Confession of a healthy and fit girl
This is a milestone I have to document. And in doing so, I hope to provide hope and inspiration to others who have given up exercise or personal enjoyment because they are too out of shape or afraid of what others might think. I can’t believe it’s taken me 30 years, four years sans -200 lbs, to get on a bicycle again.
How many things do we give up when we become overweight, sedentary, too busy, too focused on others, too afraid? Or, because we don’t think we deserve them. The answer for me was — A LOT!
Over the years of my adulthood as I became heavier and heavier, I started hiding myself behind that weight and the fear of putting myself out there. Slowly but surely, I limited my life and it became small.
Some examples. I gave up dating and romantic relationships — taking myself “off the market” and “turning the porch light off” because I was deathly afraid of rejection. I never traveled oversees or to places like Hawaii or Alaska, because I didn’t want to be on an airplane so long that I might have to use the restroom — I didn’t fit and flying wasn’t a fun experience. It was uncomfortable and I lived in fear of the seat belt not buckling and the flight attendants discovering that and offering me an extension.
Eventually, I gave up a lot of the outdoor activities I used to enjoy — walks on the beach or in the woods, jogging up hills, playing softball, riding a bike. That last one was a killer because growing up in rural Minnesota, I LOVED to ride bike!
Riding our bikes out in the country gave us tremendous pleasure and freedom. I would ride for miles. But somewhere in my early adult years — probably right after high school — I quit riding. And as I got heavier and heavier, I didn’t even consider that I would bike as an adult for exercise.
Thus, this week’s milestone. The confession is that I have honestly only ridden a bike once in the last about 30 years. That was on a vacation on Madeline Island after I had lost 150+ lbs. My Mom and I tried it. I believe we went about 5-6 miles and then had to turn around and get back. We might have even walked our bikes back.
A milestone to celebrate as a fit, active, happy and healthy girl now living a WHOLE life!
So this is me and my bike! I bought it from a friend about four years ago with the idea of getting it tuned up and riding again. This summer, I finally did it. A couple of weeks ago, I got an expert tune up, a new seat, and my first ever stylin’ bike helmet! When I brought my bike home just a few hours before I left for vacation, I rode around the block a couple of times to practice and almost wiped out coming down the hill trying to figure out the gears.
This week, I suited up and on two gorgeous Minnesota summer evenings took my bike for a short spin! It was fun, but to be honest, it felt awkward. I am a nervous rider in the city around traffic and I can honestly say I don’t know the city bike riding protocol. After my first two inaugural rides, I’m not sure that when they say “It’s like riding a bike (you never forget)” that’s true! I was pretty wobbly and tentative in my first outings this week. I’m not sure how to work the gears and I was nervous about the traffic and signaling in the turns.
That said, I’m a biker! My commitment for the summer was simply to get good enough (and comfortable enough) to ride my neighborhood to Como Lake and around twice. Then, I’ll let you know my future plans and decide if indeed I am a “real” biker. I decided to start with a small goal and just get out there!
For now, I’m excited. And I’m humbled by what it feels like to be fit and healthy enough to get on a bike for the first time in 30+ years and ride! If anyone can appreciate or understand this, I would love to hear from you.
To those of you reading this who are struggling a lot like I was and/or feeling emotional because you have lopped off activities, exercise or other parts of your life because you feel inferior or you are afraid — I get it! I totally and completely get it. And my heart goes out to you.
I hope that this silly little blog about my first adult biking experience gives you hope to step out and give it a shot — whatever “it” is for you. (If you need an ear or someone to talk to — connect with me here.) I hope this inspires you to put yourself in the equation of your own life and take care of your health and happiness first, so you can do all the things you love and enjoy. So you, too, can live a WHOLE life. Honestly, the gift of living happy, healthy and WHOLE — is so incredible, so wonderful that I want each of you to experience it. It is without question, the greatest gift of transformation.
Bike ride anyone?