Thursday, March 20, 2014

Taking the first step...

I shared this story with my Weight Watchers members in my newsletter this week (if you'd like me to add you to the mailing list just shoot an email with the subject line "ADD" to and quite a few of them asked me to share it on our facebook page-so I thought it would just be simpler to put it in a post! I also shared it during my interview on Half Size Me, but I didn't realize I'd never really told it here on the blog.

As you may know, this month at Weight Watchers, we’re talking about activity.
That’s why our routine for March is “Walk 5 minutes for every hour you are awake”.

This week we talked about all the ways we work extra activity into our days and many of you shared how getting more activity has enhanced your lives. I know starting an activity routine can seem scary, tough, even impossible - I’m so proud of you for even considering it!

Some of you know I now teach two Zumba classes a week, but what you probably don’t know is that I was EXTREMELY sedentary for pretty much all of my life. I was already grown up and married before I decided to finally get up off the couch. What changed my mind?

In college I made a wonderful, brilliant friend named Sharon (not her real name). Have you read the studies that say that obese people tend to have friends who are also obese? Well, I'm sorry to say that, for a few people in my life, *I* was that friend.  Sharon and I tended to be not the best influence on each other when it came to food. We always agreed that exercise was just something we “didn’t do”and we laughed at people who jumped around in aerobics classes.

About a year after I got married, Sharon was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. She had a strong family history of the disease and even though she’d had mammograms, doctors missed the diagnosis, partly because of her weight. One day I called (we lived on opposite coasts). Her mom answered the phone and called to Sharon, telling her it was me. I could tell from the sound of her voice that Sharon was in right there in the room and I knew she was moving as fast as she could, but it took her about 90 seconds to get to the phone.
I remember trying very hard to sound as upbeat as I could, but when I hung up the phone I thought, “What’s wrong with me? Who do I think I am, anyway?” I knew Sharon would have given anything to be able to run to the phone, or play with her kids or to do any of the simple activities I took for granted. I knew sitting on the sofa was no longer acceptable, so I vowed right then that I would find SOME kind of exercise that I actually enjoyed and could do every day.

But, still a little clueless (a la Scarlett O’Hara), I vowed to “find it TOMORROW”!

My reason? I couldn’t possibly exercise that very day because, um, there was so much LAUNDRY to do! And we all know laundry is WAY more important than our health, right?

I lived in a high rise at the time and we had a laundry room in the basement. I put my laundry in the wash and started my way back up to my apartment to sit on my butt watching TV until it was time to put everything in the dryer. Next to the laundry room door there was a big box overflowing with books, CDs and videos with a sign saying “FREE”. On the very top of the pile was a beat-up, old VHS copy of Richard Simmons’ “Sweatin’ to the Oldies”. I flipped the tape over and saw that the running time was EXACTLY the amount of time it would take for my wash to finish. “ALL RIGHT!” I said to the heavens, “I’ll TRY this tape, but if I hate it? IT GOES BACK TO THE BOX!”

Well, I have to tell you I thought I was going to die 5 minutes into that dang tape. But I had this big mirror in my living room and every time I caught a glimpse of myself, I noticed I was smiling. I was purple and sweaty, but SMILING.

That was about 13 years ago. I now own pretty much every video Richard Simmons has ever made. Not only that, but a couple of years ago a Cynthia (from Curvy Escapades) and I started making regular trips up to Beverly Hills to work out with Richard in person. He noticed us trying our best to keep up and, last year, when he announced that he would be shooting a NEW series of videos? He asked us to audition.
Yep, now I AM one of those smiling people IN THE RICHARD SIMMONS VIDEO! Here’s a “behind the scenes” look of the shoot:

Did you spot me? It was one of the most fun days I’ve ever had.

I want you all to know that YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE THAT FIRST STEP IS GOING TO TAKE YOU! Just get moving! You don’t have to do a whole fitness video, you can start with WALKING. That first step can bring you that much closer to achieving your dreams.

The great thing about walking 5 minutes every hour: you’ll rack up around 80 minutes of activity without needing any special gear or equipment!

Which brings me to the PIN OF THE WEEK:
btw-if you want to follow me on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter, my handle is @shesnachomama

NEXT WEEK-We’ll talk about the importance of MIXING IT UP. Yes, you can get into a rut with your activity just like you can with your food!

Wishing you love with extra cheese-
Nacho Mama


Toledo Lefty said...

I have heard this story on your podcast and on Heather's but it is a great story and worth retelling. So glad you found a new active life, since it's hard for me to imagine you any other way.

Kay Lynn Akers said...

The taping looked like a lot of fun. Richard is a hoot!