I've been experiencing a bit of water retention lately. Well, more than a bit of it. I've gained about five pounds of water weight in the past year or so. And it's left me feeling sluggish. So I haven't been excercising nearly enough.
In fact, there have been many days this past year where I've been more than happy to find an excuse not to ride my bike, not to go for that walk, or not to walk my dog even. But the inactivity started to affect me, and my body was feeling it. I could see it was affecting my dog as well. I decided to pay attention.
A week ago, I took a trip to the doctor's office, and it was my doctor who (bless her) reminded me that after 40, gravity starts to take its toll on the human body. Because I'm otherwise healthy, or so I believe (All my blood work hasn't come back from the lab yet.), I'm now "forced" to exercise daily, that is, if I want to remove the excess pounds. I do want that.
For once, I'm okay with feeling "forced" to do something, especially since I'd allowed myself to get caught in the trap of making excuses for why I wasn't exercising on a daily basis (Note: It's so easy to fall back into old habits.). I was only walking or riding on days when I was feeling particularly stressed or just needed to unwind. But I wasn't going out every day. I had become far too involved in my work to make time for much else.
Big mistake for the person whose work involves sitting on her bum for the most of the day in front of a computer screen. That's not exactly an ideal lifestyle choice, is it? It's a funny quirk about life, but if you pay attention to the signs, they'll lead you exactly where you need to go. So it seems this "forced" measure that's been placed upon me is a good thing. It's what I needed to hold myself accountable so I could continue moving forward. Maybe it's what I needed to move. Period. But it's worked. I've been active for at minimum an hour a day, every day, for the past few weeks. I started the week before I went to the doctor's office, because I knew what I needed. I just needed that extra push. As I said, if we pay attention, we know exactly what we need.
But I also have a weight gain limit that I imposed upon myself after seeing the excellent results I had while riding my bike through the early months of my divorce back in 2003. I'd lost 40 pounds in less than three months! It was a crazy amount of weight loss, but I needed it. I was overweight then and on my way to worse physical ailments. Fortunately, my body was drawn to what it needed then, too. That bike of mine. Sitting in the garage. Just waiting for me to hop on. I paid attention then, and it became my lifesaver. I'm paying attention again, only now I can be my own lifesaver. I transferred that physical bike into a mental one, and it's always there, waiting, to remind me of what I need to do. It reminds me to pay attention. When I do, I can find or see exactly what I need to reach a goal, to set a limit, and then move forward. It reminds me who is responsible for me.
Those are the two best gifts my bike riding experience gave me--the ability to pay attention and that lesson in responsibility. I've mentioned this before, I believe, but now that I know what it feels like when I'm taking the best care of myself, which includes exercising regularly, I'm easily reminded when I'm not. It can't be hidden. I feel it. I can't dismiss that anymore. Not now that I'm aware. And I don't want to return to me that was. The new me is better. She's healthier. She's smarter. She's more in tune with what works and what doesn't. Since realizing the impact my mental BIKE has on my life, my lifestyle, my perspective on life, and everything else in between, it's easier to realize when I'm not doing my best. That, in turn, makes it easier to correct myself.
It's a lot of work, I must admit, taking charge of a life in this way. I'm always focused on making sure I'm doing my best, always considering ways my life can be lived better, always wanting to move forward and to stop any backward movement before it goes too far. That is a lot to pay attention to, but we only get one time here on this earth to live in this body. It's worth the hard work it takes to give it your best shot.
And if gravity tries to take over, it's worth it to tame it as best as you can.
That's what I'm doing.
How about you?
All my best,