Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Get in Shape, Girl

I don't know if I've ever had a point in my life when I wasn't obsessed with losing weight or making my body better. I remember in first grade, at the height of 80's aerobics mania, I had a pair of leg warmers and a ballet barre attached to my closet door and I would pretend 'work out' when playing house. I didn't think I was fat, it was just what everyone on TV, etc. was doing. Later, in 4th grade, I actually did start to get chubby and people started to comment on it so I decided to do something about it. That's when I came up with my first ingenious diet plan. Not only would I walk the track every day at recess, but I filled a baggie full of my mom's powdered Slimfast mix and I planned on mixing it with my milk every day at lunch, if anyone asked I would just say I was making "chocolate milk." Yummy. This plan was quickly abandoned when I discovered that Slimfast tasted like dirty ditch water and the swings were much more fun than walking that boring old track. We all know that the story for girls doesn't get better from there. In middle school I made the Cheerleading team and I wanted nothing more to be a "flyer" rather than my sturdy self as a "base." I tried to give up anything that wasn't low-fat and often snacked on tablespoons full of honey. Nobody explained calories to me apparently. High School was a dream (i.e. nightmare) in which I would only eat salad for lunch, but I would skip lunch entirely if the salad was made of shredded lettuce or they didn't serve the right kind of dressing, mostly because I enjoyed being a total pain in the ass. In college I was actually kinda skinny for the first time in my life, only because I couldn't afford to eat. When I got my first real job I finally had enough money to join a gym and I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a personal trainer. Of course sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day with all the free soda and high stress and abundant snacks that I could handle took its toll on me and I steadily gained 10 lbs a year for the entire 5 years I was there. Then I got pregnant. I am pretty sure that the McDonald's corporation still owes me dividends from my first pregnancy because I single-handedly kept them afloat during that 'great recession' as their plain cheeseburgers were the only thing I wanted to eat. There was one day when I went through the drive through at breakfast and then the same one at lunch and the same guy was at the window and we both knew I had a problem. Of course after having the baby breastfeeding sort of helps you lose weight but not as much as you would think. I still had a significant amount of weight to lose when I got pregnant again and that leads me to now. It's spring, my doctor says it's cool to exercise and I can't pass a MickyDee's without a grimace and feeling like I'm going to vomit. So now I'm committing myself to getting into shape and actually eating right, and I hope that I am at time and place in my life that I'm not a total idiot about it. I'm less than a week into my latest 'plan' and I can't help but feel like the universe is conspiring against me.

Eating right.

One thing that I am trying to focus on is eating healthy grains and proteins so the other day I decided to whip up a batch of homemade granola. I was already feeling healthier as I mixed up a cocktail of nuts and fruits and oats and flax seeds that would make Doctor Oz weep with joy. Everything was going pretty well until it was time to take the tray out of the oven, and I forgot just how giant my belly still is and pulled the red hot pan right into my stomach resulting in what I am sure is a second degree burn. Thanks oven, you win this round. At least the scar will blend in with my stretch marks.

Strength Training.

Two c-sections in two years have left my abdominal muscles in a state that resembles over-cooked spaghetti so part of my plan is a daily ab workout. I figured I could do this while my newborn slept and my toddler was quietly playing in his play kitchen. My workout included using an exercise ball which I immediately realized was a mistake with a two-year-old in the room. Once mommy starts playing with a 'big bubble' then it becomes the most interesting toy in the world. After he took it away from me several times I decided to do an exercise where I was physically sitting on the ball so that he couldn't get to it. This just incited a tantrum that I was not in the mood to handle so ended up moving the ball to another room. If we can't share the ball, nobody can play with it. I was then relegated to floor-only exercises and I got about 10 crunches in when kiddo decided to make me 'coffee' and came over and dropped his toy coffee maker directly on my face. It hurt but I was determined to keep going while my left eye teared up and started to swell, then my concerned dog came over to fix my injury and started to lick my face. I was no longer feeling patient and shouted at her to go away, which of course woke up the baby who woke up realizing she was REALLY hungry so I had to stop what I was doing to feed her and by the time I was done it was time to make dinner and the workout was abandoned.


I know that the best way to burn calories and excess fat is to get running and I've always been sort of ok at running, mostly because I was always in trouble during my cheerleading years and running was always the punishment, and for some reason it stuck with me. Notably, I am a perpetual tortoise and I will always get my butt kicked by all the long-legged hares out there in any test of speed, but once I get going I can run and run for miles. Or so I thought. I used to be able to do a pretty decent mile in under ten minutes and I figured that with the excess weight, the lack of muscles and training that I would be around 12 minutes a mile, which I was ok with. I downloaded a running app on my iPhone, woke up before my kids and put on my running shoes, which were now way too small but I wasn't deterred, and I hit the road. I was out, the air was fresh, and even though I was jiggly in a way that I didn't know was possible, I felt great. About 2 minutes into my run I was huffing and puffing but I came up on a group of middle schoolers waiting for the bus and I didn't want to look stupid in front of them so I ran faster. Now my lungs felt like they were going to explode but I was going to keep going! I looked at my phone, 5 minutes into the run, it was ok to slow my pace. Only 7 more minutes til I hit a mile! I passed an old guy and tried to smile at him, and he yelled at me to put on a jacket. I was now wheezing, my face was red and covered in sweat and I started to run with weird gait because my shoes were too small and my feet were killing me. It became pretty apparent that every car that passed thought I was a psycho who needed a jacket and I'm surprised nobody called the police (or an ambulance.) But I kept going. Finally, finally I hit the first mile. Triumphant, I looked at my phone and was dismayed to see that it took me 15 minutes to run that first mile. 15 minutes. I'm sure my grandma can run faster than that. I could have walked a mile faster than that. I decided to turn around and run home, making it a solid two mile run. I got about a quarter into that second mile and my legs said 'no more' and I had to walk. So now I was crazy-sweaty-red-faced-jacketless walker lady. It's one thing to look crazy running, quite another to look the same walking, now I looked like a serial killer. I went home, and did pretty much the same thing the next day, and I'm getting a little better everyday.

So here I am, tired, sore and trying to get both my kids down for a nap at the same time so I can get an ab workout in, but if it doesn't happen there is always tomorrow and eventually I'll invest in a jacket/bigger shoes.


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