a passion for swimming!   Yet, here it is autumn and I am lamenting that I didn't appreciate summer enough as it whizzed past.  Maybe, more appropriately, I didn't make good use of my summer, it didn't play out how I thought it should have.  In my mind, because I didn't have to get the kids up and ready, I had 2 GLORIOUS hours of free time between getting up and getting ready for work.  I gave myself a little break after all the hustle and bustle of the kids' school year and finishing up my Bachelors Degree and I did take a few morning walks with my dog.

We live in a really pretty area now.  But, aside from a couple walks and a few morning stretch sessions, I really didn't do anything productive at all with those extra hours. I procrastinated my summer away until it disappeared.  And now I think I am heavier than I've been in years, and heading into the sun-deprived half of the year, which has a negative effect on my mood and energy level.  I can always imagine myself doing healthy things like going for morning walks, I can see how invigorating that would be with the cooler weather, but making it happen is another story.  
Last week, on a whim, I decided to sign up for a fitness challenge my company put on, to log 50,000 steps on my pedometer in 7 days.  I wear it every day, and typically average 5,000 steps or more just from my standard day, not including any extra exercise.  After signing up I remembered how bad my Achilles' tendon feels whenever I walk for exercise and I thought of dropping out, but I decided I would suck it up and deal with it, icing and using ibuprofen as needed.  Sometimes I walked at work, pacing back and forth in my office area, I did take a big long walk outside another day, toward the middle of the week I wasn't sure how I was going to pull it of but near the end, I knew it was happening no matter how I had to do it.  Today was the last day of the challenge, and I am already over 53,000 steps.  To be honest, some days I was surprised how fast the steps added up, and others it seemed like a struggle to get some extra paces in.  I'm glad it's over because having the goal made me hyper-focused on it, which should be the goal with exercise I suppose, but this one was a little less enjoyable because the chosen activity caused me some pain.  
During the week I nonchalantly searched up "cellulite suddenly appearing on my thighs" because it's something I've never had to deal with before but it's come on me like a load of bricks.  There were thes standard answers and advice on creams and snake oil but one article really bothers me.  It said there is a strong link between that and pre-diabetes (insulin resistance).  I have had one high reading a few years ago and that is when the doctor I was seeing at the time actually wrote a prescription for South Beach Diet.  At the time, I was already on medicine for high blood pressure and high cholesterol and he warned that the only way to get my numbers to improve in all three areas was to eat less sugars and exercise.  Shortly after that was when I lost my job and started this blog and followed his advice.  I weighed 193 when I started and got down to 152 at my lowest before I slowly gained it all back, and then some.  I weighed this afternoon and it said 203. Sigh.  I've been heavier than this, but not for a long time.  I look bad, I ache more than I should at this age, and I worry about what all this extra weight is doing on the inside.  I feel like this point in my life is crucial in designing what is like the second half to look like, because with menopause changes already beginning, my fight will only get more challenging.  Arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and cancer all run really heavy in my family.  I figure I can either end up like this:
Needing a motorized cart to haul my heavy a$$ around because I'm suffering under the unfair amount of pressure im forcing my body to carry, or I can look like this:
Yes, there are pictures of people doing even more amazing feats at older ages, but to me, this is a biggie right here, I don't want pain to stop me from being able to walk under my own power.  And if I stick to my stretching maybe I can even look like this:
Haha!  It comes down to me making the choices now that will lead to the path I want to be walking then.  I personally would rather hide myself away than have to ride a motorized cart around because I'm fat. I don't know the story of the lady in the photo, but in my story it'd be because I didn't buck up and do something when I had the chance.  
So tomorrow I will be starting my search for a stationary bike and I will keep on it until I find one.  I know my leg muscles have gotten weak and I know it will kick my butt for a while but I think it's a great way to build some lower body strength and support my knee.  Then hopefully by spring walking won't feel so challenging/burdensome.  I will also be going back to South Beach Diet on Monday.  I don't know where that leaves anything or if I'll have trouble with feeling restricted, but I think the books I've read lately are giving me great tools, and blogging more often will help too. I'm not trying to look like a fitness model, I just want to feel better and fight off muscle atrophy and unnecessary mobility issues the best I can.  Taking strides to get and keep my heart healthy are a goal too.  I have more goals in mind as well, for my mental and emotional health but this blog post is already longer than it should be.  So, here's to fresh starts and to never giving up no matter how bleak it may seem.  There's some life left in this old girl yet!


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