Friday, August 31, 2007

Being Active Naturally

Today I went swimming for the first time in years. Hating the way I look, I'm not the type of person to willingly don a bathing suit and be seen in public. But a friend who has no such image consciousness has been a good role model for me this week and so today I found myself in the pool, wearing the bathing suit that I got many weeks ago but had never worn.

I love water and felt great in the pool- it's outdoors, so in the 100+ degrees heat it was comfortably warm- a bit cooler than body temperature. I didn't swim too long, just enough to remember what it feels like, and to try swimming underwater, floating, and doing a lap or two. I'm out of shape so I got out of breath pretty quickly, and staying underwater was a challenge- I guess the more fat you carry, the easier it is to float rather than remain underwater. I used to swim along the bottom of the pool and hold my breath for a long time. The treat after swimming is laying in the warm air for an hour or so with a cooler of water and my iPod. Mmmmm - this is sounding better already!

I wanted so much to calculate how much swimming it takes to burn a certain number of calories, but my nutritionist rightly discouraged me from using exercise to burn off a meal, because it actually takes a long time to burn calories through exercise. When you think about it, we've been trained to see value in physical movement in terms of calories we burn. Seems like all the women's magazines have charts telling us how many calories we can burn from mowing the lawn, walking the dog, carrying groceries up the stairs, playing tennis, etc. I wish I hadn't learned to associate exercise with calorie-burning because now I do a kind of cost-benefit analysis when I embark on a physical activity.

When I weighed 170 lbs or so and was a size 8/10 I used to LOVE moving my body- sports, walking - even taking the bus- were all enjoyable because I was able to do them without the hindrance of being unfit or being "too big." Being active was not second nature, but FIRST nature. I would put on a nice summer dress on a sunny day and walk a mile or three to a shop I liked, or to a cafe that I might sit in for a couple of hours. I didn't think about how many calories I was burning because I was beyond that- I was living life. This is where I am headed again. I got sidetracked for a few years, but I'm back on track.


Rediscover Raw Food said...

Sounds like you're on track to reprogramming your mind in reference to food and exercise. It's not easy, but definitely doable. Good luck!



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