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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Announcing... at long last... with much FANFARE

My newest year long project.

This is the year, where I do what it takes, to get healthy.

Which is pretty scary... and here's why.

When I was a kid I was fond of doing all the other things kids do, running around, swimming, climbing trees, hiking, camping, floating inner tube-less down an icy river; however I was never fond of exercise as such. I lived in dread of PE classes taught by our Vietnam Vet ex-Marine "Coach" who screamed at us as we tried to pull up on the bar, or as we panted around the asphalt track, baking AND steaming in the Florida sun. I was great at the Presidential Physical Fitness Flexibility meter, remember the sit and reach? MAN could I sit... and reach! I was like Gumby back then!

I also shunned organized sports. Jocks and nerds in my school... well, never the twain shall meet there, eh? And I was such a nerd, a book reading, Shakespeare quoting, pencil-nibbling nerd. Any time I displayed any type of physical prowess (for instance sinking shot after shot in a game of horse) it all came tumbling down the moment anyone MENTIONED it.

Coach: (calling out over the court) "Hey, that's a pretty great shot! Maybe you should come out for... (air ball) Nevermind."

Content Note: Discussion of disordered eating patterns

And then I wasn't a kid anymore. I was a young woman, trying to make my way in the world and more specifically Los Angeles in the early 2000s. Being a size "something", brunette in a size "nothing" blonde world took a toll on me. I came back to Florida thinner than I had ever been in my life, but maniacally chasing another phantom 30 pounds to lose. It wasn't an eating disorder, per say, but I was exhibiting disordered eating.

I never ate breakfast, would eat a single baked potato with butter from Wendy's, and then go energetically swing dancing 6 nights a week. I was a tiny little stick, but not a very happy one.

And then I met my husband... my sweet, adorable, non-dancing husband. We went out to dinner a lot. My weight went back up, but not in any alarming way, I barely noticed. We had a kid after we'd been married a couple of years. I remember being just a few weeks post-partum and the insurance at my husband's office had changed. A new insurance agent came out to the house and weighed us. I was told I was going to be charged extra premiums because of my weight. I was flabbergasted. I had a less than one month old child! It was the first time I had thought of myself as "fat" in a long time.

I worked out some, ate my usual diet, the weight came off, or at least as much weight as I wanted to. My exercise patterns became increasingly erratic. I would exercise wildly, record everything I ate, weigh myself obsessively. Then I'd get scared, I'd feel the seductive pull of food limiting start to rear up. I'd go too long without eating and get dizzy and nauseated from my hypoglycemia. And then I would stop cold turkey, "Excerise? Me? Oh sweetie, I only run when chased, and not even always then!" Big laughs.

It eventually seemed like I couldn't exercise safely at all. I'd play with the kids, go on a walk and chat with a friend, go swimming on vacation or at a friend's house, but if I started to think of it as "exercise" I would freeze, and that would be the end of that for awhile.

I have two kids now, ages 4 and 9, and I love to watch them move. They are so gloriously unselfconscious about it! They take ballet, tap, gymnastics, baton twirling (not all at the same time!) and they move with such grace! Even dancing to Lady Gaga songs in their bedroom they are so free and easy. I really envy that, I remember, vividly, feeling that way and I don't want them to ever grow out of that experience.

So here's where I am going to do. I need to set a good example for my daughters of being a fully adult woman who makes time for herself to move and move well. I need to make sure that I am exercising and stretching and caring for this body. It is the only one I have after all. I need to be proactive about my health, realizing frailty, injury and disease can happen to anyone and for any reason, but maximizing what I have been given and luxuriating in it while I have it.

Here is what I am NOT going to do, weigh myself. You may have noticed that I have related this entire story about getting healthier and never mentioned a weight that I was or a weight that I want to be. That is intentional, for me and weight loss, let's just say once I start down that road it is an ever changing goal-post. There are always "another 30 pounds" for me to lose. I don't know how I got stuck on that number, but there ya go, its been the same since High School. I don't think the number on the scale has as much to do with my health as the number on the treadmill telling me how long I've run, or the amount of weight I can lift or how smoothly I can dance. I want a whole new metric of fitness because mere weight is not my goal.

I am also not going to restrict my eating IN ANY WAY. I know! GASP! But, but, but doesn't that mean I will pig out on junk food and eat candy bars at breakfast, lunch and dinner? Um no. Because if I did that I'd feel pretty sick and I want to feel the opposite, remember? I want to feel healthy. I mean, eating any ONE food or food group to the exclusion of all others is an inherently unhealthy way to live. Imagine eating only kale 3 times a day. My colon just shuddered, thinking about it, I swear.

So here's how it is going to go. I am going to try a number of different workouts, styles of exercise, apparatus, gyms, trainers and of course RECIPES and let you all know how it goes. I promise to move my body in an intentional and loving way EVERY DAY, for an entire year. We can work out through the holidays together and see how it feels NOT to make a New Year's Resolution to "get in shape". So join me, mock me, cheer me along, I've my yoga* pants on and I am ready to go.

*May not result in actual yoga.

Healthy movement for the day : Deep cleaning and reorganizing 2 freezers, 1 refrigerator and a pantry. Taking a walk behind the kids as they headed to a friend's house on the other side of the neighborhood and back again.

Tonight's healthy* dinner: Grilled cheese on whole wheat bread, side of homemade guacamole, LOTS of water.

*Disclaimer: What is healthy for me, may not be healthy for you. I am merely sharing in order to give fuller insight into my process. Check with your doctor or nutritionist for your specific needs. Offer not valid in Ohio. Void where prohibited. Supplies are limited. Many will enter, few will win. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Please stand clear of the doors.


  1. Cheering you on. I need to do the same. 60 isn't so bad. But being 60 and totally out of shape. That's bad. Love ya.

    1. Oh, love you too! Feel free to post here about whatever loving movement you do for the day. I'd love to hear how you are doing! xoxoxo!

  2. Woot! Healthy and happy...always good. Can't wait to follow your journey.

    1. Thank you! You are always so supportive of whatever crazy scheme I come up with and I cannot express to you how much I appreciate that!

  3. I subbed via email but not sure if it's only to the comments on this particular blog post or the new blog entries, which is what I was looking for. Is that what I just subbed to? I suck at internet stuff. LOL

  4. Well, I will post a new article tomorrow and you let me know if it turns up in your inbox! I too suck at internet stuff. :)