Getting Started

I remember when my wife and I had reached our lowest point in our fitness ability. It’s kind of funny how we “blossomed” together in our weight. I had already begun to pack it on when we got married, but it really ballooned after that, which coincided with the birth of our first daughter.

Going through high school, I could eat anything that I want, and I did just that! Once, I walked into McDonald’s and actually ordered everything on the menu. Granted, the menu was a lot smaller, but I sat down and ate the whole thing, including two packages of cookies and a sundae to top it all off. My weight at graduation? 135. If I was sopping wet. With my pockets full of rocks. If I rounded up.

A year after graduation, I went to the Dominican Republic to serve a mission for two years. I ate a ton, but was always on the move. Weight when I got back (at 21 years old)? 140. If I was sopping wet. With my pockets full of rocks. If I rounded up.

The trouble started when I got back, though. I got a desk job as a teller at a bank. I still ate whatever I wanted, but wasn’t moving around as much. A year and a half after I got back, I married my sweet wife and had put on 25 pounds. 165 wasn’t too bad, but I had to get a new wardrobe and found myself wearing a lot more sweaters. We got pregnant a month after we were married and I gained the weight right along with my wife and attributed it to “supporting her”. The problem is that we both continued the indulgent, sedentary lifestyle and grew in weight. I got too big for my suits and other clothes and remembered actually feeling surprised when they were too tight. Because it happened so smoothly, I didn’t even recognize it in the mirror.

All the credit goes to my wife for getting us up and going. She and a friend started going on walks. I was happy to stay at home with the baby as she did that. I noticed that she started smiling more and I was very glad of that. She was still beautiful to me, but she complained more about her weight and was more prone to crying and being upset before she started walking with her friend. One day, her friend could not walk with her, so she talked me into putting the baby into the stroller and walking with her.

If I remember correctly, we only walked a mile or so, but I was surprised and disappointed that I was out of breath and sweating by the time we were half way done. She was already conditioned enough that she was able to talk, and I was embarrassed that I couldn’t participate in the conversation beyond the occasional grunt of agreement.

That’s how it started for me and that’s what I’d recommend to my friends who find themselves in a similar position. I’m not just talking about being fat, either. Even skinny people can be out of condition if they have a sedentary lifestyle. Get started by walking around the block. After you can do that while having a conversation with a friend, go two blocks. Keep on adding on and push yourself to the point where you’re breaking a bit of a sweat when you get home or to where you’re breathing heavy. Don’t be embarrassed by either of those things because it means that you’re getting better and becoming more athletic!

I’ve now run races, including 5ks, half marathons, and even full marathons. I don’t get winded going up stairs and actually love moving! You can do it, too, without a question. It might take several months or even years, but you’ll be able to achieve things you might think are impossible. It took me a couple of years before I ran my first 5k and a few more before I ran my first half marathon, but I’m doing it and loving it. For me, there are very few things more exhilarating than hearing the gun go off and feeling the excitement of the other runners at the start of a race, no matter how long they are, no matter if you’re running or walking.

Start today! Walk around the block. Don’t worry about what anyone may think or how uncomfortable it may feel. Don’t worry about wearing the right clothes or anything else like that. Just take the first step. It may not be comfortable while you are doing it (and I hope it doesn’t – remember to push yourself), but you will feel so good when you get back in the house, kick off your shoes and sit down! You can do it!