Monday, March 15, 2010

Don't Worry--Underneath these ripped biceps, I'm still the same old me.

So, I've started working out. (Please-- hold your applause till the end.) You may remember a few months back that I told you about quitting a gym that may or may not be Curves. It just wasn't working for me--the hours, the no childcare, I was payin' and not goin'. So I quit. Then, over the course of our holiday in America I pretty much ate whatever I wanted to. Even the most commonplace eateries become destinations when you can't have them in your "normal" life. So Jason and I would be like, "Look--Chili's!" Or, "Oooo!! We have to go get breakfast taquitos at Whataburger!" You get the idea, and this went on for 6 weeks. And don't make me tell you about all the Oatmeal Creme Pies. It's shameful.

Towards the end of our trip, my brother Dave and sister-in-law Kate began a new fitness regime. They'd found a free calorie counting website with an Iphone app and begin keeping track of what they were eating. And in some sort of familial avalanche, the next thing I knew we'd all joined up. The website lets you "friend" people and if you want them to, they can see your food diary. (Most people don't do this, but we are weird. And we tend to overshare.)

So now, in addition to email and Facebook and our blogs and text messaging and Skype and phone calls, I can log on to and see what Becky or Dave had for lunch. And that, my friends, is the beauty of the Internets. Beck can ask me why I had a brownie for lunch and I can tease her about eating a slice of Laura's birthday cake for breakfast. (Those are purely hypothetical examples, of course.)

I've never consistently watched what I'm eating before. It's been amazing to see that, what do you know, diet and exercise really do help you lose weight. I think somebody ought to study the correlation or something, cause it's uncanny. I mean, I haven't made drastic changes, but it's been encouraging to begin to see some things begin to, shall we say, shift. It's like plate tectonics. Slow, very slow, but things are happening deep under the surface.

And a couple of weeks ago, I joined a local gym. I hesitated doing this for a long time, because the idea of a "real" gym is intimidating to me. There's a big, glitzy franchise near our house. It's pretty posh, with superhuman people working out there. They're like, glistening fitbots or something. But the one I joined has mostly normal people in it, which was appealing to me.

And one of the things I like the most is that I get to watch TV!! I can get on the machines and watch Dr. Phil! In the middle of the day! I think I'll start scheduling my workouts based on what's gonna be on TV. The only time I feel a little out of place in the weight room. I snicker at the thought of me even being in a weight room, but I've been doing it! Tonight I went in there and realized that I was the only girl in a room full of dudes. Dudes who looked like they knew what they were doing. Normally I would've reversed out of there, but I got my game face on and strolled on in. "Excuse me, I'll be moving this up to the 10lb weight. Think I might need a spotter for this one, fellas! Ohhh yeah, feel the burn." It was like that old Sesame Street song.

One of these things is definitely not like the others. One of these kids is in fact doing her own thing. I realized something tonight that is a valuable weight room skill. Of course I knew not to make eye contact. But here's the key: middle distance, baby. It's all about staring at some undetermined point beyond, through, over those around you. Get in there, stare into the middle distance, do your reps, and nobody gets hurt. And to reward you, there's a treadmill and an episode of So You Think You Can Dance waiting in the next room.

I'll keep you posted on my progress. I'm not sure, but I think there might be some muscle-type things buried under there.


  1. Okay, I need to see a picture of these ripped biceps.

    And here is your ATTA GIRL! Gyms are kind of intimidating, but you're in there sweatin' with the big boys!

    Also quit making me look bad. xo-b

  2. It's serious business when you start pumping iron. Go git 'em.

  3. With guys at least, I've always felt a certain camaraderie in the weight room. It's like everyone is in it together to lift as much weight as possible. You never hear anyone insult anybody in a weightroom or make fun of someone if they lift less than another. I think I can only remember one bonified jerk in my weightroom experiences. And if you get a spot on a heavy lift, everyones always very encouraging. The weightroom is society as it should be (with sometimes an extra touch of narcissism)Can you hear all the muscley people calling? Come, join the fellowship!

  4. "Glistening fitbots" -- I am compelled to say that you, you ripped bicep-curling Dr-Phil-watching you, are way funnier than anyone in that gym. I'm quite sure of it. And good on ya for joining!!