Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Getting Worked Up Over Working Out

I have a love/hate thing going on with exercise.

I wish that I could burn calories like I did in high school, so I'd have an excuse not to exercise. Back then I would run all over the school and everywhere, being involved in this and that, and would go late into the evening. I still run around all day, but the piece of cheesecake I eat for dessert once in a while becomes one with my thighs, no matter how many calories I think I'm burning in my busy life.

I wish I could burn calories like I did when I was in college. Yes, I put on the freshman fifteen, but it wasn't a big deal to take it off again. The late-night pizza binges made their marks, but I could erase them without too much effort. I could stay up late and function quite well the next day. Hah! Those were the days.

Then I had kids. Four of them. Why is it that everything that was functioning properly, looking good, feeling good before you had kids suddenly goes to pot after you have kids? That is the question I want answered TODAY! Someone, please answer this question. PLEASE!

After just one child, my skin was stretched beyond recognition. My feet were a 1/2 size bigger. My hair fell out in the shower. I had a "pregnancy mask" that was still around long after pregnancy. I was gorgeous! We won't talk about weight. OK, I guess we will. Remarkably I managed to shed all the weight from the first pregnancy, but not until the baby was two years old. And it didn't happen by bouncing baby around and singing in the middle of the night either. I walked and walked and walked miles around Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin, to get off that last 10 pounds, just in time to get pregnant with baby two.

With baby two I put on 50 pounds and got rid of 35 of them, then gained back five pounds. With baby three's pregnancy I put on 35 and got rid of 20 it. With baby four I put on 35 and, and, and, I can't even say it. Baby four is now 5 1/2 years old. I'd like to say it's nice that my babies are still literally with me, but that would be an outright lie. My metablism went from efficient to to inefficient in less than 10 years. That's a sorry state of affairs.

What it means is that I have to be work a whole lot harder and be much more conscientious about what I eat than ever before. This is the year to work on it. Diet, exercise, lifestyle change--the whole nine yards. Why is this the year? Because when you turn 40 you do almost anything to reverse the damage you've done to your body. For me, that means losing weight.

Exercise. I hate it before I do it, and love it after I do it. On every given day it hangs over my head like a black cloud before it's done, nagging and pushing me to put on my shoes, or get on my bike. It's worse than a headache or a twisted ankle. It's just there, almost mocking in its insistence that I move my body. It tells me (in not a very nice tone, mind you) that if I don't exercise, I won't achieve my goals. I'll be at risk for diabetes and heart disease and a whole bunch of undesirable medical problems. Worst of all, if I don't do it, I'm a lazy loser. Blah, blah, blah, it goes, nonstop, as if nothing else in my life is important.

If I want the cloud to go away, I have to exercise. There's no other way. When the wheels start moving on my bike, or a get into a good walking clip, the black cloud changes to gray. After I've been moving for about 20 minutes it turns into a lighter gray. It actually stops berating me. When I've hit 40 minutes or more, it's completely white and completely silent (thank heavens). When I'm done, it's gone. There's nothing but blue skies smiling at me.

Thoughts before exercise: Grump, grumble. This is such a pain that I have to worry about doing this every bloody day of my life.

Thoughts after exercise: Wahoo! I feel great! I hope I can feel this good every day of my life!Exercise helps so much!

They say attitude is 90 percent of everything you achieve or don't achieve. I believe it.

Time to go get rid of the black cloud. It's about ready to seriously dump on me.

1 comment:

Dottie said...

Very great summary of how I feel, only I have now tuned out the grumpy grumble, or at least I have turned the volume down. I just don't listen any more. My sister-in-law says, "Grandma's are supposed to look matronly!" So I like that;I have a comfortable grandma look. Then I shop for clothes with my older sister--four years old and five sizes smaller. Now I can tell somebody messed with the grumble volume-switch!