February 21, 2006

To Gain or Not to Gain ...

Hoo boy. This is a difficult topic for me. I want to record my small progresses as I move along this road to better health, but the bad guys inside me keep trying to make me give up. Who are the bad guys? They are my cravings for laziness, nicotine, caffeine and other assorted legal drugs, like chocolate.

The one thought that prevails in my head (for what reason I do not know) is that it took me twenty some-odd years to get this unhealthy, I must be patient in my hellish “detox” attempt.

Another thought that keeps me going is “It could be worse.” I could be 80 pounds overweight rather than 40, and I could be addicted to things that make me see pink elephants flying around the room rather than things that make my hair smell and my clothes too snug.

It’s time to admit that I’m going to Curves for Women. Bleh. I totally hate the name of the place. Don’t know why, but my daughter thinks it’s hilarious that I refer to it as a gym and not “Curves.”

In truth, it’s a rather cool place. It’s small and cozy but they have some of the neatest machines on which to work out (it’s circuit training with resistance machines rather than weight lifting) and the people I’ve seen there are people just like me. We just don’t wish to compete with the latest workout-fashions and feel a tad intimidated huffing and puffing next to Hourglass-Annie or Johnnie-Muscletard.

One reason I don’t like to call it Curves is because I have spent the past four years making fun of the very name of the place and I haven’t yet accepted the fact that I’m now a part of it. Look ~ it has exercise equipment, upbeat music and people in sweats and it’s sole purpose is to help me whip my lazy self into shape … it’s a gym. So there.

Okay, on with the progress report.

Each month they will measure and weigh me. Saturday was my one-month mark, so I was feeling p-r-e-t-t-y excited when I walked into the place. First things first, I stepped onto the scale and learned that I GAINED two pounds*. Joy of all joys. Anyone who knows me can tell you that this killed it for me for the rest of the day. It wouldn’t have mattered if they told me I lost 18 inches and 10 percent bodyfat. All I knew at that point was that I joined a gym, broke my ass to get there every other day for one full month and GAINED weight.

They claim this two pound gain could be muscle. Okay, I’ll take it. But I don’t have to be happy about it.

I lost an inch from my upper arms and two inches from what they are calling my stomach – though I always believed the stomach was between the navel and chest. The area I lost it from is just below beltline. Not too bad, I suppose, as far as progress goes.

I GAINED a half inch on my calves. Oh yes, now that’s what I’m looking for – muscular calves. Pulleeze.

Aside from losing an additional fraction of an inch from here and there, everything else remained the same.

The thing is, I wanted more. I wanted to go in there and say “HOLY COW … GOOD JOB ME!” and to be so excited that I whipped right through my little workout with nothing on my mind but coming back for more. That’s my problem right there in a nutshell. I set ridiculously unrealistic expectations for myself and wind up getting bitch-slapped every time. I need to stop that. Anyone know how?

The flipside is, there have been wonderful ‘other things’ going on as a direct result of all my efforts at the gym. Let me list them for you.

1. I’m getting my ass out of the house every other day, sometimes two days in a row.

2. I DO feel more energized. (I fight this … I really do … but it happens)

3. I know this might sound silly, but my mind seems more tuned-up than it was a month ago

4. I seem to be sleeping more restfully, and through the night

5. I enjoy the social aspect and don’t feel so ‘alone’ in my battle

6. (this one is huge) I’m actually looking forward to the nicer weather so I can walk outdoors on my off-gym days

7. I suddenly have a desire to quit smoking. I haven’t yet, and I’m skeptical as hell that it will actually happen … but my thoughts lean heavily toward trying rather than giving up on myself. Thanks to Dan I’ve ordered a book that is supposedly the end-all in relieving oneself of this wretched habit. We'll see what happens when I give it a read. And thanks to Don and AG for offering encouragement and genuine moral support without any bashing.

8. During my first week at the gym, I couldn’t even hold conversation while working out. No way in hell. I huffed and I puffed (literally) and really had to push myself to be able to finish the program. Four weeks later and I can talk up a blue streak throughout the entire process. (I fear the people at the gym are sorry to see this particular type of progress in me). I never would have believed this possible if I hadn’t seen it myself.

9. My favorite little black Mary Tyler Moore stretch pants are starting to fall off my tummy while I work out. I actually have to pick them up several times while in the process. Is this more information than you really needed?

10. My funks seem to pass quicker than they did before. They still happen but not for long.

11. My bad cholesterol (the LDLs) has dropped by 30 points! It’s actually at an all time low for me – 56. So there you have it. Some good changes, some not so good changes.

