Well, it has happened: I have begun the official 9 Week Angels Demons Challenge at the gym this morning! I cannot believe that fear didn’t overtake me and cause me to run for my life. It could have … but it did not. I am far too tenacious to give up dear friends. Or perhaps I am just a stubborn old woman who doesn’t want to give in very easily just because she is in her late sixties?
Whatever the reason, I turned up for the weigh in at 9.30am with my gym buddy Pat and not knowing what would happen to us next. What would I do without Pat? Faithful friend and member of the family by marriage; always there to encourage or just share the journey.
It turns out I have lost 1 kg since I began at the gym four weeks ago. Now that’s the good news … do you want the bad news? The bad news is that I failed at some of the exercises which indicated how fit I was! But then again, I knew this would happen and it was the reason I was there in the first place.
When Pat and I arrived, a lady came up to us and said “Oh thank goodness there are some women doing this Challenge who are MY age!” We laughed. Oh, so we look like old dears do we? She went on to say that she was told: if the mother of one of the gym owners (me) could do the Challenge so too could she … as she is the same age as me.
I felt myself growing to 10 ft tall as she spoke! It turns out that Pat and I are “Legends.”
‘Legends’ for having a go … for trying in our older age to become stronger instead of weaker. And it became apparent as I did the test exercises to determine my fitness that it would take a lot of work for me to become stronger! Pat seemed to be able to do push-ups and ‘burpees’ whereas I couldn’t even manage to raise myself one iota. In the end, the personal trainer Cathy, said to me: “Theresa, come with me, you will need some special care.”
And dear friends, that’s when it all got too much and I cried.
Someone had understood and had taken me aside to do some special exercises to help me move to where all these other people already were. With her help, I was able to complete different tasks; ones that were more suited to someone who’d had chronic fatigue and was recovering from it, like I was. How blessed I felt.
Another time, Cathy took us to get our photo taken for the Challenge. She gave us the option to leave our tops on or take them off so you could see the folds of fat underneath … and so we could also compare ourselves in nine weeks time. I said I would keep mine on (I was feeling rather old and a little embarrassed) when my courage rose up and I said “No, I want to be able to SEE the difference” and promptly took off my shirt which left me with my (nice ample) bra on! Pat also obliged.
I couldn’t however, resist a cheeky remark to Cathy: “Well, I never thought I would be posing semi-naked in front of a young boy photographer when I signed up for this. Who do I complain to?” And with that, we all fell about laughing.
Who thought that subjecting yourself to torture could result in this much fun?
Another time, a rather tall man came up to me and said “hello there”. I looked at him and said “Do I know you?” He laughed and as he did I realised he was Pat’s pastor from her church … someone I know quite well. “Oh Pastor Mark, I didn’t recognise you out of your official pastor clothes! But then again, I just had my photo taken in my bra and gym pants, so I can’t talk about how anyone else looks!”
Yes, it was rather a topsy-turvy morning dear friends … but oh, how pleased I felt with myself as we completed the 11am Nutrition Seminar to officially finish the first day of our 9 Week Angels Demons Challenge. What a challenging time it had been!
It had been a morning of fear … and of laughter … and of tears … and just occasionally I’d had a glimmer of hope that I would be able to lose weight, get fit and strong and therefore go into my older age with a lot more courage. I have made a commitment to the younger generation of my family to do the best I can, to stay healthy, get fit and have the energy to journey with them for as long as God gives me strength to do so.
I have a feeling that today I have had the Angels … not the Demons, sitting on my shoulder reassuring me that I can do it. Hard work perhaps, but not impossible. And, as I get up and walk with sore limbs and aching body to go and get my dinner ready, I feel most grateful that I survived the ordeal!
Also a special thanks to Cathy, who appeared like a Guardian Angel from heaven and treated me with so much gentleness and understanding, that it made me cry.