I don’t mean to harp on this, but this one area of change in my life is so remarkable to me that every time I experience it, I marvel.
Not the pounds lost, although I’m certainly not making light of the amazing progress. It’s the second time in my life that I’ve lost 100 pounds, but with a major difference. This time, I’m not going to regain those pounds. Ever.
The change I’m talking about is my willingness to exercise. I feel like this time I am really taking this change in habit to heart, internalizing it and making it an important part of my life. This is new for me.
A few years ago, someone opened up a Curves in town. I joined and enjoyed the routine for about a year. At first I regularly went three days a week. Gradually, that slipped to “three times a week unless something comes up and then I’ll go two times”. Eventually, I only sporadically dropped in although I continued to pay the $40 monthly fee. The enjoyment and anticipation with which I started didn’t last long.
I know it’s only been a couple of months, but my mindset and attitude really are different. I’m so enjoying the fact that I can freely move without gasping for air or a myriad of aches and pains, that I eagerly look forward to exercise. There are days and situations that I would normally have used as an excuse to skip the physical activity. Now I find a way to do something — anything — even if I’m tired or get home late.
Tonight I was supposed to go to a meeting right after work and wouldn’t have gotten home until after 6:30. By that time, I’d be hungry and not want to postpone eating until after a workout. When I found out around 3:00 p.m. that the meeting was postponed, my first thought was, “Hey. I can get home and do watercise!” No lie. It was my first happy thought!
As soon as I arrived home, I let out Nat and Pyxi and fed them. Then I changed into a suit, grabbed my music and slipped into the pool. I’ve pulled about two hours of up tempo songs into a Watercise playlist. I set the timer on my iPhone for 45 minutes and got moving. Through a couple of Springsteen songs, a Jon Bon Jovi duet, and Adele singing about rumors, I enjoyed my own energy and the movement of my body in the water. Starting with a bouncy song by the Glee cast and seguing into I’m a Believer, I veered from jogging, squats and leg kicks into freestyle water dancing.
Anything resembling choreography was envisioned only in my head. My dance steps were totally random, mixing the twist, the pony, a little hip hop, some hopping without the hip, and some moves I learned in Zumba. My legs kicked, my arms waved above and below the water’s surface, my waist twisted. I flexed and worked all of my muscles.
In mid-chorus of The Monkees, I realized that I was exercising other important muscles — the ones that work my smile. I was having so much fun that I couldn’t stop myself from grinning and laughing. It was great!
The happiness continued through the whole workout and beyond. As I toweled off and changed out of my suit, I gleefully remembered that tomorrow’s Tuesday. Zumba class! I’m actually looking forward to it. Trust me. The fact that I’m looking forward to an intense, hour-long, sweat and thirst-creating exercise class is a very new, quite unfamiliar, development.
It’s an attitude that I intend to cultivate, develop and, hopefully, solidify in my psyche.
This is an important part of the process. Leading a sedentary life accomplishes very little that’s actually good for a person. Embracing the idea that I am now one who looks forward to, and creates opportunities to, exercise adds to my recovery and progress. I’m not transferring my addiction; I’m trying to grow and improve. So far, I’m succeeding. Hopefully, I’ll still act this way six months from now. That’s the goal, following by another six months after, then six months after that, and so on.
One of the keys to success is that I not get bored. There will be plenty of times when I need to exercise inside my home. (Still thinking of getting an elliptical machine when I clear out more floor space in the bedroom. I made a dent this weekend. If I do the same workout video day after day after day, the boredom will erode my enthusiasm and positive exercising attitude. To avoid that, I’m stocking up on a variety of workout programs. There’s Walk Away the Pounds Express plus a DVD with two programs on it, hosted by Valerie Bertinelli and her trainer. The Wii Fit has numerous options. Over the weekend I also ordered two Zumba Dance DVDs that will play on my Wii. I have the pool outside, Zumba classes, and Tai Chi practices. When the weather gets a little cooler this Fall, the dogs and I will resume walking the old Seven Mile Bridge some evenings.
Variety is key and right now I’m exercising all of my options!