In my readings about fear and riding, weight issues have been slapping me in the face lately. Horse Illustrated and Practical Horseman both have articles about fear and riding. The article in PH is called, "Winning the Fitness Battle." Becky Holder tells about her healthier life style. Even in That Winning Feeling by Jane Savoie she talks about fitness.
For me fitness starts with weight loss. Really, I have to loose weight. I do not wish to disclose how much as of yet, you will notice there are no photos of me on this blog. I do have a lovely "before" shot with Abby. I hope in the spring I can share that with an "in progress" photo. I am very healthy otherwise, but weight. My heart, cholesterol, liver, kidney, and other functions are all great. I am just fat.
For me, weight is a big reason for my fear. First of all, I know I look like crap on a horse. Oh come on, we know when we look bad. I look bad. That is negative talk though and so I have changed that in my mind to, "I look great on my horse." I know with that positive self talk it is only a matter of time until it is true. My mantra is, " I am a healthy and fit woman." Maybe I should ad, " I look great on my horse."
Amazingly, as I tell myself that a few times a day another strange thing happens. When I feel hungry, the little voice in my head asks me, "what would a healthy person eat?" I then find myself reaching for an apple rather than a handful (or bagful) of potato chips. It really is weird and takes me aback a bit. I know in time that it will be second nature. I kid you not, some of that crap actually works!
My weight also effects how I sit on a horse. Seriously, it is hard to ask much of a horse when you feel like you are too heavy to be up there in the first place. Then, to be perfectly frank, my larger than average thighs and thick posterior make it difficult to do many of the things that dressage asks. For example, sit on your seat bone. Hell I can not even feel my seat bones. I am not sure I have them anymore, much less know if I am sitting on them. Or feel the horse. Again, it is like sitting on a bunch of quilts and trying to feel a pea under the mattress. That may have been easy for a princess, but I am not a princess.
Bitching about my weight while I grab some pizza and beer is not going to help though. I had to be serious and decided that riding again is very important to me and like anything worth doing it takes effort. So I joined Weight Watchers. It works, when I do it that it. Really. I just need to actually do it. I don't think that most of the weight loss programs really work long term, but with WW you actually learn how to eat. Again, I just need to follow it.
I also invested in a Wii. I have Wii Fit Plus, Wii Biggest Losers, and some other Wii Play. When I first decided to lose weight and I knew that I would have to exercises I went out and got some videos, only to find out that I was not fit enough for the videos yet. The Wii games really meet me where I am now, keep me motivated, and help me to keep exercises. On a bad day I really like the boxing game on Wii Play. Just pretend your actually beating the hell out of whoever is stressing you, SO much fun!
So really what it comes down to for me is that in order to feel comfortable on a horse, I have to lose weight. I find that highly motivating, and one of the the keys to weight loss is finding what motivates you. Got my motivation, got my program, let's rock!