My achy heart has given me achy legs.
I’m a comfort eater, and for a few months I ate my way through my grief over losing Hugo. During the worst of my sorrow I didn’t go out much either, preferring the safe sanctuary of my home.
You might think I am entitled to comfort eating and hiding away at home. To an extent, yes. A couple of weeks ago, however, I realised the consolatory cake and lack of exercise were taking their toll on my body. My clothes felt tight and I also felt uncomfortable in my own skin.
It’s not just about outward vanity, though. While even the world’s cleverest experts don’t know what causes pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome, evidence suggests women who have suffered from these conditions are at a greater risk of getting hypertensive and cardiovascular diseases in later life. Being overweight and unfit will increase this risk still further.
There is nothing like a brush with death to give you a zest for life. Having one life-threatening disease is quite enough for me. Because of those illnesses, I reflect I am blessed to be healthy and have no enduring physical effects, and I would like that healthiness to continue. I am in no hurry to repeat that two-week hospital stay being poked, prodded, lines inserted, blood withdrawn, blood replaced, and a range of medications – if it is possible to avoid it.
All my blood results are now normal. My blood pressure thankfully returned to normal just a couple of weeks after Hugo was born and I was able to come off the medication. Since then, despite all the stresses of the past few months, my blood pressure has remained at its regular low reading.
But I know I cannot be complacent.
So, off to the gym I have gone. It’s been a shock to the system, hence the achy legs. I am trying to progress slowly, and am already seeing an improvement in my fitness and in how I am feeling in my body.
The achiness in my legs is kind of a satisfying feeling, in a funny way – provided I don’t sit down for too long or have to climb too many stairs, that is.
When I had that epiphany a couple of weeks ago, I had to face up to the fact that if I continued on the path of too much eating and too little exercise I would just get bigger and bigger. Weight doesn’t disappear overnight (sadly), it takes hard work (shame) and gets more difficult to shift as you get older (groan).
I’ve no intention of becoming a gym bunny. I’ve also no intention of giving up the cake, chocolate, or wine. Life’s too short to obsess about anything, or to not enjoy a little bit of what you fancy.
For me, it’s about becoming a bit fitter and healthier. A couple of years ago, I achieved a kind of peace (or at least a truce) with my natural body shape – that is, short and curvy. I want to get back to the place where, this time last year, I felt as happy with my body as any woman can reasonably expect to feel when they look in the mirror.
I also feel like I owe it to Hugo to make the most of my life. To make that life as long, healthy and happy as it is possible to be. Not every disease is avoidable, but I can help myself in a small way by doing things that are within my control.
The achiness in my legs will subside as they get used to the exercise. The achiness in my heart, that part where Hugo is, will remain forever, though.