Aiming for healthy

I know my posting is a bit sparse right now, but I do hate to post without photos.  I also just found out that one of my very best friends has accepted a job in another state and will be moving away at the end of the month.  I’ve had two other very close friends leave for other cities in the past two years, and I’ve been feeling rather blue.  I don’t find it terribly easy to make friends – I’m both introverted and picky, a deadly combination I find!

When I quit my day job (two and a half years ago now) I was at a real low point.    Since that point, I’ve made a real effort to put myself out there, making new friends and taking control of my life.  It is important to allow myself to be who I am, rather than playing a role (something that is very easy for creative types I find, especially those of us who also act!)  As a result, I feel like I’m coping better with the bad news than I would have then, but I am still terribly sad that my friend will no longer be a part of my daily life.

So that’s what’s going on with me… sadness, but then life is full of change – my life now is so different from what I could have imagined five years ago, and I would not trade it for anything!

I would like to continue today on the issues I brought up a few weeks ago (in  sewing and body image.)  One thing that many commenters brought up was the concept of focusing on being healthy, rather than being thin.  I will confess that I was intrigued with the idea – could staying active really help me to feel better about myself?

A little background: I have always been terribly sports phobic.  I was never at all athletic, and I am absolutely the worst person to choose for a team – not only am I clumsy, but I also lack the competitive drive sports seems to bring out, and I really don’t care if I win or not.  I endured a lot of bullying in grade school, when we had to take gym nearly every day.  I remember one group of girls, in the 8th grade or so, who would regularly threaten me if I didn’t seem to be trying hard enough in that day’s sport.   Gym teachers would often call me out for being bad at things, including one memorable day in high school when the entire class got to do push-ups for an hour because I couldn’t do one properly.  Needless to say, the minute I graduated I stepped away from the gym and never went back.

I obviously have no interest in watching sports, though for some reason people will persist in trying to discuss them with me (this is much worse for my poor husband, who doesn’t care about them, but reads the scores anyway in order to have something to talk about to other men!)  So for me, the idea of exercise has always been tied up in all these issues.

When I read your lovely responses and stories, I started to consider the idea of exercise for myself.  Not competing, and not playing any actual sports, but getting out and being active (which is, after all, good for you!)  I live in a very walkable neighborhood (built before cars, there are double wide sidewalks for miles, and lots of other pedestrians… I do hate isolated walks.)  I decided that one day I would take a walk for no reason at all.  As it turned out, I really enjoyed that, so the next day I walked further, and read a bit online about how to safely pick up the pace.  I convinced my husband to join in on some evenings, and now I’m doing an hour a day, five days a week.  And you know what?  You were all right.  It does help me to feel better about myself, as I see that I can do these things!

I’ve even taken the step of visiting a few gyms, with the thought that once it gets cold I won’t be walking (I do not handle cold well!)  Some of them I didn’t like – they seemed full of the types who taunted me back in school, and had a very meat market sort of feel.   I found one that has people of a variety of ages and shapes, which seems focused on lifelong health rather than strictly losing weight or bulking up muscles (neither of which are my goal.)  I took a few of the dance oriented fitness classes, and those are really fun for me.  While I was never athletic, I have always loved to dance (I used to dance in musicals all the time!)  I mean, I’m not a super great dancer, but I can keep up.  I’m planning to join this gym in a few months, and I’m very excited about that.  Right now my goal is to just keep walking (I can’t jog, as I do have some joint issues.)

I think I’ve carried around those old fears and taunts for too long.  I don’t have to like watching sports to do this for myself!  It doesn’t make me part of the sports culture.  They are not one and the same.  I really wonder about the way that physical education is taught in the US.  It seems like there isn’t much focus on building healthy habits for life.  So many of my friends have similar stories, of taunting and exercise as punishment.  (As an aside, I also don’t recall getting much nutrition in health class either, as it was taught by the gym teachers in my school, and consisted mostly of scary videos.)

Thanks (as always!) for your lovely comments – as you can see, I do read them and take them to heart!  I’ll be back soon with crafting content – I’ve been knitting on Kirra, which has the widest back piece (at 54″, including sleeves) that I’ve ever knit – it’s quite  a lot of ribbing!

