Quit Sitting Down!

When I was morbidly obese, I hated it when friends talked about all the different activities they participated in. Weighing 300 pounds didn’t lend itself to joining in. In fact, for me, weighing 300 pounds meant I did my best to stay still. At my heaviest, my favorite thing to do was to eat and sit on the couch. No attempts at taking a walk or joining a group. It never would have crossed my mind to get up off the couch and get on the treadmill we purchased. No, for me, sitting was pain and stress free.

When I was morbidly obese, I hated it when friends talked about all the different activities they participated in. Weighing 300 pounds didn’t lend itself to joining in. In fact, for me, weighing 300 pounds meant I did my best to stay still. At my heaviest, my favorite thing to do was to eat and sit on the couch. No attempts at taking a walk or joining a group. It never would have crossed my mind to get up off the couch and get on the treadmill we purchased. No, for me, sitting was pain and stress free.

Because I had young children, I didn't get to sit as much as I have liked. Their energy level was high and they were always running and jumping around. I remember watching them play one summer day thinking, "If I moved one tenth as much as they did, I would be exhausted." They ran around and I sat. If I took them to the park, I'd sit on the bench monitoring their activities to make sure they didn't get hurt, all the while trying very hard to sit down as much as possible. Not only did I need to rest, I also didn't want to draw undue attention to myself. No matter where I was, I felt people looking at me.


I'm not sure if other people actually were looking at me, but I sure looked at them. While sitting on benches didn't do much for my social interaction, it gave me plenty of opportunities to think about my situation. With my hips and behind spreading out on the bench I would visually compare myself to the average-sized mom sitting on the other side of the playground. "She doesn't take up more space than she should," I'd think to myself.  "She doesn't have to wear ugly jumpers," I'd internally muse. I'd sit and watch everyone around me and feel sorry for myself.

Sitting through life for years took its toll. From a physical standpoint, sitting so much did nothing for my fitness level. In fact, it was detrimental and potentially dangerous. Emotionally, I felt alone and ostracized, even if it was by my own choosing. Year by year went by, and instead of using these negative feelings about myself to move me into action, I allowed the negative emotions to further my inactivity. I was caught in a vicious cycle. I didn't want to move because it was uncomfortable, so I ended up sitting a lot more than I should have; thereby making the weight problem worse.

Moving around when you are very overweight isn't easy, but if your doctor says it’s okay, it's worth making the effort. The day I got off the couch and walked down the road a bit marked a turning point for me. Sure I was exhausted and sweaty, but I had just taken the first step on the path to a healthier me. Little by little, as I made a concerted effort to move more and sit less, I saw a difference in myself. I couldn't believe how much more energy I had just by exercising. I also started to feel better about myself because I was finally doing something about my weight problem. That movement, combined with fat percentage awareness and portion control enabled me to lose 158 pounds in 14 months. If I can get off the couch and get moving, so can you!

Will you ever feel comfortable in your own skin? That is, if you don't make an effort to protect it? Although 64% of adults do report wearing sunscreen when outside for prolonged periods of time, it turns out that only about 10% of people surveyed actually protect themselves daily, according to a recent review.

No matter what your skin tone is, unless you live in a cave with no sunlight, daily protection with either sunscreen, sunblock or protective clothing can not only protect you from developing sunburns (ouch!) but can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, particularly the deadliest type called melanoma. In addition, for those of you wanting to keep your youthful looks, daily sunscreen has been shown to reduce the development of wrinkles. A great teacher once told me that the best way to not have wrinkles is not to get them in the first place (think of how much money you can save on useless creams that claim to diminish wrinkles).

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