So on Day 101 at the Y I was 15 pounds lighter than 101 days previously, I co-taught a Silver Sneakers class and then went to a 60-minute kettle bell demonstration. All in my purple tutu with LED lights (3 speeds).
Lessons learned: A tutu on big hips sticks straight out like a ruffle on a lamb chop or an Elizabethan collar. Also, if the Velcro® straps on your weight gloves tangle with tulle, the tulle is toast. And truth, it does take — for me, anyway — three months and then some to make a healthy new habit. Now, it’s pretty much not IF I’m going to the Y but WHEN.
Also, the people are my YMCA may be the nicest people ever. They’ve been real cheerleaders through these months and great good sports about getting their photos snapped and posted. They’re each a part of the reason I keep walking back through the door.
I’ve tried new stuff — loved some of it (TRX, Zumba, Kettlebells) and not so much loved some (Pound, Body Combat). I won’t lie and say I like Core the way I love Body Pump, but I’ll go back. I’ve also returned to Sprint, the choreographed workout on a stationary bike that burns about 6,000 calories in 30 minutes. (And I stood up on the pedals for the first time ever!) I still think yoga’s the most difficult thing anybody can do with her body, but the very degree of difficulty makes me think I need more of it.
In November I started co-teaching a Silver Sneakers Classic class. In December I was on my own. Trying to remember choreography, the reminders (water, posture, BREATHE!, level of exertion) I must repeat three times in every class and how to mirror the class with left and right, I’ve been so far out of my comfort zone I couldn’t even see it. But every instructor was a beginner once, and, surely, by the time of my first anniversary I’ll have the music figured out!
So one of the Zumba teachers asked me if I were just going to lie in bed for the rest of the winter. Nope, the plan is to hang out at the Y five days a week and take 1-hour walks on the other two, gradually increasing my speed on those walks.
Tonight I’m going back to Body Combat because one of the faculties so many of us lose as we get older (turn into “perennials” — the new term for those of us aging busily) is power. The power to leap and jump and even hop on our legs. So I’m working on that, in particular, in 2018. Cycling and Sprinting and Combating — each is a mega-challenge for my legs and lungs.
And, now that I’ve got squats, I’m working on lunges in Body Pump (choreographed weight work). On New Year’s morning I stood up from a lunge on the floor — first time in more than three years I haven’t held onto something or done a Downward Facing Dog to haul myself upward. That’s actually huge — enough to carry me past shrinking only 1/2 inch around my hips in the last two weeks.
I managed to pack on EIGHT pounds in the great sucking fire swamp known as holiday eating. Amazing. I’ve got rid of all but two, and now I can work, work, work on meeting my Weight Watchers goal weight by April, my two-year anniversary. That will be 57 pounds down in those two years and a whole heck of a lot fitter.
Which actually matters more in the long run that the fat/thinner thing. Everything I read says, Just start. Don’t worry if you’re chubby. Get out of the recliner and do something. The more you do, the better you’ll feel and the more inclined not to abuse your body with bad foods. And, yes, there are plenty of foods that are “bad,” i.e., have no nutritive value whatsoever.
Drink water. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. The more nice things you do to/for yourself, the better care you’ll want to take. Visualize pizzas that you order in or carry out as great sucking fire swamps of high-fat cheese and learn to fix your own with lots and lots of vegetables and just a smidge of really good (flavorful) cheese.
Learn that the only thing keeping you from loving vegetables is your recipe repertoire. Subscribe to Cooking Light magazine and expand that repertoire. Eat breakfast. Start a food and exercise log. Make plans with friends. Make friends.
Stoic the Vast has me reading Paula Poundstone’s new The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness, and she tackles fitness first. After weeks of punishing taekwando workouts, she says her weight’s up a smidge and her back hurts but also that, “I definitely feel stronger, more durable. I have this sense that I’m ready for whatever happens next. Sometimes when I breathe in, I feel as though I’m filling with possibility.” That nails it — not that exercise will magically fix everything or that you’ll feel completely all better all the time, but you will feel more resilient, the value of which cannot be overestimated.
Of course, Poundstone is also spot-on with “I have lost twelve pounds, but I have a bad feeling that my fat has a highly developed homing instinct. When I stop killing myself exercising, I’ll bet it comes back faster than the old dog in ‘The Incredible Journey’.” Yes.
All of these things — don’t eat crap, exercise, drink your water, etc. — work at any age, BTW. I’m 72-1/2. And in our family doctor’s horrifying words, it’s not that you have to keep doing what you’ve been doing as you get older, you need to do more.
Every New Year’s I read Dear Abby’s adaptation of the original Al Anon credo and the one that annually grabs me by the throat is “Just for today: I will do something positive to improve my health.” Not so difficult. Do it. Just for today.
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