But if you looked up Aboriginal Health Problems in Canada on Wikipedia, there would be a picture of my family. My Grandpa hadn’t been overweight but diabetes had blinded him and rotted his hands and feet away in front of our eyes. My sister was diagnosed with diabetes in our teens though she's been doing fine as of late. My mom’s need for dialysis treatment every other day has to be taken into account whenever we plan trips. My dad is a big guy but he isn’t about to appear on a TLC Fat Guy documentary any time soon. But he hasn’t been without health problems: he had a massive heart attack at a young age that required a triple bypass surgery that we weren’t sure he was going to get through.
I’ve been lucky so far as only a few things have messed with my health but I knew how close I was to suffering major health problems if I kept lazily going down the path I was on. I also realized that, with my extra weight, I couldn’t outrun anyone during the mad rush for the front at a U2 concert. That sealed it, I was going to change.
The problem was how. I knew I needed to get my butt moving more so I started taking the stairs everywhere. The office I frequent the most other than my own is up 7 flights so I starting taking them. For a month, I'd drop off my invoices at the top while extremely out of breath and sweating. I also started pissing off the people at the Square when I’d choose to take the really narrow and tall staircase instead of the escalator right next to it in order to get to the Skywalk. Again, I’d try to catch my breath at the top.
I also joined the gym that opened up a few blocks from my office. I was tempted over to it from my old gym due to all the classes the new one offered including yoga and dance. I had been suckered in to the 6 sessions “deal” with a personal trainer who introduced me to strength training. And wouldn’t you know it? I began to love it. Not right away mind. I wanted to kill the personal trainer after he made me squat 80 pounds instead of the 50 I was used to. Then I wanted to kill him again when he convinced me that lifting weights over my head was a good idea.
But after a month of going twice a week and alternating the routine that the personal trainer gave me with a weightlifting class at the gym, things started to change. I wasn’t ready to pass out once I reached the top of the stairs at work anymore and I was finally able to do more than 4 push-ups. After two months, people were telling me I was losing weight and I was noticing muscles in my arms that hadn’t been there before. I was so amazed that I’d start randomly doing the Beth Phoenix pose and being amazed when I didn’t jiggle. I didn’t get much gym time in during December as I was in Oz but I still did a lot of physical things like walking back up the hill at Taronga to see the animals I had missed and taking numerous walks through the very-stair-heavy Rocks near Circular Quay.
Another thing I’ve been trying to change is my relationship with food. I grew up with a lot of women that had suffered from anorexia and was always afraid of how easy it would be to fall into the mindset. Even now, as I work out, I’ll sometimes wonder, “Man, how easy would it be to just not eat?” For a while, as a kid, I would hide food so I wouldn’t have to eat it (and nearly had to live in the corner when I stuffed a hot dog down a vent and didn’t tell anyone about it until it was found days later). As a teenager, I went through a phase where I was appalled by the suffering of animals for food so I stopped eating meat. That ended after I became so anaemic that I was the palest Native person in Northern Manitoba (which worked for me as I was a Goth at the time). Recently, I’ve started to make little changes to my diet. I’m including more veggies and fruit, eating more whole wheat, and I started to look at serving sizes when I cooked or when I eat something crappy.
Since I started in September, I’ve gone from 40 to just under 38 inches in the tummy area, I’ve toned up my upper body and actually have a muscle when I flex my arm, and I can leg press 110 pounds (60% of my body weight). I’ve also gone from 197 to 187 pounds. Things are good and I’m actually looking forward to going to the gym most of the time. I’ve started running (on a treadmill) and really enjoy finding sporty things to do outside the gym (going skating and what not). Hopefully this is the beginning of a major change for me. I’ve never wanted to be a size zero but I always wanted to be a healthy old woman still able to take care of herself. If you don’t use it, you lose it right?
Lastly, I’ve also lost most of that fatty deposit on my back and don’t have a hump anymore, which my sister grudgingly noticed. She also has started calling me Randy Orton as my thighs have started to look...well...Randy Orton-y.
I was going for Serena Williams but Randy Orton is ok. He’s got some stems.