47 thoughts on “Aiming for healthy

  1. Wow! Thank you for sharing all of this. I’ve been following this blog for a long time and it’s been surprising and moving to suddenly hear about the woman behind the gorgeous clothes. It’s awesome that you started to walk following the last post. I’ve recently joined a gym and while the motivation was losing weight, I’m trying to focus on getting to feel/be strong and in shape. They say you should focus on what your body can DO — it’s first and foremost a tool for your use, not just something other people look at and judge you buy.

    P.S. I’m from Israel and I have very similar gym class experiences. Competitiveness, bullying, and humiliation. Sadly, I don’t think this is US-specific.

    1. I’ve followed your blog for some time now. I came to it for the knitting and stayed because I felt a certain kinship with you.

      Your latest post is very close to my experiences in school gym class. It really put me off physical activity. And like you, I am an ‘ectomorph,’ slim, fine boned, just not built for sport.

      Yet, despite those unpleasant, early experiences, I longed to feel more vitality and discovered Yoga. It was an absolute revelation. I practice a style (won’t mention which as I don’t wish to sound evangelical) that emphasizes strength, stamina and flexibility in equal measure. In addition to being tall and slim, I have mild scoliosis, and practising yoga has alleviated much of the discomfort it has caused me. I stand taller, breath better and achieved what I set out to do – feel more vital. And the benefits have gone much deeper than physical well-being, the mind has come along on the journey.

      I hope you enjoy a similar experience with your new-found activities. Wishing you health and happiness.

  2. Ah, I love the educational practice of shaming as a means of ‘motivation’. Who thinks that will work and/or be healthy? I’m a teacher in Germany (originally from CA) and I have witnessed 1st grade teachers doing it in their normal classes, so as Dora wrote, it’s sadly not U.S. specific nor is it even gym-class specific. By the way, have you tried pilates? I’m fairly athletic, but have never been competitive (yet I played soccer for my high-school, so apparently that fear of letting down the team worked after all. Ugh) and I love Pilates. And playing badminton in the park or yard, without a net, with my boyfriend. I find that if I’m not having fun, I cannot force myself to do anything exercise related (which is why I steer clear of the gym.)

    By the way, if you’re hesitant to post without pics, cell-phone pictures of where you walk are fine by me. Your house and neighborhood are so beautiful that it might be better if they’re not crystal clear and perfect representations. With blurry photos, I still get to enjoy the beauty, but the urge I always have to hop on a plane the next day to move there will be softened a bit(I hope). 🙂

  3. I think the nutrition and wellness aspects of health class are beginning to surface more. Gym classes are unfortunately being cut in a lot of places to increase time in Math or sciences, which I think is a real bummer. For some people. (like art or music may have been for you) PE is what they’re really good at and is an outlet for them. A way to blow of the steam from Math and history and chemistry class. It’s a real shame.

  4. Aiming for healthy is my philosophy also – and I have much the same misgivings about sport.

    Currently, I don’t exercise at all. Terrible I know! Fortunately I have a good metabolism and I don’t eat crap so my weight is easy to maintain. I am definitely unfit though.

    Like you, I just don’t enjoy team sports and am very introverted. I enjoy walking as well but its hard to get the bf to come with me and I really need the encouragement of someone else to make me want to do it.
    I did Muay Thai kickboxing for two years which I really enjoyed – I liked it because it was a class I had to go to and so I was more motivated to go because I was paying a membership. It was also a skill to learn instead of mindless repetitive actions like the gym.
    Self defense AND strength!
    It took me a while to find a steady sparring partner though – And until then I always was a bit nervous about who I would pair up with, with the class being dominated by males who are stronger and it would be unfair to them to pair up with someone who can’t match their strength. And most of the girls rarely stayed past a few sessions.
    The only reason I stopped is because I had to move across town and now there isn’t a kickboxing gym in my new suburb.

    I did go to the gym for a while – only with my boyfriend though. I would never go alone! I hate gyms!

    I really want to get back to doing something – the walking is definitely my first preference.

    As for school – Here in Australia we have a slightly different attitude to sport. There is a fair bit of emphasis on nutrition. We are definitely a “sporting nation” and skills in PE are ranked
    higher than academic or creative. Actually, creative sits right on the bottom so I was always on the outer in that respect! I dreaded our yearly interschool sports carnival because I was always lumped with the other kids that weren’t so good at sport and therefore always on the losing faction.

