Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘fitness’ Category

Over the years I have tried on numerous occasions to get in shape and lose weight. Each time was a collasal failure due to my tendency to completely overindulge in everything, and my initial overzealousness would end up doing me in right away as I rushed into an intensive boot camp style of exercise combined with overwhelming restrictions on my diet. Often, I would successfully lose 5 pounds and then feel skinny, so I would resume my normal eating habits right away. Then gain 10 pounds. You get the idea.

I would kick off each “diet” the same way. Feeling morose about my appearance, I would head to the grocery store and purchase some kind of glossy fitness magazine. You know, the kind the says “Lose 8 pounds this month!” and “Drop a dress size in 2 weeks!” on the cover. The idea is that simply by purchasing these magazines, you are being proactive about the situation. Then I would fill up my cart with what I perceived to be “health food”: almonds and veggies and brown rice and tofu and organic cheesy poofs. The latter is still cheesy poofs for all intents and purposes, disguised in more subdued packaging and with less Red # 40. Then I would stock my kitchen, eat a measly salad, and head to the gym where I went through the motions on the elliptical trainer for as long as I could possibly stand.

After a few days of this regime I would be extremely weary of being on my “diet”. I would rather hang myself than get on the elliptical trainer, and would head out to the bar, the glossy fitness mag tossed in the recycle bin or stuffed in a corner. Visits to the gym eventually tapered off completely.

Another interesting facet of this process was that I seemed to fail to grasp an important concept- eating in moderation. I assumed incorrectly that since I was eating organic cheesy poofs and almonds, that I could eat as much as possible and it wouldn’t “count”. I also gave myself a free pass to eat whatever I wanted each time I successfully completed a workout. Case in point: yoga class. For nearly a year, I attended a yoga class with my good friend Beth. Immediatly after the class, we would head across the street to a thai restaurant and consume a giant vat of Pad Thai. Then we would move our little party next door to the bar, where I would drink 5 beers. It didn’t matter, because I had “worked out”. Never mind that hatha yoga practically burns the same amount of calories as sleeping! The end result was that I became fatter and more flexible. Awesome.

An especially fond weight loss memory of mine is when I was in my mid 20’s and having just moved to a new city, was spending a lot of evenings drinking beer and socializing with new friends. I must’ve been consuming a ridiculous amount of beer throughout my escapades around town, because when I decided to switch to light beer, I lost 5 pounds within a few months with no other dietary changes. If you think about it, it makes sense, if I drank 5 beers a night, that was a caloric savings of 250 calories/day. Since you need to cut out 3500 to lose a pound- I would lose about a pound every 15 days with this “diet”.

So I’m not really sure what happened. I don’t know what clicked in my brain that suddenly gripped me with the desire to get in shape. I don’t know how I managed to educate myself about portion control. I’m still not sure how all that weight came off and who this person is that I see in the mirror lately. But here I am, thirty years of age and completely addicted to exercise.

I am so addicted to exercise, that I work out six days a week, sometimes seven. I still go to yoga class, but I also go to spin class, strength training class, play on a soccer team, play tennis, swim a mile at least once a week, run, attend pilates at 6:30 in the morning. I still buy the glossy fitness magazines, but now I actually do the suggested workouts listed inside. I can do regular push ups like a man. I can hold side plank for several minutes without collapsing. I will run 5 miles during my lunch break at work, and horseback ride bareback all evening. I treat my body like I am in boot camp. If I am hungover, I force myself to run in the hot sun and sweat out the booze. It’s as if I am a college hockey player caught drinking too much the night before, and I am also my own coach who makes me run the morning after. I answer to myself, and only myself, and somehow myself keeps insisting that I keep up this regimen. And keep it up I have, for nearly 2 years now. I am gripped by a terrifying and irrational fear that if I miss one workout, that will be it for me and all those pounds will return instantly.

I’m not trying to pat myself on the back here, I am just completely amazed by my self discipline. Every now and then it strikes me. I wonder, how long can I possibly keep this up? My new muscles are demanding. They want attention, all the time. And I can’t believe I spent the good part of my 20’s, when my youth was all aglow, overweight and sucking down way too many microbrews. Hey, better late than never.

Read Full Post »