This week I rose at 5 am twice and went to the gym. The first time I played around in the weight room and ran a little bit and the second time I took a class.
My butt hurts. My arms vaguely ache. I have more energy. I'm noticing that I make better choices when it comes to food, since working out in the morning sets a nice tone for the day.
Shameful confession: I haven't worked out consistently in more than a year. When I got pregnant I was so freaked out about jostling anything around or shocking my system I actually refused to go to the gym. I wanted to sit and gestate safely from a seated position. Preferably, with a donut. (Man, I ate a LOT of donuts when I was pregnant. It was awesome)
I had Claire in October 2008. I gained about 30 pounds while I was pregnant and by my 6-week appointment after she was born, it was all gone. I was a bit mushy in many places and things had sort of shifted around, but the whole number on the scale was the same it had been.
I felt kind of proud about that. (Especially since I'd done exactly NOTHING to rid myself of those 30 pounds, except give birth.) I was pretty sure that some more weight would MIRACULOUSLY slide off in the upcoming months as I got more active, went back to work and continued to nurse.
Eh, that kind of didn't happen. At all. Nine months after I last stepped on a scale at my OB's office I was a little horrified to see the EXACT SAME NUMBER. I don't own a scale so I'd been waltzing about all those months without a clue as to what I actually weighed. Oh sure, my pants were still kind of tight but I had given away all my clothes and bought new ones, so my point of reference was a bit skewed.
But, back to the gym. If I've learned anything about my weight, eating and exercise habits over the past ten years these two things are constant:
- I like sugar.
- I am incapable of motivating myself to exercise efficiently and effectively on my own. I just can't do it on a long-term basis.
I took a class three mornings a week last August, with a Barbie lookalike trainer that I hated because she is so freaking thin and hot but I loved because she's so nice and freaking GOOD at her job. I remember the first day she told me, "I know it's tough to come back after a baby, but I'll get you there."
Even though I suspect that it took her about 5 hours after her daughter was born to look uh-freaking-mazing again, it's the sentiment that's nice. I would much rather be instructed by a stick-thin woman who has experienced birth, than a 19-year-old trainer who thinks 8 hours of partying is the most exhausted she's ever felt.
I did lose some weight and things tightened up, but then Christmas happened and, well, PIE.
ANYWAY. I HAVE A POINT. SWEAR.
My friend Natalie has always spent more money on food than anyone I know. A long time ago, I thought this was kind of dumb. She was clearly wasting beer money on vegetables.
This was before I discovered locally grown produce, grass fed beef, pesticides, HFCS, the gospel of Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver and the general ickiness that is our industrialized food supply. It was before I had a lot of time on my hands to read the internet. To buy REAL ACTUAL FOOD you almost always have to pay more. Natalie buys real food and never feels bad about it, never apologizes for it and actively seeks it out. And now, I do too.
What I eat impacts EVERYTHING else in my life. My mood, attitude, clarity of thought, ability to fight infection, quality of life and longevity of life. Why on EARTH would I want to routinely put something sub-par in me that will only fill me up, will likely have adverse impact on my body at some point, is certainly nutritionally devoid and only accomplishes the goal of making me feel "full" for the next two hours and will give me a headache later on to boot? I'm not saying I don't eat cheeseburgers (because I DO) but I try to really limit the processed crap to an absolute minimum and that costs money.
So, same thing with the exercise. It's time to spend.
I have this one life and I am eager to get in my hot jeans sooner rather than later. I think a legit-for-real trainer who yells at you Jillian-style costs a couple hundred bucks every few weeks. Would I pay $500 to someone if they could guarantee that in 12 weeks I'd be able to fit into all my pants? YES I WOULD. In this context, it's sort of a no-brainer. (How much does it cost to buy a new wardrobe? Yeah...about the same.)
It amuses me to no end the lengths people will go to and the money they will spend on "easy ways to lose weight." Yet, hiring a trainer or a nutritionist are "too much" in both time and money.
But, wait...How much are people spending on Clif bars and Slim Fast shakes and everything else that makes up the diet culture in America? A lot!
Why do we think that spending money on PEOPLE to help us be healthy is wrong? Why are PRODUCTS the preferred purchase here? I think it has a lot to do with the notion that people want to do it themselves....That it has something to do with will-power, self worth and proving something to yourself and everyone around you.
I long ago realized that some people are experts at what they do and if I have a need for an expert? I'd best find one and pay up if I want the job done right the first time.
Thinking about weight loss and my favorite jeans in this sense...how much would I pay to have my 22-year-old body back? I think I'd pay a couple grand, on the spot, no questions asked if someone told me I could do it in six months and they'd teach me how to eat and yell at me to work out, customized for me, my motivations and weak spots.
I have to get this move over with first, but I see myself spending a lot more time on ME in 2010.