    It’s so disheartening to know that this is a worldwide phenomenon. It’s not until we’re adults that we can rise above this and even then it can be difficult identifying why we feel so negative towards something.

  5. We could be sisters when it comes to sports. I am also very clumsy, never had any competitive drive and don’t like sports or working out in general. Fortunately I was not bullied because of that, actually my high school gym teacher was pretty laid back and would give good grades for effort and not excellent performances. The poor guy realised I sucked at every kind of physical activity and took pity 🙂

  6. Such a bummer that your friend is moving away. Hopefully the new interest will keep you healthy and on track. I find any excercise that I fit in, if ever these days, helps me think and consolidate what’s happening in my life. My own form of meditation.

  7. Obviously I am reading your blog weekly ’cause here I am again with my two cents.

    I can kind of relate about P.E. kids unfortunately can be so mean (this also goes for high school). Like you I am not into team sports not because I was unathletic but because I was not popular and yeah it hurt when you get picked last. I do, however, care a great deal about my physical well-being (as demonstrated by my comment about sizing and weight issues). Despite taking to heart a recommendation from a college professors to work with what’s available in your area, having moved several times in the last few years it has not been easy to adapt. Unfortunately, my neighborhoods were not as nice as yours and there were times when I’d get looks from people in the neighborhood wondering why I was walking through and NOT driving (this is L.A. after all). What I have been doing is: 1)joined then unjoined a gym (too much driving, expense, time), and 2) using dvds at home (easy, relatively cheap, and got the equipment). Alas, I have yet to start walking the neighborhood again. There you have it, two cents.

  8. Your old gym teacher sounds truly horrible- like a character in a movie or something! I don’t like competitive sport either. I like walking in my neighbourhood, swimming OK too, but I don’t like the fuss of having to change clothes, shower etc. I even tried aerobics at a church hall in my neighbourhood. That worked out fine, it was all old church ladies and new mums, so it was very gentle in all ways:-)

  9. Thank you for sharing again about your non-crafty pursuits and thoughts. I’m inspired by your decision to do some form of exercise regularly – walking is far better for your body over time than jogging, so you are definitely making a great choice. Since I currently live in New York City and, due to a heart condition, am not supposed to take the subway (fainting in the subway is dangerous), I too walk a lot! It is good exercise and something that you do for a lifetime.

    I am gym-o-phobic. In the 90’s I was a gym rat but that was a period of rampant anorexia for me. I over-exercised as well as under-ate. So now even the smell of the gym (I’m not the only one who thinks gyms have a “smell”, right?) leaves me fearful. Obviously I have some issues to contend with still. However, like some of the other commenters above, I do love both yoga and pilates. Neither are competitive in any way and there’s no “winning” – at least not if you have a well-trained yogi/ pilates instructor. Both leave me feeling empowered and strong which is ultimately the best motivation for me to continue doing exercise. Unfortunately where I live both get to be quite expensive and I can only work with teachers who are able/ willing to adapt some things do I don’t pass out (mostly just head not lower than heart). But, making a healthy body a goal is so much better than making a thin one. And, it’s a true test for those of us ever recovering from eating disorders since muscle makes you heavier – it’s heavier even than fat. But strong is the best way to be as we age.

    Anyway thanks again for your post. Photos or no photos, your thoughts are worth sharing. They definitely inspire me to think whether it’s about how I’m treating my body or how I’m sewing! Please keep writing on whatever topics move you. And, I’m sorry you have so many friends leaving town, but remember how many friends you have here on the internet! We’re real, even if we’re only connected through the web.

  10. I’d strongly recommend trying out some non-traditional activities for the winter. The regular gym is (to me at least) insanely boring, but there’s lots of fun alternatives. Some commenters already mentioned yoga which is great, but you need to be ready to forgive yourself for it early on, especially if you’re really not flexible like me. I found it worked best if I approached it as a meditation first, exercise second. The climbing gym is also an excellent sort of indoor exercise. There’s one in Louisville (if that’s where you live – Rocksport) and if you try out a class you might find you like it. The climbing community is very friendly and climbing itself is a very whole body – whole mind activity. Oh, and about half the people there were afraid of heights once. Also check out your community calendar and classes. I took bellydancing for a while which was awesomely fun. Try being a dilettant at some things. No single thing needs to be “this is it, this is how I’m going to exercise forever.” Just have some fun.

