March 30 11

I’m about to get on my elliptical trainer for the third time this week. Look, I’m not expecting you bring out the round of applause or get up from your computer or desk or couch to give me a standing ovation. But you just have to know that this is a big deal for me. I don’t know if you remember, but last week I started complaining of headaches. Well, they weren’t so much headaches as they were FACEACHES, if such a word were to exist.

The pain and pressure would start in between my eyes and then radiates down my cheeks all the way to my ears. It was awesome. I saw my eye doctor, hoping it was my eyes (It wasn’t) and then I saw my family doctor (who actually isn’t my family doctor but is a friend and a doctor and he is perfectly happy to take my health card and get paid to see me when I fall down the stairs and get giant hematomas or when I am certain my face is going to melt right off my bones) who did some xrays and tests and asked me a lot of questions and while we didn’t get to the root of the faceache problem, but we did discover something else. Slightly elevated blood pressure. It was not elevated enough to treat or really to even get super concerned about, but considering my background and my genetics, it’s certainly something a wee bit alarming and something I want to keep an eye on.

So, I’m watching my salts and exercising.

I am notorious for never finishing anything I start, and exercise routines are no exception. I have joined the gym at least a half a dozen times, and quit the gym at least that many times. I did the 18-day Shred. I started running. And then I quit running. And then I started running again and I even almost ran a half-marathon – I was signed up and got a t-shirt and everything! – but then I destroyed my heels and there was a tremendous amount of pain and bleeding and, once again, there was some quitting on my part.

But now it seems like I don’t really have a choice. Quitting is not an option. So, I’m starting small – 35 minutes on the elliptical while I listen and attempt to sing Glee songs while I huff and puff and sweat. I have often heard from people that they get addicted to exercising. I would love for that to happen to me. I get addicted to things like coffee and Girl Scout cookies and Jon Hamm and buying cardigans and watching bad reality tv. Why can’t I be one of those people who gets addicted to things that are actually good for you? HUH? Why do I loathe exercising so much? I guess the good thing right now is that I’m not really in it to lose weight (HELL, if some shedding of my muffin top comes along with this project, I’ll take it, gladly!) but it’s not about weight or pounds or inches.

It’s about my heart.

And when a medical professional looks you in the eye and says, “Your pressure is a lot higher than I’d like,” it’s like a giant kick in the lazy ass. And it was almost like in that moment, things started to change, right then and there. I swear. I was feeling STRESS about my faceaches and my job situation and money and maybe/possibly/probably switching my children from private to public school and when in the heck is the warm weather going to get here and my van breaking three times in one week and finding Emily an agent and my sister moving to Australia and Isabella being a total beast at bedtime and, well, just about everything.


Stress seems to be a dirty word. I hate it. I don’t want it.

So I am shedding the stress from my life. I am feeling positive. Things are going to work out. My head is going to be fine. My job situation is going to be fine. The decisions I make about school are going to be the right ones. Spring will come. We will find Emily an agent. Isabella will one day go to bed easily.

I will learn to love exercise.

It’s a new day for me.

I even got myself a new haircut. FINALLY.

…and it’s not even orange or anything!

  1. Ali! I could have written this about myself. Long story short — you CAN become an exercise addict. I’m one of them. Eight weeks of the gym and I can’t live without it. I have a weight issue to deal with, as well as a BP risk. Both numbers are coming down.

    You can do this even if you quit every other attempt you made (like I always did). You hit the nail on the head. When it’s a health issue (and not a vanity one) you have more dedication, at least in my experience.

    I have faith in you! Go girl!


    Comment by Kathy on March 30, 2011
  2. Your haircut is beautiful!!!!And don’t sweat the other stuff – it’ll all fall into place. You’ll see. :)


    Comment by Heidi on March 30, 2011
  3. Go Ali! I’m going to use your dedication to motivate myself. At some point. Eventually.

