This fat lady can walk!

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Many years ago there was a television programme on Channel 4 Called “Too Fat to Walk”. When I watched that programme I was filled with admiration and complete amazement at those who took part. It also planted a little seed of thought. Whatever my weight I could walk; and I don’t mean just round the corner.  As a kid I loved sports but as I got older I felt that my weight stopped me from doing what I wanted.

Like many women in their early 50s I’m overweight – quite a lot overweight I admit it. I’ve tried every yoyo diet out there but this isn’t about diets – it’s about feeling good and enjoying something that I wanted to do whatever my BMI was, or my age.

About five years ago I was walking up a little hill near my home and I was shocked by how much I struggled. I thought ‘what has happened to me?’ I was even prepared to accept that this was my life from now on. However, I did decide that I would try to do a little bit more exercise and get a bit fitter.  My idea of a little exercise was a little exercise, but then I had this absolutely crazy idea: totally off the scale crazy.   At work they wanted to do the Three Peaks Challenge and I decided I wanted to as well.  The first walk we did I thought I was dying going up Helvellyn.  If it wasn’t for the fact that some of the younger walkers had been drinking heavily the night before and struggled as well then I think I would have given up.  Except, I didn’t actually feel like giving up. I’ve always said that it might take me a long time but I’ll get there. I soon realised distance wasn’t the issue; it was the incline that was my problem as at the end of the walk I felt great. We did a lot of other training walks and I got to go up Snowdon and Scafell several times, getting fitter every time. The total elation I felt on reaching the top of those mountains was amazing.  For the actual challenge I fell and hurt myself on Ben Nevis. Then a friend of my daughter, a young fit experienced walker died walking on Snowdon round about that time.  That put me off walking for a while, plus by this time my kids had left home and I’m a single so I really wasn’t sure it was sensible to walk on my own.

One beautifully sunny Sunday I randomly decided to walk up Kinder Scout from Edale.  It was on that day I realised you are very rarely on your own out walking.  Not in the Peaks anyway.  It was a lovely day but there were so many walkers up there that when it came to stopping for a lunch break I struggled to find a rock to perch on.   From that point I stopped worrying about being on my own.  I’m sensible and always text my son or daughter my route when I start and confirm with them again when I’m finished – It’s not about being careless.

A couple of years ago I started wanting to do one of the long distance walks. It’s taken me a few years to get to my current fitness but I finally feel I’m ready.  It actually doesn’t matter if I do it or not; it’s the walking and the scenery I enjoy.  It doesn’t matter how long I take. I’m still very overweight so on really steep hills I have to pace myself.   I just tell myself I will walk so many steps and then I’ll stop to get my breathe back and I can look at the view.  If I’m aiming to walk a long distance I very rarely look at the distance until i‘m nearer the end of the walk: I judge how far I can walk on how I’m feeling.

Occasionally I get the odd comment from other walkers who see my weight first and think I’m crazy.  I might be but I love it.  Plus as my doctor said to me this week ……keep on walking!

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One thought on “This fat lady can walk!”

  1. You are an inspiration. You caught my attention the minute you said in your early fifties. That’s me and I’ve just starte walking. The walk 1000 miles in 2016 has been my motivation…. Se you in there….

    Like

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