  11. I second the yoga suggestion; I started practicing when I was having some health issues and yoga really helped a lot, both mentally and physically. I still practice regularly on my own because I’m not able to often get to classes.

    I also suggest something like the Wii or Kinect for cardio. I have one of the dance games for the Kinect and though I would NEVER do any of the moves in public, it is insanely fun and very active. Best of all, no competing with anyone but your own scores 🙂

  12. Good for you! I’m happy you’ve found something you enjoy. Some people have yo-you dieting, but I do yo-yo exercising. Currently, I’m doing nothing but chasing after two little kids, but your post makes me want to get out the yoga mat and go for a jog.

  13. Well said. I also didn’t have much fun in gym class throughout my youth, and I’ve never been competitive. Team sports hold no allure for me, and I find that personal fitness on an individual level is much more rewarding. I hope it works out for you! Good luck 🙂

  14. This is a great post. I share your experiences with school gym class. I was clumsy and chunky as a child. I lengthened out, but still retain my clumsiness. I’m glad you found walking as a way to be physically active. It’s a great, calming form of exercise. Kudos to you for being so open. Thanks again for sharing your experiences. 🙂

  15. Prior to posting, I hadn’t read the previous comments. I agree that yoga is a great form of exercise too. I found yoga a few years ago. My suggestion for yoga is to find a teacher who approaches it from a mental/spiritual viewpoint, with the physical being second. I feel, for me, this approach is the most healthy and rewarding. 🙂

  16. I also hated gym class. I felt it was a complete waste of time when I could have been learning something useful (or at least interesting). We regularly had to run a mile on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and never once do I remember any gym teacher I ever had giving us tips on how to breathe properly, how to work up to running a mile in a healthy manner, etc. I seriously think they all just figured T/Th were “off” days and they didn’t have to do anything. My high school allowed us to waive the PE requirement if we had too many academic classes and I took full advantage of that. The year after I graduated, they removed that waiver option, and I was glad I squeaked through.

    I have a problem with being deathly bored at the gym, and I still hate running. I took some ballet classes and a tap class at various points and those were great ways to stretch out and do something active while retaining my interest and actually being fun. I have also tried pilates, and that’s all right. I need to give yoga another shot — last time I tried it really bothered my wrists. I’ve also tried kickboxing (at a particularly difficult time in my life), and it’s a great way to lower your stress and get out some frustrations. My kickboxing class was not one where we had partners, we used punching bags. My current problem is that I have to travel fairly often, and traveling always throws off my schedule. I know I need to just get over it and sign up for yoga or dance classes already and just go to them when I’m in town.

  17. Congrats to you and the positive health steps you are taking 🙂 I love seeing personal growth happen, and you may not realize how much you’re actually stretching outside your original comfort zone – which is a wonderful thing. I’ve done a few things in the past few years that I feel have really spread my personal horizons (and my previous boundaries). I joined a women’s soccer team (I love soccer, but I never played on a team, and it took years of playing casually in a pick-up summer league before I felt confident enough to join an actual team), and I became a high school teacher. When I was studying to become a teacher, I purposely put myself into positions of having to speak in public and teach on topics I really had no background in just to get myself more comfortable with being far outside my comfort zone. Let me tell you, it totally worked, and my practicum (and now my career) really benefited from me not being disabled by all the challenges involved (especially thinking/speaking on your feet). Now my comfort zone is in a completely different place and I’ve actually had people tell me that they admire my confidence!

    Oh, and I can definitely relate on the friend front. A couple of years ago I had two really close friends move away (they are close to each other as well), and it completely changed my friend base. I felt a little abandoned, though I was happy for the life changes they were embracing. I’ve been pleasantly surprised, actually, how we’ve been able to stay in touch (though it’s not the same), and visit from time to time. I’ve also made some other great friends in the meanwhile. I still miss having them around, but I guess it’s just one of those life things that we have to roll with 😛

  18. Another beautiful post. So glad you’re walking and liking it! Healthy is such a better outlook than thin, I think 🙂 It’s about how you feel on the inside not how others think you look on the outside (though I personally think you look fabulous!!)

    And that chambray skirt, have I told you? Lovely, lovely. I want one now.

