A New Me On the Way

Until fairly recently, exercise was something totally foreign to me. About ten years ago–before I had settled down with my partner–this guy I was dating tried to get me to walk. I tried it a few times, hated it, and quit.

In early 2006, a friend of mine loaned me a book called Younger Next Year.  The book was about the human body constantly replacing  cells. If you sit around all the time and otherwise don’t take care of yourself, the new cells are weaker than the cells they replace. If you exercise regularly, eat a nutritious diet, and otherwise take care of yourself, the replacement cells will be stronger than those they replace. The constant regeneration of cells means it’s possible to have a whole new you in about seven years.

Reading the book motivated me to do something. After seeing a segment on the Today Show about how Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) was helping kids to lose weight, my partner bought a Playstation, DDR (the green one, for anyone familiar with the game), and thick rubber mats to dance on. We spent hours and hours dancing/playing the game for the next several months and ended up buying every version of DDR then on the market.

Once we mastered DDR and advanced to the most difficult level, we took our show on the road. We went to arcades in several different states to show off our DDR skills. We were so good that crowds sometimes gathered to watch. Along the way we both lost quite a bit of weight. Then we got Guitar Hero. I mastered Guitar Hero, too, which involved spending hours and hours on my ass in front of the television with a plastic guitar-like thingy in my lap.

Knowing I had to do something, I bought a bicycle from Walmart for $100 that was the nicest bike I’d ever owned. A few times a week, I rode around my neighborhood–a loop of about two miles. Before long I was riding ten and twelve miles at a time. The bike started falling apart, and after the guys at the bike shop laughed when I asked about getting it repaired, I bought a nice bike that cost almost as much as I paid for my first car.

The cost motivated me to get serious about riding. I bought a helmet and biker shorts. On weekends I’d ride to Watkinsville and back–about 30 miles round trip. The pounds melted off, and just in time for my 30-year high school reunion, I reached a weight I hadn’t seen for decades. Then winter came and I gained it all back.

I continued riding my bike sporadically–when it didn’t rain and wasn’t too hot, too cold, or too windy. Somewhere along the way I got discouraged. In 2010 I didn’t ride at all.  When I heard we were going to have a 35-year high school reunion (in October 2011), in a desperate attempt to shed the 50 pounds I’d picked up since the last one, I started biking again.

As desperate times call for desperate measures, back in May I joined Weight Watchers. I rode my bike like crazy–twenty and thirty miles at a time–but after an initial drop, the number on the scale steadfastly refused to budge. My body had adjusted to all the biking. I needed to do something else.

I started going to Zumba classes in June or July. I enjoyed them enough to go to a class three times a week. A few weeks later, I downloaded the Couch to 5K program and started running. Hated it, but was bound and determined to make it through the nine week program.

The cost per session for Zumba was such that joining a gym was cheaper. So toward the end of September, I did just that. My membership includes a weekly 30-minute session with a trainer, a huge variety of classes, and of course, access to all the gym equipment.

Except for two weeks around Christmas and a week earlier this month when I was sick, I run or go to they gym at least six days a week. Since joining the gym, I’ve lost less than three pounds–an average of .1 pounds per week. Most of that loss has been in the last month. The good news is that unlike previous years (all of them), I didn’t gain any weight this winter.

Now I don’t care how much I weigh. Since joining the gym, my pants size has dropped four inches. I’m a lot stronger, and as a bonus, I’ve made a bunch of new friends.  I’m also incredibly proud of myself.

For the first time in my life, exercise is a priority for me. I run for an hour (or more) or go to Zumba six days a week. Some days I do both.  I see my trainer every week, and go to a weight-lifting class twice a week. On the one day a week I don’t do any weight lifting, running, or Zumba, I go to a 60-minute Yoga and Pilates class.

The biggest surprise of all is how much I enjoy it. Yeah, the time with my trainer is rough, and the weight-lifting classes aren’t exactly fun. But I’d go to Zumba every day if a class was available at my gym, and I get antsy if I don’t run at least every other day. If I can keep this routine up for six and a half more years, there will be a whole new me here in…

My Glass House

2 responses to “A New Me On the Way”

  1. I understand. I’ve found my fitness, diet muse as well. Just after Christmas I joined the primal family. Check-out mark’sdailyapple.com. I’ve lost 15lbs since Jan 1. I no longer have any heartburn and I’m stronger now, than I’ve ever been. The reunion was a catilyst for me, too. Oh, yeah, I’m never hungry, and I feel awesome. I think we all need to find what works for us. Thanks for all your posts. I enjoy hearing your opinions.