The only BAD thing that has happened to be as a direct result of joining this gym is that one day, after really pushing myself to get there and workout, I was apparently in quite the hurry to get back home and bought myself a $100 speeding ticket right in front of Foxwoods. I was in such an ‘up’ mood at the time that I forgot all about my expert ‘talk yourself out of it” skills (well honed throughout the years) and even thanked the bastard when he handed me the ticket!! I had to look at myself in the mirror as I drove off to make sure it was really me. Sadly, it was.

So the long and short of it is that I’m still going – I’ve signed on for another month and the penny pincher in me will not allow this money to be thrown out the window. Gee, I wonder if I’ll put on six more pounds before the month is through. I can hardly wait to find out. [insert furrowed brow]

*Incase anyone is wondering … we’ve been careful with our diets in this house for three years now, so the weight gain probably isn’t from fat. I just need to work harder on meal portion size and the occasional piece of scrumptious, smooth, sweet and comforting candy.


Blogger dan said...

EXCELLENT news on the cholesterol. that's quite a drop.

one day at a time is all you have to remember

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are so many cool anecdotes in here to comment on, but I of course adore "Johnnie-Muscletard." :)

Excellent job!!! Keep it up!!

10:44 AM  
Anonymous dulciana said...

Losing inches, dropping cholesterol, and feeling better -sounds fabulous to me!

11:49 AM  
Blogger Wicked H said...

Fabulous! Good for you!

Is it so bad becoming Haglette-Schwarzenegger?

I'm just sayin.....

11:51 AM  
Blogger Grant said...

I've slowly seen some results over the years - more stamina and muscle bulk rather than weight loss - but I don't get discouraged because I'm not looking for instant results they way I did when I was younger. I also quit smoking last year, although that wasn't easy. The main thing that helped me was avoiding situations where I tended to smoke the most.

And if the name bothers you, just be glad the place isn't called "No Fat Chicks."

11:57 AM  
Blogger Carol (Smiles and Laughter) said...

Damn. You're getting me motivated to exercise. How dare you!

2:11 PM  
Blogger Carol (Smiles and Laughter) said...

BTW..If you are on the exercise bike at Curves, uh, er, "the gym" and a little lobster comes up behind you will you let us know, please?

2:13 PM  
Blogger Don said...

The good news is, those bad guys of yours will slowly but surely toe the line. And in large part, that's the beauty of the whole enterprise. As each month passes, you'll notice you have more and more mastery over them. They wont' be having it all their own way when they employ their bullying tactics, and then, wonderfully, the day will come when you'll have them completely whipped. Oh joy, talk about empowering - it knocks sex into a cocked hat!

I'm glad to hear you're taking up walking when the Spring comes. It's the most underrated of exercises (probably because it doesn't have a rock-and-roll image) but it has the advantage of being easy on your joints, and more importantly, it costs almost nothing. Go for it.

As for quitting smoking, I'm sure you will. If you don't, you're in big trouble. I'll personally spam your blog.

Hey, I almost forgot to tell you, I'm still teetotal.


2:29 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

You are really doing well. LOTS of good stuff happening! I am not a gym person and work out at home and all of the things you noticed happened to me about 5 years ago when I had terrible back problems and was about 30 pounds overweight. I fall off the exercise wagon, I still eat chocolate (but much less), I reward myself with dessert but realize I have to exercise MORE for the reward. I still have a 10-15 pound up and down fat problem...but I am definately going to lose that when I RETIRE, damn it!

5:09 PM  
Blogger Alisa said...

Wow. Way to go!!!! The cholesterol would have been worth the gym if nothing else. That is awesome.

All the other "side affects" are too positive to ignore as well.

You're my new role model! :-D

6:42 PM  
Blogger mrhaney said...

well you will never know if it will work unless you try. so i congratulate you for doing it and wish you the best of luck.

8:07 PM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

you go girl! don't get down on yourself, keep working and yes, you will be svelte before you know it.

10:21 PM  
Blogger happyandblue2 said...

I am impressed. But I'm impressed with everything you do, tee,hee..

11:04 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

I am pleased for you, especially that you have the desire to quit smoking. That desire is half the battle!

The last time I exercised, I lost only 5 pounds, but I went down 2 sizes, as everything shifted to better places.

I went to the doc today and I need to get my cholesterol down too, so maybe I will follow your lead and start going to my gym again. Good show, Carol!

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Simply Coll said...

Wow.. I would say you are doing great! A friend of mine lost 50 lbs going to Curves and my sister lost 20lbs. It did not happen over night with either one of them.. but they both stuck with the program and you should see them now!! I only wish I had their (and your) motivation.

12:19 AM  
Blogger brooksba said...

You make me want to join a gym.

You are doing great Carol! I'm very proud of you. Your dedication to keep with it and desire to achieve your results already gets you most of the way to your goal. Keep up the fabulous job, keep having fun with it, watch your speed on the way home, and I hope you find the book on quitting smoking helpful. I know it is a hard habit to break and if you want to, you're on your way.

