This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Let's talk exercise

Even if you think you abhor the word, keep reading.

Exercise, of course, is a good thing. I know you know that, but let me share with you a story that might nudge you a little bit closer to getting on that bike, going for that walk, or digging out those yoga tapes.

I've mentioned that I found my special brand of BIKE while going through my divorce. I found it while riding an actual bicycle. A year on an old Huffy (and then two years on the Trek 4300 when I wore the Huffy down) taught me many lessons. One of the more important lessons learned came from this story:

The year before chaos hit at my house, I had gained 40 pounds. Some of you may not think that's a lot, but on my tiny frame, that was a lot of excess weight to carry around. And I felt it. I felt heavy. I felt unhealthy. I felt, well, I felt fat!

And when you feel fat, you start thinking fat. Even my son made fun of the size of my butt. And I'd laugh it off. Sometimes, that's how you deal when you're not really dealing. My head was telling me, "Oh, what's the use? It's too hard to try to do anything about it." I know some of you have felt like this, and it's not a good place to let your thoughts wander. That's dangerous territory -- physically, mentally, spiritually, and even sexually.

You don't have the energy to exercise, so you don't. You let the negative self-talk override anything that could be positive. You're probably not praying or feeling anything remotely close to faith in a higher power. And sex? If you're not in line with the prior three, the later is probably not even close to happening. And if it is, it's probably not very satisfying. So what's the point, right?

The point is that you're missing out.

I know. Because I was that person. I was missing out. It was as if I'd flat-lined on a gurney. I mean, there was nothing going on in my life. If there was joy to be found, I sure didn't know where to look.

I was too busy opening cupboard doors.

Even though I'd never been a snacker before, I was snacking during the last year before my marriage ended. Things were falling apart at my house. I had become a woman who was turning to food for the comfort I wasn't getting from my spouse at home. He was hardly home, anyway. And even when he was home, he wasn't. What was even worse was this: I wasn't paying attention. I was ignoring. And I was telling myself that things would get better. But I was NOT doing anything to make it better. I was simply getting by, biding time, waiting things out. Waiting for what, exactly, I don't know. But my head was not in an active mode, that's for sure.

There's more to the story than this, but I started to become more aware the day I stepped on a scale at the gym and saw that number. It was 40 pounds more than I'd ever weighed, and I knew then that something was wrong. An alarm went off inside my head that warned, "Jackie, you have to admit, that's not good."

When I started riding, it wasn't long before I started to notice the changes -- not just in my body, but in my head.

Within two months, I could see the belly bulge disappearing. I realized I no longer felt the skin around my middle smacking my leg as I pedaled. I knew that was a good thing. It felt like progress.

I could think clearer, I had more energy, and I felt lighter.

That was in 2002. Here it is 2007, and I still remember what it felt like to not only feel sluggish but also to behave sluggishly. I am now aware of what my body feels like when I'm not taking care of it. I now know I absolutely do not like that feeling. So when I have my moments of inactivity, when life feels too rushed to find time to exercise, it's not long before I notice that familiar slug-like feeling. That's enough to motivate me to get back on the bike, get back on a routine hiking schedule, or hop on the exercise ball. I'll do anything to avoid moving backwards for long. I do not ever want to return to where I was at. It was not a good place to be, not for anyone.

But some of us have to know what the bad feels like before we can appreciate the good, I guess.

So I now pay attention to how my body feels. I pay attention to what I'm doing to take care of it, and I know when I falter, the faltering moments won't last too long.

That's what BIKE is about. It's not about being perfect. It's about realizing when you're not doing your absolute best -- because you know yourself well enough to know what that really is -- forgiving yourself when you falter, and getting back on track. The special brand of BIKE that I'm sharing with you offers you not an excuse to make mistakes but an acceptance of those mistakes and a reason to move past them...simply because you can and because it's the best action to take.

Your mantra today: I am human. I make mistakes. But I still know how to move forward.

All my best,

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