flying through clouds of uncertainty on wings of existential dread
Today is a weird day to publish this, since I’m actually home sick and not making it to the gym at all, but whatever. I’m a zany unpredictable fool. With an ouchy throat.
My friends who know me in real life have already heard possibly too much about this and should feel free to skip this post. So, for the five of you who are left, I joined a gym on July 15th, and I’ve been going and working pretty damn hard 4-5 times a week (2 days out of every 3). It’s all been very exciting.
And I feel like there’s a tendency to forget that your chubby friend who you’ve only ever known as chubby was once something else, so I got a lot of unneeded advice about how to treat sore muscles (18 years of ballet, bitches. I know from sore.) and such, but also lots of delightful encouragement. I had a few different reasons for joining — my body misses being active and moving, but not enough to do it reliably at home; I found out memberships weren’t as expensive as I thought; I want to be healthier; and, most recently, 4 of my close friends have been diagnosed as diabetic or pre-diabetic in the last few years, and it scared the ever-living FUCK out of me, plus I saw the amazing changes K in particular was making and got inspired. Apparently inspired+scared motivates me in a way that self-loathing never will.
You might have noticed that I didn’t list weight loss among my reasons. Look, if I do lose weight, great. Awesome! I’d throw a party! But I can’t afford to focus on that, because when I focus on weight loss, I obsess, and I don’t have a great middle gear between ‘eat all the things’ and ‘eat nothing, ever’, and I’m not doing that second one again. So my diet’s remaining largely the same — mostly fairly healthy, but I will eat occasional fries and such if I damn well want them — with the one change that I’m craving sweets a lot less. Yay endorphins?
The big thing I’m seeing (and this will sound less ground-breaking to y’all than it is) is my body changing predictably. I’ve been doing thirty minutes on the weight machines and, currently, ten – twelve on the elliptical (because I can’t make it to twenty yet) and things are getting easier. I’m starting to reliably make it further with the cardio; I’ve added weight to most of the machines, and started on some of the harder ones. Physically, my upper belly has firmed up and shrunk some! I’ve got what are starting to be visible biceps, and a firmer back, and my butt is more upwardly mobile, and I can link all of those things to specific activities! IT MAKES SENSE!
The thing is, during all those years of dancing, I was working really hard and barely maintaining my (perfectly fine, but big for a dancer) weight. The only time I managed to lose more than a couple of pounds was in high school when I gave up most solid food for Slim-Fast, and that’s kiiiinda super unhealthy, y’all. When I hit that major depressive episode in college and got as close as possible to never eating, I gained weight, because my body knew I was starving it and told me to go fuck myself. (Sorry, body.) I never saw my weight as something I had any control over at all – the best I managed was a holding pattern.
So, wow, weights! Who knew? I somehow always thought cardio was for weight loss and weights were for people who wanted to be weight lifters, but that thirty minutes of weights gets my heart pumping pretty well, and I can see changes happening! More importantly, I’m going to be able to climb more stairs and jump up and down longer and not be scared to see the doctor for those tests I’m overdue for, because I’m getting healthier!
Maybe I’ll get down to a smaller clothing size, and that’ll be nice, but what I want for Hannukah is a clean bill of health and good strong muscles, regardless of my weight.