Exercise suggestion becomes a requirement


Fifteen years ago, my endroconolgist made a suggestion to me that I really didn’t want to hear. He told me I should lose some weight. My immediate reaction was “Why, me?” In high school, I was called “The Skinny One” when the teachers wanted to refer to me in our clique. There was “The Quiet One” (which certainly wasn’t me!). Then there was “The Tall One.” At six-feet four-inches, I couldn’t match that height even when I was wearing my hot pink heels. Of course, “The Smart One” was at a level that I didn’t want to attain because that would mean I would actually have to study for tests. So I settled for “The Skinny One,” a title which accurately described me at five-feet, eight-inches and 98 pounds.

After I recovered from the fact that my doctor thought that I was overweight, I answered him with a profound statement: “You have to realize that my extra weight is because I’m only 26 years postpartum. You can’t expect me to lose all of that extra “baby weight at once!” He didn’t think that I was funny, but I did!

Next he said the inevitable. I knew that someday, someone, somehow would make the “suggestion” that I exercise. I had avoided it for years, but now it had all caught up with me. Exercise would be good for me.

The next couple of months the only exercise that I did was doing extensive research trying to decide what type of exercise I would do. I thought of jogging, but I don’t run.  Riding a bicycle looked interesting until a person told me that when you ride a bicycle all you are doing is “Running like crazy to give your rear a ride.”

I decided to hang around with others who didn’t exercise.

But the day came when my heart had a little “hick-up.” My cardiologist joined my endroconolgist and stated that exercise would make a difference. I then heard about “mall walking.” That seems to fit perfectly for me. I would walk in a mall.  Mall exercise therapy sounded perfect to me!

Unfortunately, Pastor Pete did not see “mall walking” as a good idea. He knew me too well. I would do more “mall shopping” than “mall walking.”

I tried treadmill walking while I was watching TV. I walked and watched “People’s Court,” “Judge Judy” and every other court show possible. I could have “passed the bar” with no problem as long as the questions were only about rent, dogs and used cars.

“Power walking” sounded like a good choice and so did the wardrobe. I went to Kohl’s to purchase my idea of power walking attire. While I envisioned a photo that I had seen of a woman stepping quickly with an iPhone strapped to her lean upper arm, I picked out a tank top with matching skin tight pants and entered a dressing room.

I looked in the mirror. Somehow, I wasn’t that “mean lean walking machine.” I was more like the Pillsbury Dough Boy! Then I remembered that I didn’t own an IPhone. I am an “android person.” Gladly, I put the skin-tight apparel back on the rack and picked out an extra-large sweat shirt and pants.

Thus began my 14 years of walking around the neighborhood. I do have one wardrobe rule. I don’t wear anything that doesn’t have large pockets, very large pockets! As a diabetic, I need pockets for my insulin pump, glucose monitor and my supplies for low blood sugar: cans of apple juice, hard candy, a couple of pieces of fruit and the things that I hate the most – Glucose tablets!  They taste like colored chalk!

I don’t “power walk.” I “leisurely stroll.” As I’m strolling, I have collected some interesting memories.

One night, I fell and broke my arm. Another day I was chased by a dog while its owner was yelling “Stop, Spot, Stop!” Every Friday, I am stalked by trash trucks.

I know that the trash trucks “lie in wait” until I appear on the street. The truck for the black trash cans moves in first and follows me to the corner. I turn to the right and come face to face with the truck for the green trash cans. Meanwhile, the trash truck for the blue cans is lurking around the corner waiting for me to arrive. You can’t be a trash truck and be colored-blind in Canyon Lake!

Today, I discovered that my two-mile, twice a day stroll is making a difference in my community. A neighbor stopped me and told me that every morning she waits until I walk by to see what I am wearing. If it’s a heavy coat she knows it’s going to be cold but if it’s a light jacket she knows that the day is going to be warm. This helps her know how to dress for the day.

Who would have thought that a Pillsbury Dough Boy could become a fashion symbol!


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Pat Van Dyke