Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Let's Get Physical

Yesterday I went to the gym for the first time in over six months. It was pretty humiliating when I didn't know where the locker rooms were anymore. In my defense, they had recently (6 months ago) completely renovated, but it concerned me that I've been paying for a membership to a gym whose locker rooms I was having trouble locating.

This return to the gym was prompted, as it is every year, by the approach of Twin Cities Pride. This time honored gay tradition of exercising coupled with a crash diet usually takes place the month of June. It ends promptly on the Sunday of Pride when I come home and gorge myself on all the foods I'd been denying myself (and I usually look forward to it almost as much as Pride itself). It's occurred to me that this maybe isn't super healthy. I'm handling things differently this year.

I wish that I could say that I'm now magically completely comfortable with my body, but there is still work to be done before I reach that point. It's my approach that is going to be different. In years past I've set a ridiculous weight I plan to reach before the big weekend. All month I obsess over the scale, weighing myself twice a day (and even going so far as to chart it), skipping meals if I'm up, and feeling validated about skipping meals if I'm down. It makes me insane all month. Then, when I've finally reached my goal, I start to slack, and before I know it I've gained everything back.

This year I'm putting away my scale. I won't be stepping on it for the upcoming month. I'm hoping that not focusing on the number will help to keep me from stressing about it. Instead I'll be focusing on getting to a point where I'm fitting comfortably and feeling good in my clothes. I have all of my outfits picked out (I've got more costume changes planned than Gaga at the VMA's), but most of them are just a bit too tight.

I've already come to terms with the fact that I will never be able to stick to a super restrictive diet, so I'm just going to try to replace some of the not so healthy things that I eat with some not so, not so healthy things. Instead of ice cream, I'm picking up frozen yogurt. Instead of chips, I'm choosing plain popcorn. And instead of an entire frozen pizza, I'll eat an entire personal sized frozen pizza.

I have this issue with buying personal sized pizzas. I always feel like the cashier is going to judge me for eating a whole pizza by myself; so I buy a full sized and pretend that I have friends who will be sharing it with me (similar to how I try to work the words "we" or "us" in when I'm ordering half the Taco Bell menu).

I could make some therapist very rich...if I had the money to pay a therapist. Wine is just so much cheaper.

It's really the exercising part of this plan that I'm most concerned about. I'm terrible at sticking with a routine (unless the routine is come home, take pants off, watch Battlestar Galactica for five hours, eat peanut butter with a spoon). But this is a part of growing the f#%! up, making a plan, sticking to it, and not allowing yourself to turn into Gilbert Grape's mother.

I've planned a campaign on three fronts:

1. Return to the gym

This one is obvious. I'm paying for a gym membership, I need to be using it. I've been twice this week so far.  I was feeling really great about myself after the second trip, and then when I went to throw away a tissue in the locker room garbage can I noticed someone had left their empty Dairy Queen Blizzard cup in the trash. It was probably the meanest thing anyone has ever done to me at the gym.

My routine at the gym is 50 minutes on the treadmill, I'm not a jogger, but I set a fairly quick pace and crank the incline up fairly high. I follow that up with 30 minutes on the bike. I need to be constantly entertained or I give up early, so I have been watching TV shows that I will only allow myself to watch at the gym to hopefully keep me motivated to come back (the 6 month hiatus proves that this plan has failed spectacularly). The treadmill gives me just enough time to fit in an episode of Nashville, and I'm on the bike for long enough to watch Community.

I've got a 67 hour work week this week, so between the two jobs I won't really have time to get there much (the first person to suggest I wake up early and go before work gets slapped on their face...I will drive to wherever you are, and you will be expected to chip in for gas). This is where the other two parts of my plan come in.

2. Get off your ass

I have a horrible habit of climbing into bed right after work to watch just ONE episode of whatever TV show I'm currently working through (Currently Samantha Who? Hilarious). One episode turns into two, which turns into three, which turns into me falling asleep at six in the evening (every time I fall asleep in front of the TV I wake up with a sense of dread that I'm turning into my father). I'm not going to let myself keep falling into this trap.

I used to go on an hour long walk every night, and it was always my favorite part of the day. I fell out of the habit in the last month or so, but I'm going to put forh the effort to walk every night again. Also, I'm trying to be more conscious of where I'm driving and if I could just as easily walk the same distance. Sure, I can save fifty cents on almost any product by driving to Wal-Mart to get it, but Walgreen's and HyVee are in walking distance.

This goes for what little time I have for socializing as well. Instead of settling in for a movie, why not play a game of tennis? Why belly up to the bar when we can go dancing instead?

3. Ab f(l)ab!

Ab work outs are literally the worst. I mean sure there's war, and famine, and inequality in the world, but that's all forgotten when I'm 30 seconds into a plank, shaking, and praying for it all to end. The problem is that my mid section is what I want to work on the most, and I don't think that the little bit of cardio I'm doing is going to help that much.

I found a 30 day ab challenge online awhile ago. Each day is a mix of sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts, and planks with the number required rising each day (I skipped the leg lifts after trying them the first few days and feeling super inadequate). I did it for about fifteen days before I started getting cocky about it and thinking I could start skipping days (and by skipping days, I mean skipping the last 15 days in a row). I'm starting over now, and I'm using it as my 30 day countdown to Pride (well actually, like a 27 day countdown to Pride, I suck at exercise, but I'm GREAT at procrastination).

Doing a countdown also gives me a chance to do my favorite arts and crafts activity. Paper chains. Remember the red and green ones that we did in elementary school to countdown to Christmas? Yeah, I never stopped doing those. Tall Corn Days? Green and Yellow paper chain. Birthday weekend? Pink paper chain with glitter glue. And now, the crown jewel, a Pride Rainbow paper chain.

My supply of paper strips was running low (yeah, I keep them on hand), so I needed to cut some more. It was too gorgeous of a day to stay cooped up in my apartment though, so I walked down to Sibley Park (see #2) and set up my work station there. After cutting the strips down (and fielding a few strange looks for sitting in the grass playing with constructions paper and an x-acto knife), I wrote each day's workout on a strip and assembled the chain. I could have gotten the same results by writing them on a calendar and crossing the days off, but this is so much cuter!

So there it is, my plan to look fabulous, fit, and fierce for Pride!

You know, at least until the part of the night where everyone is a sweaty disaster.

Oh, and here are a few of the exercise plans that I ended up passing over.


(Full disclosure, I bought the Lisa Rinna DVD. I just don't have the floorspace.)

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