A week after breaking my rib, I was struggling to get into my fat jeans. Apparently broken bone = Eat Anything Remotely Edible. Preferably sugared fat in heavy carbohydrate form. Even with minimal exposure to SFinHCF, I managed to find stuff to inhale. I did what any self-respecting woman would do. I lied to myself and said, “Oh I’ll be fine.”
You know you’re a really bad liar when your own lie stands up and taps you on the shoulder. I sat down with a calculator to come up with a projection that proved I would be fine: recovery period x amount of weight gained per week (so far).
Um. At the end of my 6 week recovery period, if I cut down to what I was currently eating, I would only be 60 lbs heavier.
Time to regroup. New rule: no exercise, no eat. That worked great for about 3 minutes.
Nothing makes me want to eat sugar more than a rule that says No SUGAR.
That’s how I came to acquire my personal trainer, Starr, the little 33-year-old Arab mare, who looks like she might keel over at any second. She has few teeth and drools copiously. You already know about Plan A: I’d walk her, I’d recover, I’d help an old horse feel better. Win-win.
In MY dictionary, if you look up the words Plan, the definition is: To Go Awry.
Starr turned out to be a forceful boot camp drill sergeant. I’m still struggling to keep up with her. After only two weeks, I was still eating, um, “normally” and my fat jeans were in the back of the closet, and my thin jeans were nearly comfortable. Roomy was within spitting distance. Not kidding. As she got more fit, she pushed me harder.
I can put on my teenager riding tights and not look too much like a sausage.
Want to lose weight? Walk an old broad that you totally underestimate. She reminds me of an aging Marlene Dietrich: she has no no clue she’s old, and she is as outrageously provocative as she always has been.
There’s a reason I chose Starr. She went down in her paddock one day for a nap, and could not get up. She found a slight depression in the ground and laid down with her legs facing uphill. We got folks who know how to do this safely, and they flipped her (my ribs still hurt so much I couldn’t have flipped her mane.). After some brisk rubbing on the hind leg she had been laying on (it was asleep) she got up, and I walked her around. Clearly a mare that needed a fitness program. Her rear muscles were rather flaccid. My rear muscles were rather flaccid. The mutual fitness program was born.
As we marched (Starr doesn’t walk, amble or dawdle – there is nothing aimless about her.) along day after day, going longer and longer amounts of time, I realized I had a marching song going in the back of my head to the beat of our footfalls. What was it? Da da da ta DA TA DA, du du du tu DU….
Onward Christian Soldiers.
Apparently I was being “churched” during our marches.
Now I’m picturing the little old lady in a church hat with teeny veil. I glance sideways at her. Fly veil?
Stony faced, she marches onward without glancing at me.
Focus! Right. I work at keeping my shoulders over my hips as I walk, to make my core carry itself. I tend to slouch my way toward fitness.
My core hates me. It whines and whimpers and complains and dreams about frosting swirls.
At the end of four weeks, I was a somewhat balanced passenger on the Tiny train.
At the end of five weeks, I was riding, albeit crookedly. Tiny flicked his ears back and forth in surprise: you’re crooked. Maybe you could sit the trot?
Yesterday was my personal D-day. I’ve been riding both Tiny and Hudson at the walk, rising and sitting trot, and I was fine-ish. I put the bareback pad on Tiny, informed concerned onlookers that I was getting on bareback again. The majority of barn folks patted pockets to check cell phone proximity.
Now I have to make it on, or 911 is going to be jammed.
“Why bareback?”, asked one of the trainers, hands on flat pockets, searching distractedly with her eyes.
“It’s time I got back out of the saddle?”, I say.
It’s backward fence climbing time. I’m half tempted to mount off the wheel well of a trailered-in four horse rig. Nice and tall, handy, but a little rude without asking. It takes three attempts to line Tiny up with a pipe gate: Um. This is not a mounting block. There is no way I’m letting you try mounting from the ground.
Smart boy, he figures out the plan when I put my palms on his neck and back, and start to climb. He sidles closer to the gate. I love this horse. When I land, lightly, unbroken, on his back, he is pleasantly surprised. Walk, trot, canter, leg yield. I’m good to go!
Tiny informed me he’s ready to send out his thank you cards to everyone who responded to my plea for help. (He expected a LOT more weight, and less self-carriage.) I used every last bit of your advice: eating ice was terrific, paying attention, not giving up, giving up, doing other projects, all of it. If you are comfortable getting a thank you card, email me your address so I can help him get started! Jane: firstname.lastname@example.org