My So-Called (Healthy) Life

At yesterday’s weekly session, my personal trainer checked my measurements for the first time since late last year. The good news is that my body fat dropped another one percent and my calves are a tad thinner. Everything else–including my weight–was essentially the same. Read on for the bad news.

No doubt, you’re thinking I was disappointed. My trainer certainly thought so. But I wasn’t.

Yeah, seeing a big change in the positive direction would have been nice. But given that I usually gain anywhere from 15 to 30 pounds from December to April, I was frankly thrilled that my numbers were essentially unchanged. The one percent drop in body fat was a bonus.

Even so, the lack of forward progress precipitated a discussion about my program–a discussion I’ve known was coming for some time. Even though I wasn’t disappointed, because he sees me at the gym practically every day, my trainer had expected results. He pointed out that if my routine wasn’t working for me, it was time to make some changes.

Uh oh.

We reviewed my workout regimen. Between running for an hour or two three or four times a week and and three or four hours of Zumba every week, I’m getting plenty of aerobic exercise. Good thing, because I’m not about to give either one of them up. Zumba is too much fun to quit and running is about the best way there is to lose belly fat–my arch nemesis.

Strength training…which I hate…is the area I really need to beef up. For a variety of reasons, the Group Power classes I attend twice a week aren’t doing the job. Mostly they hurt my wrists and knees, and I don’t feel pumped up the way I do after one of my trainer’s developed-just-for-me workouts (which I quit doing a couple of months ago). So I’m going to replace my Group Power classes with my trainer’s workouts. He’s redoing them to focus on large muscle groups because that’s going to help me lose weight more rapidly.

We didn’t talk about it, but I’ve also decided to add another Centergy class to my weekly routine. I’ve been going once a week for more than a month and really enjoy the combination of Yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates. The one-hour class is relaxing and I can see an improvement in my flexibility. The classes are only offered twice a week–one right after Group Power and Zumba. I just can’t do three classes in a row, so cutting Group Power means I can make it to Centergy.

That brings us to the bad news and the last topic of our discussion: my diet. He explained that especially at my age (he’s like 22), weight loss is 80 percent diet and twenty percent exercise. Dammit. I know he’s right. Changing up my exercise routine won’t make any difference if I don’t change my diet.


The truth is, I eat a very healthy diet 22 hours a day at least six days a week. The seventh day wouldn’t be that big of a problem if it weren’t for those two hours every day the rest of the week. That those two hours fall right before I go to bed just make things worse.

Yes, friends, we’re talking about my nightly dish of ice cream. Because half measures availed us nothing, switching to low-fat frozen yogurt several months ago didn’t make a difference. That I generally pile a full dish of frozen yogurt with sliced banana, chocolate syrup (or sometimes, hot fudge), and if we have it, whipped cream (nondairy!) and chopped nuts might also be a factor.

My partner, a witness to this nightly self-reward for all the exercise I get, has been telling me for months that I need to change. That he’s right, which of course I’ve known all along, mostly pisses me off. Life is so unfair.

For those of you who are familiar with the transtheoretical model of stages of change, I’ve moved through precontemplation, contemplation, and am now somewhere in preparation. Three down, one to go, and then I’ll be ready for maintenance. Taking action is the hard part, but I know I can do it. If the last year has taught me anything, it’s that there are no reasons, just excuses and to never say never. I’ll keep you posted on my progress here on…

My Glass House