Those of you that follow this blog regularly know that I’ve been fighting to lose weight for over a year. I’ve been plateaued in the same place for 6? 8? months now. It’s frustrating as hell. Life keeps making me want to eat all my feelings and I keep finding my feelings in the cheez-it box and the bottle of wine. Clearly, this is not the way to go about things. When Scot lost his job, I promptly gained 5 lbs. It doesn’t sound like much but those were pounds I fought hard to lose in the first place. It made me feel so defeated.
But that’s not what this post is about.
I always knew that part of the reason I wasn’t as successful at weight loss as I wanted to be was that I didn’t exercise on a regular basis. The last time I did Weight Watchers, it wasn’t as necessary – the weight seemed to come off just by making better choices about food. But I’m older now, I’ve had a second baby, my body is just different. It’s not that I haven’t known I needed the exercise, it was finding the time, the dedication, and the motivation that was keeping me firmly stuck on square one.
Then, we were gifted with an Xbox and Kinect. This meant that I could get up and moving right in my own living room and I had ZERO excuse not to do so. Of course, that didn’t mean I didn’t find all KINDS of excuses to keep right on finding my feelings at the bottom of the cheez-it box. To say that the stress level around here has been off the charts would be a massive understatement. I badly needed a way to release all that stress. I knew that exercise would be a way so I started making a real effort to get off my duff and DO it.
I did some walking here and there. I played silly Kinect games to get me sweaty every now then. But consistency is key and I didn’t have it.
Something flipped a switch around my birthday. I was given a Zumba game for the Xbox (I had asked for it) and a few days after my birthday, I tried it out. It was fun! I could look like a total ass in private! I got sweaty and worked off calories! AMAZING.
In the meantime, I really stepped up my game in the eating department. If I was going to exercise I really didn’t want to waste all that hard work by going back to the damn cheez-it box again. I started tracking more carefully, making better choices, and drinking my damn water.
I don’t always do Zumba. I’ve mixed things up by doing a day of heavy housework, or taking a three mile walk. But I keep coming back to Zumba, too. Between everything, I’ve exercised 9 out of the last 11 days.
Here’s the shocking (to me) part: I find I can’t get through my day anymore without it. I need it in a way that I thought I needed the cheez-it box. Yesterday I had a really stressful day (it was mostly minutiae) and in the midst of it, 4 different people tried to hit me while I was driving. By the time I made the last turn for home of the day, I was MASSIVELY on edge. I got home and all I could think about was taking my rage out for a cleansing walk. Scot happened to be home from work so I left him to feed the kids and took my twitchy self out to sweat it off.
I walked a 12 min mile. Over huge hills. I’ve never before broken 14 minutes. My overall pace for 3 miles was 13:45.
By the time I was done, I was sweating like Nixon at the Kennedy debates and I felt better than I had all day. After the kids went to bed, I snacked on fruit – FRUIT, OF ALL THINGS.
I find myself getting up in the morning and thinking “Ugh. I’m tired. I didn’t get all the sleep I wanted to. I don’t know if I can get in the exercise today.” Then, by mid-day, I’m looking forward to Jamie’s nap so I can turn on the Xbox and Zumba my way to sanity.
Of course I know people who have talked about this side effect of exercise and while I never doubted them, I was absolutely certain that I would never be one of those people; sure that exercise would always be a chore for me. Now, it seems that if I don’t do it, I get twitchy and restless and I just gotta go sweat.
I have no idea yet whether or not this will have any effect on the damn scale. But it has had a huge effect on my mental health and my ability to manage my stress level. At this point, that is way more important than the number on the scale. I really do want the number to go down – significantly – but managing my stress in this fashion is turning out to be far more beneficial than a scale number.
It turns out that what everyone says is true – you have to find something that you like to do – REALLY LIKE TO DO – and do it consistently. Before long, you’ll find that you don’t want to skip doing it. Gyms will never be for me, I don’t think, but I think I could do this for a long time. For this, Mama can put herself first.