I have to confess that it’s been years since I exercised regularly. I am even disappointed in myself because I don’t eat as well as I used to. This was not always the case. I’ve had periods in my life when I exercised all of the time and maintained what my husband refers to as my “Every meal two veggie and/or fruit policy.” I was like an army sergeant about that. Luckily hubby likes veggies and fruits.
So now I have high cholesterol and high triglycerides. I was once even pre-diabetic. But lucky I did lose a chunk of weight that I gained from my mental illness and their accompanying medications. I lost over 30 lbs (14 kilograms) at one point, despite my medications. That normalized all of my blood work. Since then I unfortunately gained back about 10 lbs (4.5 kilograms) and some of my blood work is not so good again. I’m just a little over the normal BMI range.
I was almost always very trim and buff in my youth. As a kid and teen I was not only slender but nicely muscular, too, especially my legs. I started ballet classes at eight years old. By the time I was 15 I took up to eight classes every single week (mostly ballet). I was very serious about becoming a professional ballet dancer. I practiced at home when not in classes. I don’t think you could even have squeezed a centimeter of fat on my stomach. I guess I even had a six pack. Though I was lean, even the boys at school couldn’t compete when it came to leg strength or sit ups. Many people don’t realize how strong ballerinas are.
I eventually quit ballet [That’s a long story that maybe I’ll write about in the future. It’s a sad one.] But I stayed active into my early 20s. I continued to dance on my own, and I walked and walked everywhere. When I lived in California I had no car. I’d walk up to three or four hours per day. I didn’t think anything of it. I can’t say I ate that well, though. I drank too much beer, and ate a lot of carbs. Though I lived with a boyfriend we hardly ate together. Where I lived (Berkeley, CA) there are so many cheap eats places that I rarely cooked. My favorite foods were Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, and Korean. I’d slip a salad or a burrito in occasionally, too.
So the time when I was very much “in the pink” (physically and emotionally) was when I was about 30 years old, and on zero medications (I hadn’t been diagnosed with bipolar disorder yet). My best friend was training for a 3-day 60 mile total walk to support Multiple Sclerosis. Her uncle had MS and she was passionate about the cause. I, of course, contributed money, but what I contributed most was being her training buddy. After work and on the weekends we would walk along the Delaware and Raritan canal in our part of central New Jersey. The canal almost runs horizontally the entire length from New Jersey’s western border to its eastern border. We started training by walking about three miles. Then we worked up to five. Then six. Then eight. By the time the MS Walk was set to be held, my friend and I were walking up to 12 miles (19 kilometers) in a day, often four or even five days per week. You’ve got to believe we were slim. And to top it all off, at the time I had been following a very healthy diet of whole grains, lean meat, fat free dairy, and lots of veggies and fruit. I fit into my wedding dress again. Yay! My friend and I also loved the quality time together, chatting up a storm.
Now I swear I could hardly walk four miles. My current medications really slow me down, but I know that’s not a good excuse. Today is sunny and I should get my tush outside. Summer is coming and I have no good excuse.