I have three kids, I have a full time job, and a large house. I'd gotten fat and lazy before I decided to get back into riding again. You know the thing is I don't really see a fat person when I look in the mirror but I just got some riding photos back and yeah, the bad news is I'm fat. The good news is that I'm doing something about it. I'm going to post some of the pics but it's been almost 2 months and I've lost some weight and I'm starting to really re-structure my body. I can feel it everytime I put on my clothes. But lets go back to how this all started.
I was watching So You Think You Can Dance on television with a girlfriend. I'm always incredibly moved by the strength, beauty and grace of great dancers. But sometimes I watch a piece so passionate it moves me to tears. I remember feeling that way when I rode my horses when I was younger. The thrill of mastering control of your own body to the point you can teach this large creature to trust you. It didn't take me long to decided I wanted to have the thing I've always been most passionate about. Horses.
I've always riden H/J so after I got Tax I was brushing up on some reading. I read a quote from George Morris that I can't remember exactly or even find now but it basically said that we cannot expect our horses to be great atheletes if we are not committed to being atheletic riders. Now I realize that's pretty common sense but I hadn't really thought of it that way before. I let it roll around in my head for a bit. What does riding mean to me? Did I want to be an athelete or did I want to pop on a pony for a bit of a trail ride? Well the answer has always been the same with me. I want to jump. I want to show. I want to, in fact, be an athelete. I also want to trail ride but if I had to choose...
So here I am on the long side of 32 with my three kids and busy life and I decided I wanted to go back to a sport I was so passionate about in my teens and early adulthood. I did an open schooling show back in February and was mortified when I saw the show photos. Was that what I really looked like? Wow. So starting in Feb I started to change some things. The progress has been slow. This is about changing my lifestyle not just about losing some weight. Although the weight is a huge part of it. I'll just be honest. At my peak I weighed 220 lbs and I'm 5'2ish. When I measured myself for a show clothes in Feb my calf was 18 inches, my waist was 41 inches and my bust was 46.5 inches.
The first change I made was my diet. I cut out soda completely. I was a pretty die hard Pepsi addict so it was painful. I still have one on occasion but not on a regular basis. Once a week max and 20 onces max. Then I started to cut out any overly processed foods. No more late night at the barn fast food evenings for me. Even if I stop and get the kids something I make sure I don't give in to the temptation. What this means is my husband is doing more of the cooking so I don't have to be around food. Then I flopped my eating patterns. I'm eating at breakfast and having a decent lunch but very light dinners consisting usually of 3 onces of lean meat, and ounce of cheese or some other diary and veggies.
Then I had to consider my exercise options. By this time I'd been riding for a while and working at the barn so I knew my cardiovascular fitness and my strength were already improved from what they had been. Before walking a mile would wind me and give me tingly legs. I crept out early one morning to try it out. I walked the first mile and felt pretty good to my surprise. I started jogging the second mile and was winded but with walking intervals was able to jog about half way. Every other morning I would sneak out into the early morning light and each day I pushed myself further. Now I can jog both miles at about a pretty steady 7 minutes each. I'm considering increasing to 4 miles and walking two and jogging two. I want to get to the point where I can jog three at a decent clip. The goal here is to build my cardio fitness and loose weight.
Next I started thinking about what is most important to a rider. Obviously strong legs are important. I visually prefer a rider with long lean muscle. Core strength, balance and flexibility are key. In my research the two most likely fits to help me develop the characteristics I want are yoga and Pilates. Someone recently described yoga to me as dressage for the human body. I liked it, and I was in.
Fast forward to today. I'm jogging almost every morning and I've added yoga every other. My goal is to get to 20-30 minutes every other day of just the yoga on top of jogging. You know what? I love the exercise. I love the peaceful, quiet minute I take to care for no one else in the world but myself. I love the strength coming back to me. I love everything about learning to control my body, my breathing and even my thoughts. I still hate eating well. I miss Pepsi. I want to celebrate each weight loss victory with a huge meal. I'm working on it...it's learning a new way to live and to balance everything in moderation. I don't want to have to sacrafice everything I love forever, but I need to be able to find the middle ground. I weighed in this morning at 191 lbs. Almost 30 lost. My waist now measures 36, my calfs 16.5 and my bust 41. People I barely know at work are starting to comment. It has been wonderful.
My riding is improving slowly but surely. I'm happy to be able to be a better trainer than I was a few months ago. Next time I'll focus on what my new plan is for the beasties since focusing on a plan for myself is really helping.
And now it's time for some pictures! Anyone else think Promise is pretty much a perfect english pleasure/HUS prospect?