Thursday, October 26, 2006

She Pedals Like The Wind...

Well, I hate to say it...but The Sheep has had a somewhat uneventful day. I did go to the grocery store and that is generally good for a lengthy observation or two. But, there was only an encounter with "The Fruit Whisperer." She is that charming creature who blocks Shopping Sheep from the kiwi as she fondles individual pieces of produce hoping to lure the choicest samples from the melon herd. It was pretty smooth shopping by my standards.

However, a few folks have left comments or questions with regard to my "biking and knitting" exercise program. I figured that, since this is one of those activities in which I engage regularly and a fairly interesting back-story, I'd share. I've also noted an increasing interest in weight control or improved fitness out there in the blogosphere-at-large and this is my own little entry in that category. Of course, it wouldn't be a Sheepish Annie post without a lengthy prequel. Here's how I started on the fitness trail:

I have been plagued with ups 'n downs in the girth department for much of my adult life. Sometimes I was within a comfortable range. Other times...not so much. However, my mid to late thirties were marked by a widening of this Sheep to a noticeable degree. There were many milestones during that time, some good, some ill. Each was marked by the consumption of cake. And cookies. And french fries. If it didn't move, I ate it. If it didn't move fast enough, I ate it. I suspect I was eating in my sleep at one point, there.

And, not surprisingly, my health took a little turn for the worse. I had frequent colds, bronchitis, stomach problems, high blood pressure and foot pain. My doctor patiently tried to explain to me why these things were happening. She was really quite kind about the whole thing. I responded as many of us do when confronted with our own bad behaviors. I haughtily told her that I was a busy Sheep and that I didn't have time to waddle to the gym. I also did not like the gym as everyone there was too obsessed with their overly developed bodies and just wanted to mock such mortals as myself. And living in a small condo was just not conducive to home fitness equipment. How does this translate into being "my fault?"

I also was far too busy with my schedule to count calories, but I was reasonably sure that I was not eating that much more than anyone else on the planet. That salient point was rendered moot by the fact that my mother had purchased a plethora of Girl Scout cookies from my doctor's daughter and had shared just how many of those boxes were coming my way...that was an uncomfortable moment.

But, more to the point, how dare she question my health habits? I was paying her, wasn't I? Was it not her duty to tell me what I wanted to hear with regard to my health, rather than make me feel badly?

Feel sorry for Dr. Judy. She is a very sweet lady and undeserving of a patient such as The Sheep.

Finally, in a last ditch effort to sell me on doing something about my increasing blood sugar levels and cholesterol, she mentioned something about a little bike. It was just the pedals. You could fit it anywhere and crank away to nowhere, burning calories all the while.

I would dearly love to tell you that I scampered from the doctor's office and went in search of this item. But I did not. "Scampering" was not something I could have done at that point without some sort of heart flutter. But it did stick somewhere in the back of my mind.

Months later while cruising through Ebay, I recalled this conversation with the good doctor and decided to see if such an item really existed. To my surprise, it did. And for thirty dollars, it could be mine. Within four days, it was unboxed, assembled and parked by the couch. I really didn't hold out much hope. I've tried other forms of exercise. None of them took.

But I gave it a shot. I started out slowly, 20 minutes or so at a pretty slow speed. Time passed. I was able to make it to 30 minutes and thought that I might try eating a little fruit during the day instead of doughnuts. I lost twenty pounds. I continued with the fruit thing and added some weights to the routine. Then I found a cool exercise ball. I discovered that my insurance company would reward me with points for my daily activity and that I could trade those points for free stuff. I lost thirty pounds. Then forty.

Fifty...

Sixty...

I went off my blood pressure medication. I didn't have to wear orthodics in my shoes anymore. I could wear high heels if I wanted to. One day, I stood up in my classroom and had to grab my pants before they fell down. I bought new clothes.

On my fortieth birthday, I wore a pair of size 6 jeans. On my forty-first birthday, I wore a size 4 pair.

