If you’ve never tried to get smaller or fitter, you don’t know what a challenge this is. Not a floating-in-the-Mediterranean-with-no-life-jackets challenge, but difficult. Not a drug or alcohol rehab challenge but difficult.
The advantage I have over the re-habbers is that the harder I work, the better I feel. I don’t think that happens as quickly for other abusers as it does for those of us whose heroin is sugar. And since all of us junkies are into instant gratification, none of us wants to wait weeks or months to be stronger, happier, slimmer, peppier, bendier.
None of us wants to think that this is forever. We want to simply hit a goal and be able to say, “There. Now I can eat all the Girl Scout cookies in the freezer.” (Maybe the hardest part of adulting: There is no ‘there’ there.”)
But, oh, the rewards to sticking it out! Not just the clothes I can squiggle into or the smaller measurements, but bending over and feeling my hip flexors and hamstrings stretch as they should. Making it all the way through my first zumba class, my first spinning class, at the age of 71. Hearing the Weight Watchers clerks say, “Good job” before I know what that weekly number is. Cheering on others, just starting to make over themselves at whatever age. Telling those others they need to try Pilates — it’s really such a wonderful, relaxing workout and you do what you can do. No need to be Simone Biles or Michael Phelps.
Bill Murray has been quoted on Facebook as saying that every Olympic event should include an ordinary person for comparison. Imagine, for example, that instead of that imaginary line in every swim race (what the heck was that anyway?) there was a little cartoon of me, still hanging on the wall, fiddling with my goggles when the athletes had already finished their race.
What I do share with these demigods, though, is an ability to reach within myself and push (without which, I don’t think you get fitter or smaller). That seems to be a problem for so many people in their 60s or 70s. I met someone last week who was just diagnosed with diabetes and says, “I’m 62. What can I do?” (Answer: Probably plenty.)
Last week I decided to commit to 30 minutes of cardio six days a week, no matter what else I’m doing those days. That means this morning, for instance, I was at the Y doing a tough half hour on the octane machine before I went to 60 minutes of yoga. I’m not much good afterward, but endurance will come especially if I’m careful to only add one new thing or up my times every 3 weeks.
Right now I can reach and find more physically. I’m still working on the ability to tell my inner “hungry” child that something chocolate isn’t really going to nourish her.
But I think it will come. I want this to be my last time re-starting Weight Watchers. I am going to learn to live with 2- and 3-hour stretches with no noshing, with the small portions that are reasonable for an adult who is, as they say in the horse world, an “easy keeper.”
And this week I’m having fun with the adult version of build-a-bear, which, of course, is build-a-better-breakfast-in-your-blender (or juicer or whatever appliance you choose). This morning I combined an aged banana, a fistful each of fresh, sweet cherries and frozen strawberries, 1 tablespoon flax seeds, 3/4 cup whole milk yogurt (Trader Joe’s, Stonyfield and Cabot’s all have one), 1/4 avocado and 3 large leaves of romaine.
The yogurt and the avocado make it as smooth as any milkshake you’ve ever enjoyed; the lettuce merely adds a taste of green. It’s really good and lasts me all the way through spin class. And it has only 8 Weight Watchers points, not quite one-third of my daily points which is just what breakfast should be.