Thursday, March 3, 2011

I sound like a Mac lover, except with exercise

Do you know the surest way to drop a pants size? Go out to Savers, dig through every single rack of pants in your size until you come up with six pairs of pants that might not be horrible. Try them on. Discover two that are more than okay. Two pairs of pants that you love and that kind of fit (I have given up EVER finding pants that fit perfectly, without getting them tailored).

Buy said pants.

Go home.

Wait three days.

Voila! You have dropped a pants size.

This is strange because my weight hasn't budged since the trip back to Wisconsin (where I lost ANOTHER pound, during a weekend spent sitting and eating and exercising only once).

So it must be the newfound happiness with pants that I don't hate. I am not allowed to have clothing that I love.

Speaking of which! I don't really care for ellipticalling. It's my least hated of all cardio-type exercises. I love things like soccer (I'm so terrible at it, but I love it), and hiking. But I have a crunchy knee (yes, I DO know I need to see a doctor, thank you; I am weirdly averse to it because I'm so afraid I'll be told I need to have surgery NOW, and there goes my getting back in shape, which I know is really stupid, but I'm working on it), so I have to be very, very careful what I do with it.

Every time I've gotten into this exercise thing, I've pivoted wrong while cleaning house, or picked up one of the girls a little too vigorously, or jumped off a chair in a fit of youthful exuberance and idiocy. Then, BAM! no more walking, much less exercising for a week or two. It's quite discouraging.

Anyway, until I get my knee fixed, I'm stuck with low-impact machine exercise. If I don't look utterly horrifying in a swimsuit by summer, I may try the apartment pool out, but it looks too small to do anything useful, and I'm too cheap to go anywhere. Maybe once we sell our house, that will free up a few hundred a months, and I'll get back into swimming. I'd really like that. I went for a bit while I was pregnant with Emmy, but it was too hard to breathe.

Despite me not caring for the ellipticalling, this time is going much better. I'm more motivated, more into it. I dread the idea of getting on and running for forty minutes, but once I'm on, I don't have an off switch. Maybe that's the reason I dread it; I approach it much the same way I used to approach housework--tell myself I'll take it easy and chip away little by little, then once I get started, I nearly overdo it.

So, last night I ran 4.6 miles in 40 minutes on level 3 (out of 10). This is amazing to me. Just after we got the elliptical, I ran at least 30 minutes every single day for six weeks. I didn't get anywhere near that distance, stamina, or level. Not even close. So it must be the weightlifting.

I hate to sound like a weight-loss evangelist, but seriously, weightlifting is magical. MAGICAL. My weight might not have budged, but I see muscles now! I have triceps and the beginnings of defined abs (at the very top, near my ribs; the rest is hidden... but I'll take it!). And I enjoy it. After a run, I feel good, and it definitely gives me a boost for the next day. But after lifting, I'm practically euphoric.

I put off getting in there for far too long. They're all gonna laugh at you! kept ringing in my head. Guess what! Nobody cares! I still feel self-conscious, especially at the bench press, but I'm getting over. It's rare that anyone is in there, since I go at night, but when there is, well, I have yet to see anyone follow me around and take notes on the weakness of my chest muscles.

I never would have started if we didn't have a free weight room 50 feet from our door. But now, if we ever move, the first thing I am doing is getting a gym membership. Even if it means I have to go without fabulous makeup. Or electricity.

Weightlifting might not be the magical thing for everyone that it is for me, but if you've struggled to get back in shape, I highly recommend just trying it for a few weeks.

I'm not even doing it to slim down anymore; I'm doing it because it's fun, and because I feel strong, and because it makes me feel good. Try it, if it's possible!

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