When Oprah Winfrey published her book “Making the Connection – Ten Steps to a Better Body and a Better Life” (1996) I had to read it. Oprah was, after all, was the most famous of weight loss success stories. She showed the world her weight loss success in 1988 and made that impactful moment by wheeling out a wagon loaded with the equivalency of her weight loss with cow fat. Of course, she gained back the weight prompting future attempts. I must admit I was glad that first attempt was not the solution. It was a liquid diet and I remember her speaking on her show to Gayle King’s husband (who turned her on to the program), that she would call him and justify why it was okay to eat one hardboiled egg. The thought of that torture was not something I wanted to embrace.
Then, “Making the Connection” was published and again Oprah showed us her great success. I started reading the new book with the new solution. It was a rough start listening to Oprah’s struggles, her self-talk, her body image issues. I could relate to every single one of them and relived my own. I physically felt sharp pain from the hurt and sobbed through many paragraphs. I too had gone into the freezer and taken out frozen hot dog rolls and slathered jelly on them (still frozen) in desperation to satisfy a sweet tooth (or maybe that was just me – it was a very long time ago).
However, Oprah lost me when she described waking up and motivating herself to meet her trainer for her early morning workouts. At that time, I had a toddler and new born and commuted an hour to work every day at a demanding job. I didn’t have an in-home gym. I didn’t have a personal trainer that could meet with me and motivate me. I didn’t have the disposable income to invest in anything that would assist me to get to a healthy weight. I expected to read about how Diana McLean could succeed. I resented Oprah and I can remember yelling out loud “For God’s sake woman you’re a millionaire pay someone to take food out of your mouth”!!!!
How would anything Oprah say motivate me? Her lifestyle is so far removed from mine. But I did buy the book, read the book and shared her hurt so there had to be some take away for me. I did experience a moment of enthusiasm and determination and went for a long walk up and down hills and was proud of myself. That lasted a day because I was sore for several days later and that wiped out the desire to continue.
Shortly thereafter my husband took a job change and I was able to stay home with the children. Being a stay-at-home Mom doesn’t mean you acquire a vacation pass. When being a Mom there is still a schedule to follow but your activities switch from reading reports to reading “Brown Bear” and strategic planning to strategic ways to show how to share toys. I got to the point where I needed to get some type of organized physical activity into my life, for just me. I started with five (5) minutes. Everyone has 5 minutes in their day to put aside for exercise and that’s what I did.
So, I began my morning exercise routine that I have consistently continued until present day. I did a 5-minute exercise video that I considered fun. I knew I could do more, but I wanted to look forward to it every day. I didn’t want it to be so stressful and painful that I would be too sore the next day or dread doing it. When I mastered the 5, I kept increasing. I eventually got to an hour and continue to exercise for an hour every morning. It’s part of my day as if it were brushing my teeth. Throughout the years the routine has changed from walking, running, workout videos, and the elliptical. But I continue to move.
Exercise for 5 minutes when you are most likely to have time to increase that time. For me, I can never fit an hour into a lunch time and evenings are unpredictable for me. My routine is in the morning. Nonetheless, my advice to everyone – start with 5 minutes! You have 5 minutes during your day to do something and that something should be an investment in YOU!
P.S. Regardless of my once resentment, I do love Oprah and I needed her story to make me feel that others, regardless of wealth or stature, share my struggles.