If you don’t use it, you lose it. Have you ever heard that expression? I can tell you from experience, it’s true. After years of poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle, my feet are pretty messed up. The neuropathy from Type 2 Diabetes is frustrating. I used to be able to straighten my sheets and blankets at the foot of my bed with my toes, but I can’t feel them, anymore. My toes feel like blocks of wood inside my shoes and walking is not comfortable for me.
Every morning I argue with myself about getting on the treadmill for twenty minutes. The first five minutes are the hardest, knowing that I’m only a fourth of the way there. My last five minutes are the easiest, knowing that if I can do the first five I can do the last five.
Today I’m counting my blessings. How many people would love to have a treadmill, but don’t? This morning I walked for them. How dare I waste this resource that other people are not allotted?
How many people have had toes or feet or even legs amputated due to diabetes? This morning I walked for them. How dare I complain about not wanting to do my treadmill every morning to my daughter who has spent her life in a wheelchair because of spina bifida?
How dare I squander the health that God has given to me? How dare I shortchange my family by not taking care of myself through proper eating and exercise? How dare I set for them such a poor example?
I don’t WANT to exercise! I don’t LIKE to exercise! I press on because even the limited exercise I get on the treadmill will help me survive it the next day, too. If I let a day or two go by it’s just that much harder the next day.
When my daughter was a toddler, we watched Sesame Street every day. I will always remember this one cartoon clip that was featured about a little girl named Wanda. Every day she would lie in front of the television set. Her legs would say, “Let’s go run and play!” But Wanda never listened to her legs. She just kept watching TV every day. After some time Wanda wanted to play outside, but her legs were no longer interested.
For some reason this little cartoon has stuck in my mind all these years. How very true this is for our OWN legs and feet! My feet whine and complain to me every morning as I walk on the treadmill. “Not this again. We’re tired! We ache! Didn’t we get enough of this yesterday?”
Be kind to your legs and feet. Take them shopping. Take them to the zoo. Let them enjoy the great outdoors. Let them walk and play! Someday you may need them to take you somewhere and they won’t–or, worse yet, CAN’T!
I think back to forcing myself to get on the treadmill for just fifteen minutes a day back when I weighed 313 pounds. The first time I hung with it for two weeks because I PROMISED my doctor I would. She made me shake on it. I’m a woman of my word and I did it because I had no choice. My handshake was my bond. I got through those two weeks, and I was done. No more.
Fast forward another year and being desperate to regain control of my health–or else possibly lose my job. Or my life. Whichever happened first. I signed onto the Trim Healthy Mama plan. You know, bought the book, joined the groups, committed to the program. It was then that I hit the treadmill again. All three hundred and thirteen pounds of me.
I have to remind myself daily how much easier it is now that I’m 268 pounds! Do I remember what a struggle fifteen minutes was at 313 pounds? Do I want to go back there? No, thank you! Please, let me never be there again!
Today I have no choice. This is the day God has given me. This is the treadmill God has given me. These are the feet God has given me. Instead of complaining, I should be thankful. I am hopeful that as I keep on this new way of eating and get back into walking more, my feet will give me less trouble. It may be that I’ll never get the feeling back in my toes and feet, but maybe by using them I can keep them from being damaged further. If I use my toes and feet maybe I won’t lose them.
Sober thoughts for a Tuesday. But, mamas, be grateful for your health, your homes, your families. Let us not take for granted all with which God has blessed us. Let us not squander it, either. All praise to the Creator who has given to us bountifully out of His treasury of good gifts! Have a wonderful season of Thanksgiving and carry the spirit of thanksgiving with you always!