Strong Is The New Skinny

Two days ago I was not a runner. Today, I am. And my journey to becoming that runner was not a particularly long one, but a very meaningful one. Let's back up a little...

I have always been a very skinny, even scrawny person. As a child and an adolescent, I could eat whatever I wanted and never gain an inch. I could sit on the couch all day and not develop any bulging areas. But I was never strong. I seemed to get sick all the time. I was even mentally out of shape.

I remember my gym teacher yelling out at me during my 8th grade P.E. test because I couldn't manage to do a single pushup all the way down and back up. There were no girl pushups on your knees in her class. It's a good thing I could do crunches, or I would have failed.

Since the Jr. High days, not much has changed. Once I lived on my own, I started to take more of an interest in health and fitness since I was cooking my own meals and deciding my own lifestyle. I dabbled in the communal gym at my apartment building, and I bought a few workout DVDs. Mostly, I was working out for fun, but felt I didn't have to. I wasn't dieting or trying to lose weight.

In the past few months, the hubby and I have noticed a few problem areas we seem to have developed over the past year. "We are really out of shape!" we said. And then we continued to talk about how we want to get healthier and work out together. Well, exercising your mouth unfortunately doesn't do much for your rear end, and talking is all we were doing.

Fast forward to a week ago. I went to the doctor for a regular exam. She asked me the typical questions about my health and habits. I told her that I like to take my dog out, sometimes just a walk, sometimes something more vigorous. I try to work out to a few of the DVDs I have. Nothing too spectacular. She said, "Okay, so you're pretty active."  My brain function seriously stopped for a few seconds. Did she just call me active?

I have always thought of active people as those who spend every weekend out mountain biking or playing team sports, or maybe those gym rats who carry their bag in the car with them everywhere. I certainly never thought of myself as an active person. But as soon as she said it, a happy feeling came over me. It felt nice.

Being a skinny person can have its challenges just like being overweight. You might think that there couldn't possibly be anything wrong with being able to eat all the Ben and Jerry's you want, but it does have it's downside. I can't tell you how many people laugh and make jokes about the thought of me exercising or lifting something heavy. Many people who have known me act as if I would be repulsed by the thought of a gym. And there are times that I would rather have others think that. I would rather have someone think that I sit on the couch all day than know that I use 3 and 5 pound dumbbells at home.

After that day at the doctor's office I realized that maybe people who have known me think of me one way, but here was this stranger who thought I was something else. And you know what? Maybe I could be. Maybe I wanted to be.

So I made a plan to motivate myself with a bookmarks folder of favorite exercises to do at home, and I created a Body Inspiration board on Pinterest. It's full of images like these two.

I laced up my running shoes, got warmed up, grabbed the dog, and so my life altering run began. I have never really enjoyed running. In the past, I was made to run for gym class, so I hated it. Every time I tried it on my own afterwards, I hated it. This time, I was determined to give it an honest try. I was only out for 20 minutes, and I probably ran about 15 of that, but when I got home I was elated! My lungs were feeling it, but they weren't screaming. My legs were tight, but I liked it. I had sweat beading up, but it was a hot summer day anyways, and I needed a shower. There was nothing to hate about it.

I finished out my exercise with some strength training and cooled off with some yoga poses. Immediately after my workout I drank 8oz of water with whey protein. Then I nursed down my water bottle while I showered off. This morning when I woke up, my stomach muscles hurt and my back was sore. And I just smiled. :)

Tonight I did it all again. Riley is loving all the new running he is getting to do. I think tomorrow I will switch it up and work out inside to one of my videos. I honestly can't wait. I have never had this feeling of accomplishment before. Maybe it's because others doubted that I would/could do it, but I think it's because I doubted that I could do it. I didn't run a marathon, I didn't even run a full 30 minutes, but I did something I didn't think I could. That sense of accomplishment is addictive.

To see more of my motivational pictures, don't forget to follow me on Pinterest!

- - Happy Health! - -

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