  19. Another beautiful post. So glad you’re walking and liking it! Healthy is such a better outlook than thin, I think 🙂 It’s about how you feel on the inside not how others think you look on the outside (though I personally think you look fabulous!!)

    And that chambray skirt, have I told you? Lovely, lovely. I want one now.

  20. I agree with most of the other posters here — gym class was traumatic. I’ve thought about learning to sew (mostly due to this blog, because I love your style :)) and I have the same problem you do — my hips are two sizes bigger than my waist, so getting ANY pants (and any skirts that aren’t “full”) to fit me is impossible.

    For me, fitness is now about walking my new dog (my old dog passed a few days ago and could barely walk towards the end — THIS dog is desparate for activity), playing Wii games, and learning how to do push-ups because I like the sense of accomplishment from learning things 🙂

  21. No need to post with photos, when your words are so meaningful on their own! I’m glad to see that being active is making you happy. I also have never been athletic nor competitive. About a year ago, my city started offering some free fitness classes, and I decided to attend… and after being completely inactive during my school years, I realized that the more you exercise, the better you get at it/more fit, the better you feel! It must be those endorphins… Anyhow, it was quite a revelation, and I’ve been regularly exercising ever since. Those classes make me happy because since they’re free, people, all ages and all fitness levels, come together to get healthy! So I’m happy you have found a gym with a similar experience 🙂 As always, thanks for sharing and keep on finding things that make you happy!

  22. Terrific post, and one that strikes a chord (see what a great music reference) with all of us, including myself. I’m one of those “lucky” people who are just thin, due to genetics, but I’m terribly out of shape. We’ll, I’m hitting late 30’s and the time has come to do something. In the summer (I’m a teacher) I walk a lot (bike as well) as I’ve got an active dog and kid. However, once September hits and the whirlwind of a new school year, that’s finished for me. For me, the idea of going to a class works, as I’ve paid my money and I’m then committed. I danced as a child/teen and know I’d like that more than yoga or pilates (I’ve tried, found it boring), but that’s just me! You might want to look into dance studios as well for adult classes. And often classes are 10 to 12 weeks long, you can always try something else. Good luck in your search, you inspired me to find a class for myself in the fall,

  23. I never liked the idea of going to a gym either – too much like high school gym classes, right down to the locker rooms – but I’ve found that most people at gyms are pretty focused on themselves, and if they judge, they keep it to themselves. That said, I tend to stay out of the weight lifting areas, which feel like they have a different, and more competitive atmosphere.

  24. I hate that exercise is synonamous (can’t spell that word…) with sports! It took me until college to realize that I didn’t have to be on a sports team or even like sports to exercise for health. I have never ever been interested in competitive sports, but since college I’ve figured out that regular running (and now, swimming in summer while my own kids are in their swimming lessons) makes me feel good and healthy and strong. I hope this goes well for you, too!

  25. I’m glad you’re starting some exercise. Walking can be a lot of fun! I too was terrible at team sports in PE and otherwise, but I love hiking, biking, swimming and walking (no running for me either – I’ve got bad knees). It sounds like you’re really enjoying it!

  26. I enjoy viewing all the lovely and creative outfits you make on your blog. I wanted to comment that after reading this post, I could relate because, I too, hated PE in high school. I hated the bullying associated with it, and the focus on competetive sports, which I was and am not that keen on.

    It was not until my husband and I started walking together just out and about town, that I loved movement and enjoyed exercising much more than I ever did in high school. We started years ago by going on shorter walks, and then he kept pushing me to go farther and farther until we used to go out early on the weekends, and return home in the evening, having walked all day, and rested for lunch, or sat at the bookstore cofeeshop. — we both transformed into ‘urban’ hikers — he has had to scale back because of a serious injury — but I noticed that for the past 10 years or more that when we did walk often (we used to walk over 15 km years ago, just out and about our city), I really felt better about my body, and it kept the weight off. We used to walk everywhere, and hardly used our car.

    Since his injury, we have walked much less and I have gained a bit of weight (just the clothes fit, but tight kind of fit…). I have joined the gym, but I miss our super long walks. I do notice though, that it is often taking a small walk every day (he cannot walk as long), that makes a difference as well, and I learned that any movement, especailly walking, makes me feel better and healthier about myself.

