Bill’s Accepting That His Fitness Isn’t What It Once Was

This article is part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three members of the WebMD team as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their travels here.

By Bill Kimm

It has been 2 weeks since I tested positive for COVID-19, and I am happy to report that I almost feel 100% again. I still have a lingering cough that won’t stop, but my taste and smell are back, the fatigue is almost gone and I feel, dare I say, normal. So much so that I actually went for a walk on Monday for my first exercise in over 2 weeks (more on that later)!

I am extremely grateful for the outpouring of good wishes I received from you on social media. Our WebMD audience is so caring and caring. Your supportive comments really helped the days I was struggling. With all my heart, thank you!

I had thought that being down with COVID wouldn’t derail my weight loss efforts. Since I had no sense of taste or smell, and didn’t have much of an appetite, I figured I would at least stay stable (and maybe even lose a pound or two). It turns out I won. Not much, but I won. I think this is because once I got my taste buds back, the serving size went out the window! My daughter made a delicious strawberry cake last weekend, and – I can’t lie – my pieces were bigger than they should have been. But it’s OK. A crazy weekend after a few tough weeks is absolutely perfect. In fact, it was probably good for me to spoil myself a bit. But now that I feel almost normal, it’s time to focus again.

I have a plan for the food and feel comfortable executing it, but exercise continues to be a huge obstacle. I didn’t appreciate how hard it was going to be to start over, not just physically but mentally. As someone who shares everything online, especially the workouts, it was extremely difficult to get over the fact that I no longer run 3, 4 or 5 miles. It’s embarrassing and it keeps me from wanting to exercise. It’s hard for me to accept that I know my friends can see through my exercise tracker that I’m walking, not that I’m running. Knowing that I was proud of my distance, and now that that distance is non-existent, is a hard pill to swallow. So much so that it keeps me inside the house. The embarrassment of not being able to do what I once could is stronger than my desire to move again. I see how well my fellow 2021 health bloggers Mark and Laura are doing with their fitness, and I am jealous. My pride and COVID are taking me back to square one, and knowing where I was a short time ago makes that incredibly hard to accept.

On a recent WebMD Now podcast, my good friend Dr Michael Smith said something I really needed to hear. He said, “Get moving today than you did yesterday. Don’t be too ambitious or you will set yourself up for failure. Consistency will get you there. “

He is right. I realize that I am trying to practice where I was, not where I am today. I’m not the half marathon runner I was a few years ago. It is a heartbreaking truth that I must accept. Before COVID, I forced myself to run 3 miles, no matter how hard it was because I had been able to run this far in the past. But after this race I had to take off for several days because I was in incredible pain. I was doing too much because I was basing my training on who I was.

Now that I’m recovering from COVID, I really need to base my workouts on where I am TODAY. I need to focus on what my body is telling me and most importantly: Take. It. Slow. As Dr Michael said: “Get moving today than yesterday.” This is my new mantra. I’m going to walk, and I’m going to be okay with walking. (I might need you to remind me!) And when the time comes, and my lungs and legs can handle it, I’ll run again. I love to run and I am angry with myself for letting it drop from my priorities. Maybe I’ll get back to where I was, maybe I won’t. But the important thing is to “move more today than yesterday”.

Here is again hitting the sidewalk!

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