Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all fitness blogger or anything, I promise.
So it has occurred to me over the past few months that I’m getting fat. Not in that stupid “OMG I weigh six ounces” kind of way, but actually overweight, with a BMI less than a point from the obese (!) category. Last week I realized – again – that I need to lose weight and get in shape. Two things caused this epiphany: (1) I put on the new, bigger jeans I just bought a few months ago and they were uncomfortable, and (2) I was out of breath after walking down the basement stairs.
Now before you start thinking I look like Violet Beauregarde after she chewed the gum, let me defend myself a little. I’m actually not enormous (though you wouldn’t know it to hear me whine). But because I’m really short (5’1″ if I stand up really straight), a size 8 or 10 looks way worse on me than it would on someone who is 5’7″.
This is the problem: Until my son was probably 7 or 8 years old, I wore a size zero and never worried about what I ate or how much exercise I got. Yeah, I know. I hate my former self, too. Then I finished grad school and started working. I quickly learned all about the joys of stress snacking, long hours at a desk, and eating what was convenient instead of real food. And now I’m a good 35 pounds heavier than I should be.
No More Excuses
I’ve spent a lot of years making excuses for my weight gain. I convinced myself that I shouldn’t have to exercise because I’m not one of those people who gets fat. In other words, I’ve still been thinking of myself as a 100-pound woman even though it’s been about 6 years (and 55 pounds) since I last saw her.
When I quit my job in December 2011, I honestly thought I was going to lose weight simply because I wouldn’t be eating out for lunch every day. Never mind the fact that I now spend 17 hours a day parked at my desk (and wandering into the kitchen periodically). I envisioned the pounds just melting away, like liposuction but cheaper, just because I had less stress in my life.
Well, guess what? Self-employed people aren’t immune to stress. And fat is really stubborn – you can’t get rid of it with positive thinking. My love of yoga pants has increased tremendously now that they’re the only pants I can find that fit.
I spent some time last week choosing a form of exercise that I might actually do. As someone who has never exercised on purpose, it’s not like I know a lot about fitness or weight loss. I only like activities that don’t seem like exercise – for instance, I’d jump at the chance to go play softball, but the thought of walking on a treadmill makes me want to stab myself.
These were my rules for starting an exercise routine:
- No going to the gym. I live in a very small town and our gym is like standing in a display case. There’s no way I’m going to pay money for people I know to gossip about my weight gain and lack of stamina.
- No equipment. I had an elliptical machine once and I used it as a laundry storage center. Enough said.
- At least semi-fun. If I’m going to stick with it, it has to entertain me a little.
- Something I can do in an hour. I still have to work, so I’m only willing to devote an hour a day to exercise.
After much debate, I ordered a set of Zumba DVDs. I didn’t want to because it seems like everyone in the world gushes about Zumba, but after seeing a friend’s before and after pics I figured I had nothing to lose. (Oh, except a bunch of extra pounds and inches.) And I love to dance so I hoped it would be a good fit for me.
Day 1: Not a Total Disaster
Yesterday after I took Jayden to school, I weighed myself and measured my waist. I won’t even talk about the trauma of measuring. I also took some “before” pictures that I won’t be sharing because they’re disgusting.
I started with the beginner Zumba video. I had watched some of it the night before and thought to myself, I should probably skip that one since it’s so easy, but I’ll do it at least once to learn all the steps.
Um, yeah. I made it through 40 minutes before the urge to vomit overcame my desire to lose weight. I had to take a nap to recover from the assault on my body. As I’m writing this nearly 24 hours later, I STILL don’t feel too steady on my feet and I absolutely dread doing it again today. For the record, I’ll be sticking to the beginner video until I can do it without feeling like I need an oxygen tank afterward.
Why I’m Telling You This
I originally planned to keep the whole exercise thing to myself. As I said, I’m not going to start writing about diet and exercise all the time and you will never ever catch me singing the praises of working out. I still hate exercise – I just hate feeling like a blob even more.
But one thing I’ve realized after blogging here for two years is that it’s really hard to quit doing something once a bunch of people know about it. I have an irrational fear of someone asking, “So how’s Zumba going?” and having to say, “Oh, I haven’t done it since the first day/week/month.” So I’m depending on you guys to hold me accountable and make me feel like crap if I start slacking.
A little less than 2 months from now, I’ll be going on vacation for the first time in forever. Hopefully by the time I board the plane, I’ll be able to wear clothes that don’t feature an elastic waistband.
Any of you exercise-friendly peeps have tips for me? Things I should do or not do? I’d love to make it through this experience without keeling over and/or injuring myself if possible.