I grew up in a “women don’t sweat” type of family. My dad did not watch sports on television and neither did my brother. The closest we got to physical activity was once, my brother and I, played badminton. We did not go to the beach. We would do a ‘walk’ on our vacation. It certainly wasn’t a hike. I was hardly allowed to ride my bike because I might get hit by a car. Mom was a bit overprotective, but, then again, I never got hit by a car.
I was last picked to play ball and I hated gym, so when I started the Body for Life program, I was thoroughly amazed at how good it felt to lift weights. Me, can’t hit a ball with a stick, me and I love weight lifting.
I had worked hard for nine months, alternating weight lifting and the treadmill, in 2005, and I lost (drumroll please) not one ounce; muscles weigh more than fat. I did lose two dress sizes however, and I felt better than I ever felt: weak ankles, gone; floating knee caps, gone; weak arms, gone; aching back, gone. I could throw around clay with the best of them. I was strong and I knew I would never be weak again.
The main reason I had gotten into this is that I was watching my mother deteriorate and I said, to myself, that I was not going to go down that road. That road included weakness, illness, resting to walk down a hall and instability, and I was strong.
In 2005, there were no commercials on television telling a woman that one reason she is tired could be her heart. I could have been the poster ‘woman’ for that commercial. I woke up one morning so exhausted I couldn’t lift weights, or run. Just overnight, I was exhausted. I could barely walk, and over the next two years, I got so bad that I could not make it to open the door for irritating Chihuahua to go outside.
“Why didn’t you go to the doctor, you ask.” I did. I didn’t have insurance though so the A.N.P. (some type of nursing practitioner) that I got to see checked my thyroid four times over the next two years and told me I was “just under stress.” Of course, she never even hinted at a treatment for the “just stress” that was slowly killing me.
Then, the doctor’s office called me in and told me not to return for three months because I was “just under stress.” There’s a lot more to the story, like blood pressure being twenty points different in each arm and a cardiologist who was pretty sure he knew what was wrong but his hands were tied by the corporation he worked for. So, when they told me not to return to their office, I came home and announced, “They have sent me home to die.”
Then, on the internet, I found the wonderful people of St. Francis hospital. I went into their free cardiac clinic and two hours later was seeing a cardiologist, who scheduled me for a cardiac catherization. It took a total of seven days before I was having emergency open heart surgery. I had a spasming artery to my heart (could it have been caused by stress? Possibly) I also had 70% blockage, but they said that could have waited.
When you don’t have insurance, you do not have rehabilitation. So, it has taken me two years but, as a birthday present for myself, I finally felt strong enough to start Body for Life again.
I recently read some negative things about this program, but I am here to tell you there is no pressure. There is no one saying, “you can’t get anywhere, if you don’t use forty pound weights.” Just the opposite, is the case. I am starting off with two pound weights and actually I have also had to modify the program for now. Last time, I did all the reps right from the beginning. I have to listen to my body, so that I have the energy to do other things. It is a great program and I love it.
I am literally using two pounds on the upper body and one set of reps. I went up to three pounds a couple of weeks ago and my rib cage hurt so much that I went back down. I am also eating smaller portions and healthier food. It all goes hand in hand, folks.
Since February 2, I have lost eleven pounds, and I’m loving that part too. I’m sweating and I’m loving it all.