    Love your hair. xo


    Comment by Meghan on March 30, 2011
  4. OMG, I wonder that about me too. I’d love to be addicted to intervals, resistance training, and uh, veggies, but no… my vices are my caramel macchiato, Gerard Butler, and pavlova. And none of those things will do anything positive to my borderline high cholesterol. Well, maybe Gerry — if he’d help me out with a workout or two. heh.


    Comment by Nenette on March 30, 2011
  5. You can do it! Good luck.


    Comment by Tammi Marie on March 30, 2011
  6. I know I rarely comment, but I read a lot.
    I know exactly where you’re coming from. And I started doing something similar in January. (bonus I’ve lost weight – but that wasn’t the whole point).
    If it helps, I’ve really found that when I am stressed I workout instead of eating junk. I’m still fully addicted to chips and candy, but somehow choosing exercise over junk (sometimes) makes me feel way more in control. But … I don’t think I’ll ever be addicted to exercise.
    But, I’ve been going through some crappy stuff, and I can honestly say that going for a run when I’ve hit my totally stressed out point actually makes me feel better. (probably cuz I get sweaty and cry when I run sometimes.)
    Also, I switched from private Christian School to public school in grade 7. Tough decision for you, but if it helps, I was fine, and I think that the balance was great for me.
    And one more thing – cucumbers for blood pressure. Seriously.


    Comment by Laural on March 30, 2011
  7. I’m totally cheering you on and rooting for you! I have never been great at committing to routine exercise so I can relate totally. The reality is, we’re not 20 anymore and now this stuff really starts to count. Be proud of yourself for taking this seriously – good will come of it for sure. And as for the other stresses? I’ve dealt with my fair share of tornadoes in the last 6 years and I’ve learned that you really do need to take life one day at time and look for the daily blessings if you can – life runs smoother somehow.


    Comment by Natalie on March 30, 2011
  8. You go girl.

    Stress is the evil of all evils. Apparently working out helps manage stress… so I’ve been told. :D


    Comment by Katie on March 30, 2011
  9. Pretty hair!

    Also, GO ALI!

    I, too, am not a fan of exercising. But, I have found that as long as I can be entertained while doing it, I’m good.

    I have been doing 25 min on the elliptical and then 25 min walking on the treadmill. This is exactly the amount of time in one episode of the X-Files that I watch on my phone on Netflix Instant Streaming. It has kept me going to the gym! And not just that, it has made me miss it when I don’t have time to go.

    So, go get yourself the DVDs of The Wire and you’ll never get off that damn elliptical machine!

    Keep it up lady! Every little bit helps!


    Comment by Kristabella on March 30, 2011
  10. As a recent convert to an exercise addict I would like to say that I found the key is routine. If you make it a part of your routine you don’t even think twice about doing it. Once you have been exercising regularly for a month or so you too will be addicted. If I can anyone can. Good for you for making the effort, it’s a lot easier said than done.


    Comment by Arica on March 30, 2011
  11. A while ago my husband (who is 25) started complaining about a pain on the left side of his chest and in his left arm. We were afraid it was a heart problem, since he has a strong history of heart issues in his family, so we went to the after-hours clinic. Turns out it wasn’t his heart, but a strained muscle between his ribs. But it definitely got him thinking seriously about his cholesterol and sodium and exercising. Better now for both of you than years later when it could be a serious problem!


    Comment by MonsteRawr on March 30, 2011
  12. Good for you! You know you can do this. I started working out seriously (again) in February, and work out 6 days a week…and I still hate it, but I give myself a little smiley face sticker on my day planner each day I work out, and as cheesy as that sounds, those little smileys that fill the pages for nearly two months give me an ego boost. So do smaller jeans. Woot!


    Comment by fadkog on March 30, 2011
  13. I can probably be bribed with stickers. I’m an easy sell. ha!


    Comment by ali on March 30, 2011
  14. You are so pretty, my friend. :)

    As someone who grew up as a “big girl” and then started exercising in my twenties, I can tell you that weight aside, it is SO GOOD for you.

    I can also tell you that it IS addictive. It just takes a few weeks of forcing yourself to do it, and then you feel guilty if you skip it (at least I do).



    Comment by Angella on March 31, 2011

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