Back from the gym. Because, man, I’m to trying to get my life together.
When I say “life” I mostly mean going a diet, and when I say “together” I mean sticking to a diet. I’m talking about eating healthier, drinking a lot of (and only) water, cutting out sugar, and more than anything exercising. Because when I was younger, I was pretty active and energetic. I loved dancing more than anything and though I wouldn’t consider myself an athlete I also loved playing tennis, volleyball, and soccer. I was actually pretty damn good at tennis, but a few years ago I sprained my ankle and now it looks like a falling stack of Jenga blocks down there.
At some point though, as I became a teenager I got kind of lazy, not because I didn’t love being active. Because, it’s true that if your life is a sad, depressing mess, a good solid 9 times out of 10 your ass will be too. And if you’re one of those lovely but sensitive-ass people who keeps their feelings bottled up inside it’ll also mean that 10 times out of 10 you’re going to eat your feelings.
So, I’ve always been aware of how important the presence of a good clean diet and exercise is to my life. Hell, without it, I’d no doubt be several hundred pounds and living in my bed, or worse, I’d be sleeping in the eternal life bed well before my time. The thing that’s also kept me in check has been my food allergies in particular to gluten and GMO anything. I swear, it seems that every time I go food shopping a good 99% of the food on shelves is processed and smacked together with corn syrup and enriched flour. If these produce farms packed a bag of apples the way Nabisco packages its Mystery Flavor Oreos… Nah, sike. Don’t nobody want them fucking apples.
If I recall, I think I was around eighteen the first time I joined a gym. I joined a little shoddy but well-known boxing gym in my area because it was cheap, accepted cash, and was within walking distance of my apartment. Man, I loved it. I would go in the mornings before work or class because it was always empty saved for this one Hispanic guy who was a lightweight champion and, if he wasn’t training, would always stick to the weights and the bench. I spent a good solid six days a week for three months working out consistently, and by the end of the summer I lost over twenty pounds without going on a strict diet. At some point, I stopped going because of dysfunctional bullshit responsibilities at home, school, work, and I was so wonked out by all the things I had going on…
But no, in reality; you really need to be in a good emotional place if you want to fix your life.
I would bet that the reason why most people fail with keeping weight off is that they’re not dealing with stress. And, if you’re prone to eating your feelings, 10 times out of 10, all of the work you put in at the gym will be useless. And this on top of all of these restriction diets can kind of do you in. Because, if you’re omitting the food that you’re used to turning to when you’re stressed (i.e.) comforting eating, on your cheat day you’re just going to binge on that stuff like it’s the last thing you’ll ever eat. And you’re going to feel like shit, in more ways than one.
After a few years of starts and stops, I restarted this summer. Instead of going through the usual rigmarole of cardio and aerobics classes, I decided to get into weight lifting. I mean, don’t get me wrong, cardio and aerobics are badass. They’re great for toning, and without them, I’d look like Jabba the Hut in a one-piece.
But, at the same time, all I ever did was rely on cardio, and I never knew how much of a complete fail that is if you’re trying to lose weight and get into shape.
Dude, that first weightlifting session when you’ve never ever done one is fucking BRUTAL. I wasn’t exactly a stranger to weights, but I was always afraid to lift heavy for fear that I might bulk up or hurt myself. I also worried about looking stupid. Because, you know what I’m talking about; that image of the weak-ass noob struggling to lift twenty pound dumbbells, knees wobbling, legs shaking, face so red with struggle that he/she looks like you’re going to shit your internal organs (No one wants to be this person, girl or guy).
Being that I was nervous about lifting, I asked around to people who were knowledgeable and I as given some good advice.
“Fill your iPod with podcasts and music so you never get bored.”
“Start out doing one set of, like three reps. If you feel comfortable, increase it to three times five.”
“For the first week, try setting a time limit. Ten minutes the first two weeks, fifteen the next two, and so on.”
Because you have to ask questions! You can even ask a trainer or receptionist at the gym. You’d be surprised at how cool people are when they see that you’re making an effort. Believe me, they’ll be more impressed that you’ve gotten your fat ass in there with a plan than if you’re some asshole holding the bench playing games on your cellphone.
But, so far, I’m really digging this new way of working out, of approaching exercise. I like how much stamina I have, and people have taught me to be less focused on the scale and to pay attention to how good I feel, and most importantly, my progress. Because, when I returned to the gym after many, many, MANY years, I felt like hell crap for so many days I considered going to the hospital. But, the day I was able to do a plank for a full minute, I felt like I could fist fight Superman. When I’m able to increase the intensity of my workouts without restrictions, like, when I can go on the elliptical for an hour instead of 30 minutes or I can lift heavy at ten sets of ten reps, I feel great. I know I’ve got this.
As time goes on, I’m looking forward to the initial weight loss, but I’m also looking at it from the perspective that I’m growing stronger, looking better, feeling better, and it’s hard to fail when you’ve got all of that in your lap. So yeah, this means I came a long way from the girl who couldn’t do a squat without falling over or who collapsed in a wheezing, sweaty pile after ten minutes of hard running in place. Compared to that, no doubt I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been.
Still, I’m not throwing out my fat girl clothes just yet. I still have to make it through the mine field that is the holidays.
And Talenti Pumpkin Pie Gelato.
Did you know that was a thing?
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