Coach Beth at Orange Theory Almaden
The definition of fitness is as follows:
Fitness – “the condition of being physically fit and healthy.” - the English dictionary.
So what do you do to make sure you are “fit”?
I am going to tell you my story and it will hopefully inspire your own. Be warned that I will be honest; this is my journey alone and not someone else’s.
During Covid in 2021, I was diagnosed with an infection in my stomach that led to an ulcer and eventually bleeding and anemia. So for time sake, let’s just say I was not “fit” and not “well” but rather quite sick. Each and everyday I would struggle with energy in a way that was so foreign to me, that I felt like a battery holding so much charge and once the charge would be depleted, I would as well. Now this didn’t mean that sleeping would be easier for me. In fact, sleep was about the same as it always was. When my energy was gone, all I could do was sit down and kind of stare, as the gas in my tank was proverbially empty.
During the process of getting rid of the infection, I had to take antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor. These two medications caused some major changes in my body. Let's start with the proton pump inhibitor. Its job is to block the absorption of B vitamins and iron, so there goes some energy. The antibiotics kill all of our good bacteria as well as our bad bacteria, so this means that a lot of things that the good bacteria do (helping with metabolism, bowel movements, mood, etc.) get a lot worse. While I needed these drugs to not cause further harm and damage to my body, they did create havoc of their own.
By the time June and July hit last year, I felt like a fried egg. I had always been active and had good metabolism, but these things took a hit and I started to gain weight. I know, before you sigh too much at me, I am aware that I am a slender build. You must remember that weight is specific to each and every body, and it can change how a person feels, whether good or bad. I was not feeling as good in this new weight and realized I gained weight by how my clothes started fitting. I then weighed myself afterwards to confirm.
Of course as a functional medicine doctor, I know the basic principles of good health (sleeping well, eating lots of veggies, getting exercise, and managing stress). I worked on my stress levels, I ate really well, and tried to go to bed extra early. But I quickly learned that exercise was the one component that was extremely challenging, because if I exercised too much, I barely had enough energy to go to work.
Pre-pandemic I had been doing Orangetheory two times a week, and running at home on other days. The one hour workout class was something that fit much better into my working mom schedule, than the gym and other activities I used to do. Therefore last August I decided that I would go back to Orangetheory, as well as walking with the kids, hiking, and biking. But I would always have to rest afterwards as my energy was still low and my weight remained the same.
During class, the focus is on getting your heart rate into different zones. I learned that all I needed to do for my health, was to focus solely on staying in the class.
Whatever exercise you choose to do, is the best choice for you and yourself. I worked for at least two months, struggling through the classes and holding myself back, as I wanted to go faster and and get stronger. But I knew that it would cause me to get sick and not be able to work afterwards, due to the energy depletion. After those two months, I remember feeling happy and accomplished. I wasn’t as great or even able to get back to my “pre-sick” state, but my energy was returning and I could even get a few more Splat Points (points based on your heart-rate zones) without feeling awful.
Pictured below, is me with one of my favorite Orangetheory coaches, as I love that she keeps a sharp eye on form and is simultaneously so positive with earned (not false) praise.
Thus, the lesson I have learned is that health is a daily choice. I can’t say to myself: “In June I will get healthy and then I’m done. I have arrived.” No, health is a choice I have to make every morning and it can take some serious time. I haven’t lost all the weight I gained and am still working on it. Diet is a big part of it as well, but I can now push myself in class a little more and increase my Splat Points. I am having fun again and my energy is returning. But remember, that was almost 10 months ago, so don’t get burned out if you can’t shrink your tummy in two weeks, as it takes time. To be truly “fit”, you have to choose health everyday, not just somedays. Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom, I did it and it was challenging, but I am sure grateful for it!
Do the exercise you will actually enjoy doing… Whatever that is.
Keep at it at a regularly minimum amount (3x a week). Recommended is 5x a week.
Make a choice for health somedays and don’t expect to have fun everyday!
Love your body and celebrate all of the changes…like an increase in Splat Points! It’s not only about your tummy size.