Monday, September 6, 2010


My recipe for success. Your results may vary. Especially if you can't handle Lady Gaga.

Last week I was really proud of myself. I was up to 14 pounds lost. I was way ahead of schedule. Then, over the past few days, I gained a pound.

Talk about wreaking havoc…

It was driving me crazy, until J pointed out the obvious. More on that in a minute.

I think the best thing that has happened to me, thus far, is the fact that I am feeling stronger. I don’t mean in an emotional sense—I actually mean I feel physically stronger. Yes, of course my main goal is to lose weight and feel healthier, but I also wanted to be stronger.

When I was a kid I was lean and strong. By the time I was a teenager, all those years of bike riding and softball and volleyball and dance and weightlifting (if you played sports, you got to take weightlifting instead of gym) had worked their magic. I could bench press my weight. I could free squat more than three times my weight. I could take extra ballet/pointe practice for about four hours each Saturday morning without losing my breath, and then go home and eat a quart of ice cream. I had a vertical jump that, well, was at least impressive to my short self.

After I had Kyle, I lost some of that strength, but that was okay. I could still hold my own. I could climb three flights of stairs without a change in my breathing. I could keep up in my dance classes. I could run around chasing after my kid, no problem.

But after the quasi-emergency c-section with Ant, and a rather nasty car wreck on the highway a few months later (never fun when a semi hits you) and grad school (oh, the grad school! Oh, the continuous sitting on your butt in class or reading or writing papers!), well, I was not in optimal shape.

And then I go out and get a full time job and sooner or later the natives are going to demand chicken nuggets for dinner, and I was always stressed out and….

I felt like crap. I hated stairs or walking across campus. I hated feeling weak—and my core muscles in my stomach have always felt weak after carrying around nearly 11 pounds of baby and then having to have him cut out of me.

So part of the project here was to get my muscles back in shape and feel stronger.

Seriously, for a moment: Want to feel stronger? Do ballet barre exercises. Yeah, it looks easy—especially if they do it right. That’s the point of ballet! Glide around a stage and make it look as if your feet are not touching the ground. And make it look easy!!! But try doing a grand plie, even while holding on to a chair or a dresser, and tell me that you won’t feel that the next morning.

So part of me really wants to get stronger. Have I mentioned that? I don’t expect to be like I was back in high school (you CAN have too little body fat). I just want to feel as if I can take my children to safety and fight for our survival if aliens were to attack the earth while my husband was on a business trip trying to make his way back home to us.

Yes, I’ve had that exact nightmare before. Nothing to inspire you to exercise than the realization that you are going to keep having that recurring dream until your subconscious feels strong enough to kick some alien ass.

But first things first, right? I had to be able to make it through some of these workouts without dying before I could dream about becoming stronger.

It can be a really great feeling when you’ve done a workout enough times to notice that you don’t feel like dying anymore. Yeah, you still break a sweat and you can tell your working your butt off, but it becomes enjoyable and you don’t sit on the couch for 30 minutes afterwards wondering if you are going to die.

Then again, when you start to have that good feeling, it’s time to add more strenuous activity.

FYI- I am exaggerating. You should never work out to the point that you feel like you’re going to die. It’s a metaphor. Kind of.

So, I decided that it was time for some weights. Small weights. Nowhere near what I used to be able to do.

The achy muscle, “Holy crap this is hard” feeling came back.

And that brings us back to the extra pound. Which I was fretting over, horribly. Which made no sense. I had not cheated. I had not fudged.

But, maybe, as my ever-loving husband pointed out, I had gained some muscle mass.


So, the moral of this story, kids, is that I, personally, was getting too caught up in the numbers, even though I had warned myself not to. Less numbers. More of gauging how I feel. That’s the ticket!

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