Home / 2013 / One Step at a Time

One Step at a Time

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

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.


Add yours below.


The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

Connect with ACHA

Join us in our mission to empower the congenital heart disease community by advancing access to resources and specialized care that improve patient-centered outcomes.

Enter your name, email and state to get started. If you choose to, you can provide more information to us in the next step for more tailored communications! We'll never, for any reason, share your personal information. Already get ACHA emails? We’ve got you! You do NOT need to fill out this form.

*By sharing your information, you consent to receiving emails from ACHA.

  • {{ m }}
{{ validation.firstError('basic.FirstName') }}
{{ validation.firstError('basic.LastName') }}
{{ validation.firstError('basic.Email') }}
{{ validation.firstError('basic.State') }}