|Photo by Ken Bosma, licensed CC-BY-SA|
I don't know if anyone else who is or has been morbidly obese has felt this, but before I started working out my world was very small indeed. I was reluctant to go out with people or to go places, because I could not walk more than half a block without pain, and I could never know if there was close transit or parking nearby.
I used to dread conversations that took a turn towards "let's just walk to ...". It didn't matter where people wanted to walk, I would know that it was too far for me to handle.
Before undertaking any new task - whether it was shopping, or dinner with friends, or even going to work - my primary consideration was always "how will I get there?" or sometimes even "can I get there?". I remember a couple of years ago that I did good work on a tedious project, and the supervising partner took the team out for lunch. It was one of those "I booked reservations at [local restaurant]" situations, but since the restaurant was not directly across the street, it involved a walk. At the time for me every step was painful, and my back seized up in knots before I had even walked half a block. The next two blocks were agony, and by the time I arrived at the restaurant I was completely blown, puffing and wheezing. That restaurant, as it happens, is on the way to my current apartment, and is a mere 5 minute walk from my office. For me at the time, it might as well have been on the moon.
I took more $10 cab rides than I care to mention, simply because I couldn't walk the 5 blocks to court. Or the 4 blocks to my apartment. My life became limited by my walking radius, which was about as far as the front door of my office building.
And I stopped taking advantage of the city as a result. Here I was, living downtown in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Canada, and I was a virtual housebound shut-in. I was not agoraphobic, but it was such a trial to actually go anywhere that my life resembled that of an agoraphobe.
Recently, however, I've noticed something. I am exploring my city on foot. I am enjoying going for walks with the Nerd, and we are going walkabout every week. We've gone to the theatre district, and the distillery district, and I have plans for other meanders around town.
We've been going for little trips to the Market, and where I would always let the Nerd go alone in the past, we have started going shopping together. I am no longer limited by what my body will do, because my body has been doing all sorts of good things since I started working out.
Go to dinner with friends and have a 1.7 km walk back to their place in High Park? Sure! Make three trips to the Market in a weekend? No problem! Go for a 30 minute walk to enjoy exploring the neighborhood? You betcha!.
I feel like I am gradually coming back alive after having been hibernating for so long. And it's a good feeling.