And I swear to you, it all started with this:






I woke up the Big, Fluffy Kitty and made her stand there for scale. Big kitty, small bike...
I'm up to forty five minutes on the little bike followed fifteen minutes of quick weight training. I only do three days per week as any more than that feels like torture. And I'm going into year three. Why did this work when nothing else did? I suspect that it is because I can sit on my couch and knit while I bike. Or play GameBoy...I don't pretend to be an athlete...or an adult.
Yes, there are better forms of exercise. But if a Sheep won't do it, then its not exercise. Its money spent on a treadmill that could have been spent on yarn. And the fact that I could hang damp skeins on it to block does not make it a more economical purchase.
So there's tonight's bedtime story from your Auntie Sheepie. I probably could have shown you a picture of another half-finished sock, but I figured I could work the fiber motif in at some point in this tale. Oh, here's something...
Before poor, abused Dr. Judy made a last-ditch effort to get me on the road to health on a tiny little bike, I attempted to convince her that spinning fiber was cardio. To her credit, she thought about it for a minute.
It didn't fly.
SA

18 comments:

Debby said...

Dear Sheepie,

You've heard it before...I had a long witty insightful comment typed out to respond to your rant, and blogger ate it. So I'll try to catch up here...

First, I am very glad to read that you no longer have pneumonia. HM must be desperate to find something new, no? In Sheepie spirit, I had convinced myself that I had the beginnings of cancer like my grandpa did, when I began to scratch and scratch my itchy skin the other day (he had sensitive skin). Then I realized, I probably don't do well with wool next to bare skin. Wore cotton the next day, and all was well. For now...

Secondly, congratulations to you for sticking to your pedaling. Best exercise there is -- the kind you can stick to. Love the kitty statue your model comes with!

Last, I love the peacock shawl. Hope it is behaving for you. :)

--Deb said...

But, couldn't you hook up your spinning wheel to the little pedals? Then, you know, the drafting could count as upper-body exercise or something . . .

Well, okay, maybe not, but good for you! Good for you for sticking to it.

Gotta love a good Peacock shawl....

Beth said...

You're my fitness hero! (Seriously!) I'm still amazed that you lost all that weight, have kept it off, and are still exercising. What an excellent accomplishment!

April said...

Sheepie, I applaud your commitment to the betterment of your wooly form.

Now where the hell can I get one of those little bikes?

April said...

Never mind, I just put a bid on one on eBay. Sheepie, you may just have saved my life.

catsmum said...

I wonder if I could knit on my stepper? no ... probably not good for ze tension.

Anonymous said...

That is a wonderful testimonial. Continued sucess with your healthy pursuits. The bike is very cute and tiny. We had a big exercise bike. It was the best thing for hanging clothes on. I think we'll have to look into a small one.
Karen
http://nothingbutknit.blog-city.com/

Bobbi said...

Congrats on making healthy changes and sticking with them! This looks like a great idea, I'm going to look in to getting one!

Bobbi said...

Me again! would you might sharing with your devoted fans what brand you have and how much you like it? Thank you!

Geraldine said...

This is a great post Sheep and VERY inspiring. I have actually never seen a bike like this before but I admit, I was one of the curious ones about knitting/biking together, that had me hooked.

I think you have a very wise Dr. indeed if she nudged you towards this healthy option, instead of more drugs etc....you have done the work though and you've done GREAT!!!

Huggs, G

PS Pkg. on the way today.

missemilysmom said...

I am inspired! Seriously!! I have severe foot pain! and just calculated my BMI... NOT PRETTY!!!! I think that little pedal thing is what I need to invest in!!!

Sheila said...

That little bike just may be what I need to make it through the holiday knitting without gaining another 10 pounds. Do share what brand it is, although knowing my impatience I'll check Ebay and find one before I hear back from you.
Your story is so inspiring, especially to someone who can't get those last 10 pounds to stay off.
Congratulations to you for your perseverance.
You deserve a yarn splurge!!

aija said...

Wow, totally inspiring. (I'm surfing ebay for one of those bikes right now. Thanks for the idea...)

Kate said...

I want one of those bikes!

Mia said...

Awesome Sheepie.. just awesome. I'm so happy for you and that you're feeling so good! And healthy... hmmm... makes me think I could give some of this candy to the needy.. ::laughing::

But then again...

Mel said...

Do share more information on the little pedals. I could stand to do more in the cardio department and that looks like it might actually fit in our tiny 17th century house. It would have to compete with the spinning wheels for my feet's attention, but it just might work.

Having your clothes falling off you is a good feeling, isn't it? So long as they don't fall all the way off in a public setting, I mean.

Diana said...

How inspiring!!!! Well I can honestly tell you that one (or at least me) cannot knit on the treadmill. I've tried, failed, and, of course, fallen!!! Keep pedaling your ass!

Lazuli said...

Wow, that's an inspiring story if I ever heard one. Such a small bike; I had no idea they came that small! And you can knit while you exercise. That's brilliant!