    I wish you the best of luck with your walking, and new routines, and hope they all work out well for you.

  27. Not at all a sports person – that was definitely me for most of my life also. It took a long time for me to figure out how much difference a little regular movement in my life made. These days I’m something close to a jock (though I still hate most organized sports), because I found something I loved. I started taking karate, and before I knew it I was doing yoga (wanted to be flexible for the karate), running (wanted better endurance for the karate), and weight training (wanted to be stronger…).

    So I guess my advice, per se, is to find what you love to do and go with that. If you enjoy the walking, you’ll stick with it. If dance is what floats your boat, then go dance! Just keep trying things until you find the thing you can’t wait to do each day – that’s your sport/exercise.

    (And if you want to give the karate thing a try, I teach at Kentuckiana Isshinryu Karate, just over the river. )

  28. I’m loving reading all these responses to your post, which is beautifully self-reflective (a quality that will serve you well in being emotionally healthy for sure!). I had awful PE experiences as well – I was the chubby bookworm who just didn’t get why you would EVER want to play something like dodgeball – it’s like getting a school-approved beating. I did, however, love ballet (not good for body image, but great for body strength), and was raised by parents who whole-heartedly emphasized the importance of being active for health. Luckily, as you get older you realize that there are fabulous options for being active that also encourage growth in other ways – yoga, walking, hiking, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, etc. These are the physical pursuits I love as a non-chubby (but still devoted bookworm!) adult.
    I also want to add that I am a fellow singer and I’ve found that cardiovascular conditioning is a great boon to projection (especially if you are a light lyric soprano or similar which perhaps you are?).

  29. Gym was really the worst ever. I think my least-bad gym class was a short section we were learned a really gentle form of martial arts. I want to say tae kwon do, but I think it was something more obscure. Anyhow, it was all about focused movements, and everyone was kind of equally bad/good at it, and it was the first time I didn’t feel like a total gym class failure.

    When I was in grad school, I found that if I did fairly light weight lifting (I have these 5 pound hand weights) in the mornings, I was immensely less stressed by life. It’s something I’ve been meaning to get back to, because even the slight amount of endorphins I got from that made such a significant difference on my mood. Your hour long walks also sound really wonderful! And are such a great way of getting out into the neighborhood and enjoying the scenery. 🙂

  30. Gym classes seem to leave something to be desired for those of us who are not into team sports world wide. I’m from Australia and the thought that I can’t catch a ball to save my life and don’t feel like that makes me less of a person seems to be something that both my class mates and my teachers seemed to take interest in. I also don’t feel very competitive when it comes to sport. While PE (Physical Education) classes were still very painful for me at least my parents realised that team sport was not for me and got me involved in non competitive dance which I did until mid teens. I’ve only recently started doing exercise for myself and have really found that the types of exercise that make me most happy are ones that get me moving in a non-pressuring environment. Things like dance, pilates and some forms of yoga classes which focus on understanding your body and feeling happy with how you are rather than on being super fit. I’m really glad for you that you are starting to go through the process of discovering what works for you. I hope it makes you as happy as it has made me.

  31. You are inspiring. Maybe I will start taking those walks as well. I know dancing is one of my favourites. I still have to find something to do in that area. Thanks for you honesty and candor.

  32. Wonder how many people the American school system has totally scarred out of lifelong fitness with gym classes?! (then again, others feel the same way about music and art, so each to their own, I suppose)

    I have many of the same issues, especially the clumsiness. But in my mid-twenties, I started cycling, just for transportation at first (I had no car at the time). Before I knew it, I was taking the long way home, and I really enjoy it…just goes to show, you never know what you might like till you try it.

    Good for you, for building a positive relationship with your body. It does all sorts of amazing things for you, now and hopefully for many, many years to come.

    Besides, singing is a sport too, you know! A doctor once told me that professional musicians are just as demanding on their bodies as professional athletes, so I’d say you’re already an athlete. 🙂

  33. One thing I noticed when I was regularly exercising: my ability to stay warm in the cold increased dramatically. I took Kung Fu classes for about a year and a half, and that winter was the first year I discovered I LOVED the cold! Granted, we don’t get much of it in Texas, but we get at least 3 weeks a year that are below 40 degrees (so that’s what I mean when I say cold). I really enjoyed being in air I could blow breath clouds in, for the first time since I became an adult. It was awesome.

