Saturday, April 28, 2012

36 and Five Pounds

After #2 was born, Kent and I decided we wanted to be fit and healthy, so we put ourselves on the Body-for-Life program  Yes, it's the program where people send in before-and-after photos of themselves in bikinis.  (No bikini shots for this post, just a logo.  You're welcome.)  BFL is quite inspiring and I recommend the program. We stuck with it pretty well for probably six weeks, but eventually I couldn't keep up with the constant meal prep, and we didn't have money to spend on meal-replacement shakes. However, I did stick with the exercise part of the program and I've continued it pretty steadily over the past 12 years. I found that alternating aerobic workouts with weight-lifting workouts fit into my schedule quite well, and the workouts let me maintain my body size while still eating pretty much whatever I wanted.
Until 36.

I turned 36 this winter, and my body has decided to react differently to food and exercise. Maybe it's more accurate to say it reacts to food, but not to exercise. I rarely weigh myself, but when I noticed some clothes fitting a little more tightly recently, I hopped on the scale to discover that I've gained five pounds over the winter. I know, five pounds doesn't sound like much; but you must remember that fat doesn't weigh much, and I'm pretty sure I've added a good layer of fat to most of my body in the past four months. Yuck. I guess the 25-minute exercise routines didn't stave off all the butter and cream and cookies and--well, you get the idea--that I've been indulging in.

When we were in Mexico in December, I got to know the sister, C, of my friend K. C and her family were part of the trip. K had told me that C enters triathlons and somehow motivates her friends to join her. I think C is at least seven years older than me, but I have to say she looks younger than me, and it's probably because of how well she takes care of herself. During the trip, though, she told me she was rethinking her training in an effort to relax and be more like K.  I'd like to be more like K too, so  I took C's expert opinion as evidence for adding more yoga and no running to my workout routine.

But I couldn't stop thinking about how awesome it would be to look as good as C when I'm in my forties.

I don't trust my knees enough to start running or training for any races, but the mailers from the local gym starting tempting me.

Then, last week when I saw an announcement about an aerobics group that meets at the church across from my house, I figured that would be a lot more convenient to my schedule--and my wallet--than joining a gym. So I gave it a try. Honestly, I think a gym would have been easier! For two hours we pumped weights, did lunges across the floor, killed our abs, danced Zumba, and stretched into yoga poses.
See the cute Zumba instructor in the front who is having tons of fun?  That's not me.
I'm more like the person behind her who can't figure out any of the steps, but I figure there is still some  aerobic benefit to shaking my hips and wildly waving my arms around.

 I'm pretty sure the ladies who lead the group are professionals, because they had music and microphones to keep us all motivated. It was a lot of fun...until the next morning. I could barely move! Who knew there were muscles in the front of my throat and covering my ribs?!  In fact, my abdominals were still complaining five days later! Did I go back for more this week? You bet! You see, when the class started at 9:00 a.m. that first Friday, I was thinking, "This will be a good way to get back to my maintain-the-weight-while-still-eating-cookies-and-ice-cream routine." Two hours later when I left at 11:00 a.m. my approach had changed to, "If I'm going to work this hard, there is no way that I'm counteracting my efforts with cookies and ice cream!" So am I on a diet now? No. But I am watching what I eat a little more. This past week we had a lot of low-fat dinners, more salads and protein, and green smoothies twice. Yes, cookies did make an appearance, but now I'm satisfied with just one instead of sneaking an extra two or three or..let's be honest...five more. 

Okay, so one BFL-type bikini shot.  But it's not of me!
(Why can't the lady on the left be holding an apple and the chocolate?!)

Here's to good health and pants that fit by the end of the summer!


Pam Williams said...

Don't go too low on fat--that's what makes brains work. Being an addictive personality, I had to go cold turkey on sweets and bread. Makes going out to dinner very problematic.

Jenni said...

Well whatever you're doing... you look great to me!

It's too bad I don't feel motivated to eat well/work out until the first day of swimming.. :-( Why can't I push myself in the winter (ie: baggy clothes season) so I feel great at the beginning of the spring? Oh well... maybe next year...

VickieG said...

Keep up the good work; your body will thank you later. You look great to me.

Charlotte said...

Peter and Elise have been doing P90X. Not only have they dropped a ton of weight, they are getting muscular. (They're 10 weeks into it and Peter has lost 37 pounds!)

The first time I did Zumba, I literally crawled up the stairs. I went to bed at 7 and didn't get up again until morning.