Middle age; perhaps the bane of our extended life span or maybe I should say the expanding waist band.
We all know it sneaks up on us. A pound here and a pound there. Slower metabolism is the culprit. The habit of finishing your kid's food because you don't want to waste it! Treating ourselves because, dammit, we deserve it. You know, just getting soft.
Goodies, lunches out, several delicious fortified beverages on occasion because well...we do indeed deserve it. It is pretty easy to just wear comfy-er pants, maybe just bump it up to achieve a roomy-er fit. Over the years though, it sure does catch up and you find you are going slower and slower because of it.
Did I deserve the extra 20 that was sitting uncomfortably around my middle? Well, I myself put it there over time so, yes, I did. But in all honesty it was taking a serious toll. Vanity? You Betcha! Health? Yikes! Sluggishness compounded by lack of tone compounded by, "OMG! I am 45! If I don't do something now, I may never be able to pull it together!"
Everywhere you turn there is inspiration AKA exasperation.
Take a look at Michelle Obama. No waif of a woman but healthy, strong and firm. I would pay big bucks to have toned arms like her. As she talks about childhood obesity and bringing important focus to this grave epidemic, us adults just get fat and fatter. Why would our kids stay fit and watch their weight when as they see their parents chomp on chips and buttered popcorn in front of the TV every night?
Well, all this guilt and the sharp unforgiving corners of brutal reality started me thinking. I guess just taking walks with my beloved GGFs was not enough. Obviously. So when a pal started hitting the gym in the morning instead of walking, I was intrigued.
Ok, honestly, I was annoyed. But she begged me to join her just to try it out. Nothing stressful. Layered in forgivingly stretchy and hiding clothes, I tentatively dipped my toe into a work out routine, 3 days a week.
My friend encouraged me to start out slow. Maybe warm up with a little treadmill, perhaps jump on the Elliptical machine to burn some fat, she enthused. There is a full weight room downstairs, might as well work my arms and do some crunches. If there is time, maybe take a dip in the pool, hot tub, sauna! Shower up and off to the normal gyrations of the day.
Wow. Hey! It wasn't so bad. In fact, it felt sort of wonderful to feel that trickle of sweat run down my back. Delicious, in fact. Even better than that bag of chips!
It didn't take long to feel completely different. Notice I say, "Feel" vs. "Look". I immediately felt kind of empty and purged and deliciously tired...in a good way.
I learned to stoke up my i-pod with pop tunes that my tween help me pick out. And, when I crank up the Lady Gaga tunes, close my eyes and sweat, I am the happiest camper on the block. This is my mommy time and I defend and protect it aggressively!
So, the lbs. were trickling away but DAMMIT! I started wanting some big impact. I started to want to feel transformed. So, I started taking a good hard look at my intake. Portion control and those -o-so-delicious-fortified beverages that I love so much.
Would I be willing to forgo micro brews for less flab? Well, yes. So I cut back then I just plain old quit. Cold turkey.
I can hear the collective sharp intake of breath from all those who know me and, perhaps, from those who don't. Quitting drinking was the big one for me. I began by not drinking on weeknights and for the first couple of weeks it was hard. 5:00 hit and my hand just felt empty without a brewski. So, I said to myself, "Only weekends." And, then, later, only if I wanted to.
I know, I know, hard to believe because I love to drink. I like the taste and the kooky buzz but let's admit it folks, a lot of time drinking can be self medication. And, I just decided that the medicine wasn't worth my spare tire.
So, I toss off one habit and took up another. A healthier habit. One that is literally putting years on my life. The amazing thing about habits is that it gets easier, you slip into auto pilot mode and you miss it if you stop.
To make a short story longer; I have lost 20 lbs. I went from a roomy size 14 to a satisfyingly snug size 8. I sleep like a brick. I don't feel like a lumbering lummux anymore. I am a good role model for my family who is coming along in my footsteps.
Do I work out everyday? Pretty much. On weekends? Uh...yes. I am sort of embarrassed to say it but "Hell yes, it is really mellow at the gym on weekends!" I guess I am obsessed.
So all in all, I feel like a new person, transformed, energized like I have my mo-jo back. How long did it take. Honestly, only about 3 months which doesn't seem like a very long time to transform your life.
Will I get bored and go back to my slovenly way? I am not sure. I hope not. The habit is ingrained now and I have successfully incorporated it into my schedule. I miss it if I skip a day. And, would certainly miss my new self.