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One Step at a Time

May 22

Posted by: ACHA
5/22/2013 1:17 PM  RssIcon

By Alissa Butterfass

It’s 11:22 a.m. and I am at 7,520. Steps, that is. I’m back to counting steps and points and pounds and ounces, in my seemingly never-ending challenge to get down to a healthier weight. When I first started in January, I was just minding my eating – trying to eat healthier, snack on veggies instead of cookies, and drink more water.

Next, I found my pedometer and started wearing it daily. I loved to see how high I could get it to go during an average day. Rather than make my son get his own sweatshirt, I’d offer to get it so that I could add a few more steps to my count. But no matter how many times I ran up and down the stairs fetching toys, books and sneakers for my kids (which they really should be getting for themselves anyway), I was barely reaching 5,000 steps. I knew what I had to do if I really wanted to slim down.

So late February I began exercising and quickly realized what a difference even moderate activity makes in my weight loss. Shocking, I know! As my husband, the king of sarcasm, remarked when I told him, “You mean exercise helps you lose weight?! You should call the New York Times. People will want to know about this!”

But I don’t think he really understands how hard it has been for exercise to become a part of my routine. When Hubby is stressed, he likes to hit the gym, not a box of Milanos.

It doesn’t help that with CHD I get out of breath quickly. The Zumba classes that look so fun are out; I can’t keep up. I actually think I’d really enjoy running, but I just can’t do it. Even last week when I tried to jog alongside my 7-year-old on his two-wheeler, I couldn’t stay apace. I read fellow ACHA blogger Paul Willgoss’ posts and am amazed at what he does. I know walking is an option, one I occasionally take, but it is just not the same. Frankly, it feels kind of lame.

Motivated to take off the weight, I have committed to myself to use the elliptical machine in our basement at least 3 times a week. Each Sunday I look at the week ahead and determine which days I will be able to exercise. At first exercise was a dreaded obligation. But slowly it became a part of my routine. I now get upset when I can’t fit it into my schedule.

On vacation in Florida I woke up early each morning to get a walk in before breakfast. In April I knew I really had gotten over a hump when the kids were at a sleepover at my parents and I had the option to either sleep late or read a book undisturbed; instead, I got out of bed, put on the sweats and did time on the elliptical. Believe me, no one was more surprised than me!

That said, as great as I feel once I have exercised, the minutes on the machine feel long and torturous. Even with the trashiest TV or funniest movie to entertain me, I am constantly looking at the clock counting down 'til my 30 minutes are complete. But then I look at my pedometer. How it’s boosted up. How I know I will hit my 10,000 steps because I worked out. And it’s all good.

Alissa Butterfass was born with transposition of the great vessel, which was corrected with a Mustard procedure at age 2. In addition to being a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, wannabe author and chocoholic, she volunteers as the Co-President of her local chapter of a nonprofit organization. Until recently, Alissa worked part time as a senior marketing manager at a Fortune 500 company.

Copyright ©2013 ACHA

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