  34. I’ve been following your blog for a while and never left a comment, but I just wanted to say that we could be sisters there are so many things that are common in our lives. Thank you for posting your thoughts about life, not just about sewing and knitting. It’s so helpful to a former singer SAHM who sews to read that there are lovely interesting people – like you – and so many of your followers – who all share some of the same stuff. I love to walk in my neighbourhood, too, and yes, it does help my state of being. You go, girl. And keep writing with our without pics. Your posts are are a delight to read.

  35. Sorry about your friend moving away – that’s really sad. But I’m so glad that you’ve found a form of exercise you like. It’s so great for escaping from the house and winding down – and even better if you don’t have to worry about nasty phys ed instructors and regulation gym knickers (or perhaps that’s a very British thing?!)

  36. I think that “Aiming for Healthy” is a very very good philosophy. The fact of the matter is that our bodies are amazing machines, and we NEED exercise to keep them running well. But exercise doesn’t mean “sports” or “competition” or “winning/losing”. It just means exactly what you’re doing – walking, taking a dance class, getting your muscles moving. It will help your posture, it will help your mood (dopamine is released when you exercise), it will help EVERYTHING. Just keep it in perspective, as you seem to be doing. 🙂

    Taking an interest in your personal health, in being healthy, rather than looking like any one thing we’re told we should look like, is a strong and brave choice. It’s saying that you, you personally, are your ideal. Which is also something you affirm every time you make yourself a garment – which is a lot like a time capsule, and love letter, to yourself on that day (in my opinion.)
    I wish you luck, and perseverance. You are worth this effort.

  37. Thank you so much for sharing this part of yourself with us.

    I’ve felt the same way about you for a long time with exercise. I was always really un-athletic and clumsy in high school, and was never involved in team sports. A few years ago I decided to handle my depression without medication and through exercise. I started going to the gym and then eventually took up martial arts. I now do jiu jitsu and arnis 3x a week and walk everyday to work (about an hour per day). It also helps to live in a city where you have to walk everywhere, since I don’t have a car. Good luck on your journey with exercise and on being healthy.

  38. I am a long time lurker on your blog and I don’t usually comment but I found this a very thought provoking post. I had the same dislike of organised sport at school, all that ‘jolly hockey sticks’ stuff held no interest for me, although we weren’t ridiculed by the teachers (I find that really shocking btw), our sportier peers certainly took the mickey out of the less enthusiastic participants.
    I loathe gyms but, I do, now, exercise every day, when I say exercise I mean really brisk walking (about a 1.5 miles a day) and an hour of yoga once a week and this is a necessity for me as about 10 years ago I began a (very) premature menopause which caused me to re-evaluate my lifestyle. In itself, an early menopause is not really that big a deal, it’s not life threatening and it happens to about 1% of women under the age of 40 but the premature drop in oestrogen can lead to brittle bones and early osteo-arthritis, the end result of which leads to loss of mobility which absolutely terrifies the life out of me. I really don’t want to end up immobile by my 60s.

    So I took advice from my doctor who suggested that the best preventative measure was moderate exercise and a healthy balanced diet, I make sure that I eat well, with plenty of fruit, veg, protein and some carbs for energy and, well there’s the walking and yoga. I have never felt so well, my occasional bouts with depression have all but disappeared and my body is strong, fit and supple and I no longer feel crippled with body insecurities… AND it changes the way you view your body for the better. Walking is a very undervalued exercise, I have thighs I could now crack walnuts with, so keep up with the walking and exercise, there are so many benefits.

  39. I read/check you blog multiple times througout the week. I started garment sewing because of your blog. And I’m having so much fun. I knit and sew, and am a yoga convert, so I second and third (or seventh, whatever) the notion of yoga. There are so many styles/types of yoga that just bout everyone can find something that meets their needs. I wanted to work on flexibility – and grace. Grace of movement, the grace of purpose, the grace of fluidity, and the grace inside my own head of being still. Yoga has done that for me. My sewing is starting to bring that sense, but that will take more time. Yoga has also shown me how to be patient, which I desparately needed.

    I enjoy your blog tremendously, with or without pictures!

