I could tell you how hard it is to get out of bed , while I feel like death warmed over, to walk.
I could tell you how many times I was way too hard on myself.
I could tell you all of this. It would all be true. It would not however be important.
The important thing is to start.
Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and Myofasical Pain Syndrome are not gentle issues. They are not very happy with exercise. In fact they protest it loudly. Three years of walking and I am just now getting to the point where I can actually wear exercise clothes without my body protesting. When I first started I could not wear sports clothing. It was like it flipped a switch for my muscles to act up even more. Now I am just used to going walking in jeans that it doesn’t bother me at all. Okay well maybe when I am a sweaty mess it bothers me a bit.
I started small, walking twenty minutes at a time. I walked for twenty minutes at a time, twice a week for months. I felt stuck. If I tried to go further, I could not function. I finally figured out I just needed to be okay with what I was doing. It was not an easy decision. I felt like I wasn’t making any progress. The truth is when I look back, the fact I was even doing it was progress. I was not giving up, that was progress. I was not giving in to my body, that was progress. I then branched out with changing my diet. This was also something that was very slow going. I wanted to go out and buy all the healthy foods and just switch. The more I researched the more I realized that would not work. It takes time for your taste buds and your palate to change. It is so easy for both things to revert back to bad foods. The junk food out there is addictive. I could not just switch to eating grapes when I was craving sugar or any of the other hacks really. Deciding to make any change to your lifestyle is brave. When you are doing so with a body that already does not feel good, even braver.
The problem is my expectations of myself don’t always match what my body is up to. I still have issues with this. I still feel I should have done more, accomplished more, made more progress. That whole self-compassion thing.
Every time I have increased my pace or my distance it has not been a conscience decision. It was on a whim and then once I realized I did it. I wanted to do it again. This is not to say that I don’t over do it. I do. Some days my walks are great and I can function. Some days my walks are great and my body says, “um No.” to anything else that day. It took longer than a normal person to reap any of the benefits of exercise. However now it is coming fast and furious. I sleep better. I am loosing the weight. My heart conditions are better controlled. The more I walked the more I wanted healthy choices to eat. Had someone suggested I could use food to ease some of my symptoms a few years ago I would have said. “Nope tried that.” Same response if someone had told me to exercise more. For the longest time I could not think of it as exercise. Of course this means I did things a bit harder. I didn’t want to think of it as exercise so I went on nature trails. It is really hard to increase your distance and your pace on nature trails-with a body that does not cooperate. Since I started walking a flat surface designated for walking and cycling, I have made significant progress. It only took me four months to come to that conclusion though.
Having a friend or someone to encourage you to keep at it, really helps as well. Please feel free to email me and let me know you are taking the important step of starting. I would be glad to email you encouragement!