3:16 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Congratulations! I am so impressed and inspired :)

6:48 AM  
Blogger madcapmum said...

Baby, if you've lost inches everywhere, you are indeed a LOSER! Hooray!

9:27 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

If you're exercising and watching what you eat, then that weight gain would have to be muscle. Congratulations on losing inches! That's a very big deal.

I joined Weight Watchers last week and am still getting used to the idea of portion control. Not overly my idea of fun but heck, it needs to be done. If I'm lucky and do this right, it will take me at least two years to lose the weight. That's if I lose 2 pounds a week. And we all know that doesn't always happen.

Good luck to you. I know you can do this. And yeah, the name is kind of funny but I always looked at it as the fact that they encourage you to have curves, not be a stick woman. I'd rather have Marilyn Monroe's figure than any of the major models today and she would be considered overweight by today's standard. Yikes.

Long comment. I'll shut up now.

1:41 PM  
Blogger oregoncelticlady said...

I LOVE Curves! The goddess girl and I would go twice a day in the summer or do a double circuit. *scratches head at the "No Fat Chicks" comment from Grant and decides to ignore it*
Thanks for the letter, by the way! I loved it and will get back to you this weekend when I have pondering time!

4:18 PM  
Blogger Floridacracker said...

That's all good news...except for the ticket. Keep it up. I'm hoping you can beat the smokes too!
Take care.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Carol, You've made a commitment and you're sticking to it. You're getting everything moving and seeing results. Good for you!
Curves? Makes me think of driving too fast. "Watch the curves!"

11:36 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

Wow, that's awesome! Good for you! I don't like the name "Curves" either but a friend goes there and says it is great.

9:18 AM  
Blogger MYSTIC said...

I want the fat bitch back!!! You have so many postitive comments I thought I'd throw that one in. Keep up the good work. ABOUT SMOKING..?? Tough one there (former 3 pack a day guy) To really lick it you must change your mindset..You know how you struggle with the idea of attempting it. You must start now to thinking of yourself as a non smoker. Not someone who is attempting to quit. YOU ARE A NON SMOKER! YOU CAN'T EVEN THINK OF YOURSELF AS A SMOKER. Change your mindset and the rest will follow. I have not even desired to smoke since I quit a long time ago...Change the mind set. No patch needed, no gum...NOTHING else. I didn't even shoot up the post office. Have fun Carol..I'm pulling for you...

9:34 AM  
Blogger Dave Morris said...

Very nice, Carol. Be careful not to lose weight too quickly, friends begin not recognizing you in public and that's just embarrassing as hell.

Mary Tyler Moore stretch pants? Such a visual. I suppose I'm to visualize them on her 30 years ago, as opposed to today, right? ;)

11:34 AM  
Blogger sands of time said...

Good for you.Im a member of a gym which im sorry to say i frequent less and less each month and it is starting to show in the flabby arms etc returning.

2:19 PM  
Blogger jon said...

Quitting smoking. This is a subject that I hope will go away if I don't think about it. Unfortunately, I have a wife who likes to remind me.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

Congrats on your successes! Makes we want to join the YMCA again--not a lot super-buff people, mostly little ol' ladies in the 70s and 80s there for their morning swim and hottub soak, or moms trying to take off the post-pregnancy weight (which, I'm still blaming my extra pounds on, regardless of the fact that it's been over 1.5 years since my 3rd kiddo was born--couldn't be the cheesecake I ate the other day).

As for smoking, luckily I didn't take that up (rebelling again my family of smokers and all), but my husband managed to kick the habit 2 years ago. One thing I did learn, though, is that the nicotine itself is out of your system after 3 days. After that, it's the "habit" of smoking that makes you want to keep going.

Good luck, WH!!! I'm rooting for you!

3:41 PM  
Blogger sidcruise said...

Well weight issues have started to haunt me too ..Now I have started working out ;)

1:09 PM  
Blogger J said...

I would still like you even if you weighed 400 pounds and smoked a pack a day. Not if you weighed 450 pounds, though. I have my standards.

I have been struggling to get myself to exercise more than once a week. Today I cleaned the living room. I must have burned at least six calories.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Well, you SOUND more buff!

Congrats on commitiomng to Curves.

11:49 PM  
Blogger Anjali said...

Ooooh ... I can so relate to this post. I've had a love-hate relationship with the gym for a couple of years now. And yes, I gained weight the first time I went to one. And no, it wasn't muscle, it was the number of chocolate croissants I was tucking into to reward myself for hitting the gym every evening. Sigh.

You seem to be doing fine though ... losing inches and controling your diet :)

Great blog, by the way - my first time here.

9:32 AM  
Blogger L said...

sounds like things are going well :)

11:43 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home