Weight Loss Challenge Week 6: Ditching My Treadmill

Blogger Mandy Dawson, a mom of two kids, has made it her mission to get healthy and lose 50 pounds. Over the next eight weeks, she'll be working with wellness guru Debi Silber to get on the right track to meeting her fitness goals. Check back every Thursday for an update on how she's doing in our Weight Loss Challenge series.

"I hate running," I confessed. "I want to love it. I want to be one of those women who run every morning and talk about how it makes everything right with their world. I want to be someone who strides along with their earbuds playing a great selection of music and their shoes slap the pavement. But I hate running."

"Then why are you doing it?" Debi Silber's voice sounded surprised. "I only asked you to add it in since you have a treadmill."

"Because it's good for me?" I ventured.

"If you don't enjoy it, you're not going to do it."

How right she is. As I've mentioned before, I have a hard time with exercise. I don't particularly enjoy it and it always takes way too much time. Time I'd rather be doing almost anything else.

Time I'd rather spend doing laundry.

Yes. Laundry. That is how much I don't care for exercising.

The only exercise I like is the tricky sort. You know the kind: kayaking on a gorgeous summer day, hiking a great trail, roller skating, and riding a bike with the kids. But that sort of exercise isn't something I'm able to do on a daily basis. I needed something that would help me get a great workout and keep me from getting bored.

Debi had a plan to get my heart rate up with a high-intensity interval training program. While I was leery of a 15-minute workout — aren't they supposed to be an hour or more long? — I trusted her and kept my fingers crossed.

It worked. Fifteen minutes after I started, I was dripping sweat and ready to jump into the rest of my day. That's a plan I can keep. That's a program I can use. I can do anything for 15 minutes. I was in labor for 36 hours. What's 15 minutes?

As happy as I was to find an aerobic workout I can stick with, I also realized I needed to find ways to incorporate activity into my life on a regular basis. When I was in my 20s, I went dancing three nights a week. I spent my weekends playing tag football or softball with my friends. My ex and I frequented the tennis and basketball courts. I wasn't the athletic person, but I was far more active than I am now. 

In contrast, my 30s are spent eating elaborate dinners and spontaneous BBQ's. I attend cheese tastings, wine club parties, brunches, lunches, and girls nights out. Most of my social activities involve food, and a lot of it. Even something as simple as a game night has appetizers and snacks straight from the pages of Saveur. While I love the foodies in my life — and have been converted to the ways of from scratch cooking — I need to find balance.

I started to think, what would happen if I started to introduce a few active portions to the events my friends and I plan? What if, instead of a Sunday BBQ, we met first for a pick up softball game and followed it with dinner?

I tentatively approached my friends and was happy with how open to the idea they are. It's not perfect, but I've decided if it means I can lose the treadmill, I'm all in.