Oh boy, do I wish! (I'm pretty sure I'd be there by now!) Exercise can be a huge pain in the tush, especially when a person has diabetes on board. The extra steps involved in getting ready for exercise kept me out of the gym for an extended period of time, especially the part where I’d get low after working out and then have to drink a bunch of juice, effectively cancelling the calories I’d burned.
Essentially, the planning, pre-exercise snack because I didn't dial down the insulin after lunch, the needing to have a higher blood sugar than I liked so that I wouldn’t run it back into the ground, and the rest of it—it all felt like too high a cost. I’d get overwhelmed before I’d even start, but I also knew how beneficial exercise could be.
So I started slow, which was difficult because I used to be a competitive athlete. I’d feel like going for a walk wasn’t even exercise (boy, was I wrong!), but beginning with walks was actually what opened the door to begin exercising again. Why? Because I WAS EXERCISING. Exercise doesn’t have to suck or be this ultra marathon in order to be exercise. Walking is a HUGE step, especially for those with health problems and/or additional issues that make movement difficult. Wherever you start, make sure you can be successful. I have to tell you that in my experience, this piece is crucial to long-term motivation (because who likes to continue to do what they feel like they suck at?) and momentum building.
Most of us have heard the Lao Tzu quote, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, which sounds lovely. But this whole idea of one thing at a time, that we have to start somewhere and that doing something is better than nothing—these are concepts I’ve struggled with for a long time (and I know I’m not alone here!). Most of us want to be fit and healthy, and we want it NOW. Our access to instant gratification has brought many benefits, such as the fact that when I finish one Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich, I don’t have to go back to the library to get the next in the series. I simply tap a few keys and viola! I’m sitting fireside with the book on my kindle and I haven’t even had to set down my wine!
At the same time, I think this phenomenon has made the necessity for having to wait for something a lot more difficult, especially when we don’t see the results we want as quickly as we’d like. Exercise is the epitome of this infuriating truth. AND, it’s that much sweeter for it.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure to celebrate your success. The success may be that you got into the water at the pool! Remember, if beating ourselves up worked, we’d all be perfect. It is imperative that we see these “small” things for the wins that they are—valuable steps in our journey to health.