  40. I love exercise and I am no size ten and to be honest it is sometimes hard for me as I have a damaged hip but I can say this about it firstly I feel mentally better when I exercise and secondly I found the thing I love which is swimming. Exercise is for everyone but the trick is find something you love that works for you. Gyms which have a mixed membership and encourages lifestyle change as opposed to rapid weight loss or muscle gain are much more common than they were and for me it is important to exercise where I feel supported and not judged or I will not go. As a child my parents were sports mad and often very cross with me becuase there were lots of things I could not do. I went back to exercise when I turned 40 because I wanted to own that part of my life and exercise on my own terms.

  41. You pretty much described my jr high/high school gym experience too! I hated gym so much, and it really made me not want to excercise as an adult. I basically was inactive until last year when I got a bike to ride around town with my husband (who started biking instead of running because of bad knees), and wouldn’t you know I love cycling! I started riding almost every day just to excercise, and I have to say the days I ride I feel happier and less stressed all day. I’ll be riding my first half-century (50 miles) on Saturday! It’s amazing how much we can still change as adults…

  42. Wow, this is so crazy. I have also been feeling particularly down about not having many friends. In my case, I am the one moving away, and I really only have one close friend. My other friends have either moved or discontinued regarding me as a friend after I quit going to my old high school and decided to be homeschooled for my last two years of high school. I, also, am quite introverted, and I have found that one of the most difficult things for me is finding and making friends. I, too, am rather picky… Also, I was always the one in gym class who couldn’t dribble a basketball, jump rope more than 5 or 6 times, or do more than 1 pushup (in which case I couldn’t even do it correctly). I found gym class to be more torture than educational. We would have to run 5 laps around our entire school building without stopping, which was pretty much impossible for me. Most of the time I was just trying to hold back the tears because it seemed to come so easily to everyone else. I have recently wanted to exercise and stay more healthy, but I’m not sure I want to do it alone, but I don’t have anyone to do it with unless my mom will do it with me. I am anxious to read more about how it turns out for you 🙂

  43. I am really sorry about your friend leaving, that sucks…
    I just wanted to say that I can totally relate to the whole sports thing, and staying healthy versus loosing weight. I have always hated sports, I hated P.E., I was a disaster at any team sport (volleyball, oh how I hated volleyball) and was always the one in the embarassing position of being the last one to be chosen for teams. But I like skiing and dancing, and have been doing those two things for a lifetime. Once you find what you like, stick to that, and do it because you like it and because it is healthy, the toning and weight loss is just a consequence. I’ve always felt lucky in a way because when I heard of other people who were trying to find some way of working out to loose weight, I always realized I was lucky enough to work out without even noticing it…during dance class I focus on the dancing, and hey! I stay healthy and at a good weight without hardly noticing that it’s a workout! Also I totally agree that it is better to focus on good, healthy habits you can stick to for life rather than a way of just shedding off the pounds. And then again, doing something because you like it in addition to because it is healthy or will tone your body is a great way of keeping the good habit rather than quitting after a few months…if you’re only doing something to loose weight, in my opinion, you are likely to, at some point, start feeling like you’re being a little vain putting all your efforts into your body image…these thoughts don’t occur if you focus on the health and the fun of doing things rather than strictly on the weight loss aspect…and your body will look great anyways!
    Also, keeping fit can make you feel good for other reasons as well…for instance I have always hated running and any athletic activity of the sort, but the other day I ended up being convinced to go running with some friends and I realized that I could do it, that my body was actually a little stronger than I thought or in ways I didn’t know it was. I thought that since running had nothing to do with my dance training (different muscles, different kind of activity etc) I was going to have a hard time keeping up with the others but I didn’t, and the next day I had hardly any muscle pain…it was a good feeling!
    I hope you find some activity you enjoy, trust me it’s welll worth it!

  44. Coincidentally, both of my best friends are moving away too….I too, have been feeling blue lately…(: And my other close friend has moved to Toronto in 2009, so next year, i will have no close friends here. I wouldn’t say I am an introvert, but I am picky and generally I need to feel a good vibe from a person in order for me to consider them as a friend.

    My mom said, “well, that’s life, everyone moves away eventually…..” but I am still coming in terms with the fact that I will have no one to even have a coffee with ..aside from DH, of course…

    I think, you will get used to it, because that’s what usually happens – we can get used to anything.

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