Today it has been exactly 3 weeks since I first walked back into the gym. I can't tell you for sure how many times I've visited since that morning on January 6th, but it has to be around 15 or so.
The most amazing thing, so far, is how easy it's been to fit it into my life. Now, instead of killing the couple of hours I have after the kids go to school and before I need to be at work by putzing around on the computer or doing a whole lot of nothing, I go to the gym. This past weekend, when the kids were with Big Daddy, I indulged myself by sitting on my ass and watching the first season of Louie (my newest odd ball crush, by the way) and then surprised the hell out of myself by going to the gym at 6:00 p.m. on a Saturday.
I worry a bit about becoming a little too OCD about it, but I figure if you're going to get nutty about anything, it may as well be working out.
My body is adapting. Long gone are the sore T-rex arms that I experienced after the first week or so (when your arms are stuck in a bent position so you walk around like you have tiny useless dinosaur arms) and the thigh muscles that shake when I walk downstairs. That first day back at the gym, my friends told me to do the Elliptical with them. I did it, but hand to God as I was doing it, everything around me disappeared into black and I saw a tunnel ahead with a light at the end of it. Seriously. I remember gripping the heart rate thingies and it said "198". Which I think is the highest it reads before a big red siren starts going off above you and the staff rushes towards you with the portable defibrillator.
Looking back, getting my flabby heart on a machine and trying to keep up with my friends was kind of stupid. But I did it.
The past week or so I've been increasing the weights on the machines I use, the speed and incline on the treadmill and the length of the workouts. I still look like someone just minutes away from Exploding Head Syndrome when I'm done but I have yet to throw in the towel.
As I told my friend at the gym today, "I have never, ever walked out of here and been sorry that I came."
The physical changes are happening too. I bought a sports bra just a few days before launching my new lifestyle, a 38 DD (dear lord). Today it felt too big when I put it on. I'm not quite out of my size 16 jeans, but this afternoon I slipped on a pair that were fresh out of the dryer and they are loose. Loose enough that I have to pull them up a little bit every now and then.
I think one of my chins is gone, too.
If you've ever struggled with girth, and tried to get into better shape, you know there is nothing so motivating as the first time someone notices that you've dropped some pounds. And I think the most frustrating part of losing weight is that YOU know you're shrinking, but to the outside world you still look the same.
To keep myself positive during these first few weeks, I'm employing a technique that Faith, my wellness coach shared with me. When I'm feeling like all of this work is for nothing, and wondering if all of these hours spent sweating are worth it, I visualize.
I visualize myself putting on the size 16 jeans and realizing that they're too big.
I visualize myself hearing that first random "Hey, have you lost weight?".
I visualize myself wearing my beloved summer uniform of a gray fitted t-shirt and my battered army green capris from the Gap (yes of course I saved them).
Mostly, I visualize myself feeling good. Not worrying about how fat my arms are or whether my muffin top looks as hideous as it feels.
I remember something Dear Abby or Ann Landers once wrote...someone had written in, worrying about whether or not they were too old to go back to college. "I'll be in my 50's when I graduate!" they cried. Ann or Abby replied, "Well, you'll be in your 50's anyway, right?" or something like that.
That's how I'm approaching this whole lifestyle change. Yep, it's only been three weeks, and the results are barely visible. But three weeks would have passed anyway. Three weeks would have gone by whether or not I had made the effort to get to the gym. Soon, these three weeks are going to be six, and then ten, and then twenty.
Baby steps. Sweaty baby steps.
Oh, and as far as changing my diet goes, that's been relatively pain-free. I gave up candy on January 1st and haven't had so much as a Skittle since. Candy and me were close. Real close. Ever since I was little, it was always on my mind, and almost as often in my mouth. It wasn't unusual for me to polish off a bag of licorice in a day (and that's not a little bag I'm talking about), or keep a stash of Starburst in my truck for candy on the go. So I'm proud of myself for not indulging.
I haven't darkened the door at Taco Bell yet this year, in fact the only fast food I've had has been a salad from McDonald's when I was starving. It was the Southwest salad or something and I'm sure it's not considered healthy but I can guarantee you it was better than the Quarter Pounder w/cheese and large fries I would have ordered a month or two ago.
And let me get back to Louie...have you seen it? It's a series on FX or some random channel like that, a series starring brilliant comedian Louis C.K. I watched the first season on Netflix this past weekend and found myself becoming very enamored with the balding ginger Louie. What is it about a guy standing on the stage of a comedy club that makes him hot?? I mean, really, take another one of my odd ball crushes, Jim Gaffigan. If we stood next to each other in line at the bank, nothing. Watching him onstage, talking about Hot Pockets and manatees, schwingg.
Anyhoo. I highly recommend that show if you have a couple hours to blow. Louie has now replaced the Allstate Mayhem guy as my odd ball crush. Mayhem actually looks a little like Big Daddy, anyway (minus the horns, hooves, tail and pitchfork of course) so fantasies about Louie are less psychologically damaging for me.
I'll close with a picture of Louie, remarkably enough he's posing with one of my dopplegangers, Lauren Graham (trust me, when I'm skinny the resemblance is there).
Don't we make a handsome couple?
Now I've just given myself the creeps.
Be well, friends.