Fixing It

I used to exercise.  Throughout school, I was active in sports (all variations of baseball, at least one period of phys. ed. each term), and after I was finished with high school, I joined a gym.  I continued, on and off, for years, until after I was married.  And then, as if I were playing out some lame joke, I quit and let myself go.  I mean, I didn’t gain a whole load of weight, but I got un-fit.  Very, very un-fit.  I despise the term, but it kind of sort of fits – I got skinny-fat.  And like most women, I went through waves of acceptance, apathy, and self-loathing.  One week, I liked the extra cushion; better for snuggling my babies.  The next week, I couldn’t have cared any less about how I looked.  And then the week after that, I was hating myself for not being the skinny, scrawny looking thing I had been when I was a teenager.  Completely unrealistic and dumb, I know, but we all have moments of ridiculousness, I think.  And believe me, I know I wasn’t overweight.  I know that and always knew that.  But you can be thin and still hate the way you look.  Thin people get cellulite.  Thin people have saggy bottoms.  Thin people have muffin tops if they try to squeeze themselves into pants meant for 20 lbs lighter.  The difference is thin people may have an easier time hiding what they perceive as flaws under baggy clothes or layers.  We’re all the same, no matter what our size, and that holds true for our delicate self esteems.

I had reached one of those very low periods, right around Christmas (isn’t it funny how that timing works?).  With gift cards I’d received, clothes I purchased were a size or two larger than the last time I’d shopped.  Pants I’d gotten as gifts, in the size I’d asked for, were like sausage casings for my thighs.  The number on the scale was higher than it had been since I had Avery.  Again, I acknowledge that I am probably the only one on earth who had noticed the change, but it was there and I wasn’t happy about it.  Not the number, I honestly don’t care how much I weigh, but the way that all culminated into how I felt and how I felt I looked.  I don’t need everyone to think I look good, I don’t even need most people to think I look good, but it would be nice if I thought that of myself.  And isn’t that the way we should go about this business?  AH has always said he likes the way I look (although, he does think I dress like a man), so if he’s happy, shouldn’t I fix it so that I am, too?

The beginning of January marked when I decided to make a change, but the thing of it is, no matter how motivated I am, only certain things I was willing to change.  I refuse to alter my diet too much.  I eat good-sized portions, I bake with real butter and real sugar, I like giant bowls of boxed cereal in the morning and I need chocolate and ice cream and cheese and carbs in all forms in order to survive.  I’m also pretty set in my ways as far as not doing much in the evenings.  By the end of the day, I’m pretty much dead-to-the-world exhausted and I’ve got my stories to watch, so going to a gym or sweating to the oldies or going outside for a run wasn’t really going to happen, ever.

In summary, I wasn’t going to change my lifestyle.  Like, at all.  Solution?  I found I had a whole lot of wasted bathroom time in the mornings and the evenings as I got ready for work and for bed.  I mean, really.  I just stand there, brushing my teeth, putting on my makeup, washing my face.  I can multi-task; why not use all that standing time for exercise? 

So I came up with my own routine.  Wanna hear?  I don’t know the actual name of most exercise-y things, so I’ll just say what I call them.

10 pushups

20 side leg lifts (each)

20 back leg lifts (each)

30 sumo squats

40 hip thrusts

50 tippy toe lifts

60 second plank

I do the pushups, plank, and hip thrusts as soon as I get out of the shower.  This adds just a few extra minutes to my routine.  I do the sumo squats as I apply makeup (in the morning) or wash my face (at night).  I do the various leg lifts as I do my hair and brush my teeth.  The whole thing takes about 20-25 minutes, which is pretty much the same amount of time I took getting ready anyway.  Now I just multitask the whole thing and I kill about half a dozen birds with one stone.

I’ve been doing this routine twice a day for almost three months, again, with the sole purpose being to feel better about how my clothes fit.  I’m not looking to lose weight because I know I realistically don’t need to.  I simply and honestly just want to fit in the wardrobe I’ve spent months renovating.  And you know what?  It’s working.  My stomach isn’t flat, but it’s getting there.  My thighs are still flabby, but less than they were before.  My butt is still fabulous (I’ve always liked my bum, even when it was cottage-cheesy), but it’s even more fabulous-er than it was.  I couldn’t crush a pop can between my forearm and my bicep, but I’m working on it.  I even, inadvertently, have lost about 5 lbs.  It wasn’t the point, but I guess that’s what happens when you add even the smallest amount of healthy living into your otherwise dreadful lifestyle.

I’ve also started caring a little bit about what I ingest.  I’m purposely drinking more water.  I chose frozen yogurt over ice cream at the grocery store last week.  When I serve myself a meal, I give myself enough to fill me, not twice that, force-feeding myself ALL OF THE FOOD STUFFS.  I refuse to ever be hungry, and I’m not willing to give up the food that I most enjoy, but as a result of beginning to feel good about myself, physically, I almost accidentally began to care about the cause and not just the effect.

I read somewhere that, with exercise, it takes 4 weeks for you, 8 weeks for friends and family, and 12 weeks for everyone else to notice a change.  There are no before and after photos.  I don’t think my transformation is one that anyone would notice but myself and maybe AH.  It’s just not dramatic.  Like I said, I didn’t need to lose weight, so what I was in January and what I am now are two very similar looking bodies.  I just like this one better.  This one fits into the pants I got at Christmas.  This one needs a belt to keep up the ones I bought with my gift cards. 

I recognized that my issues were an easy fix, and so that’s what I did.  Fixed it.  I am fixing it.  And I am beginning to see results.

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18 thoughts on “Fixing It

  1. I’ve been doing this kind of thing lately, too, now that I’m getting better from a car wreck last year. I do ab twists while I’m washing my hair in the shower, and while The Wife is taking a shower in the morning, I get about 10 minutes on the stationary bike. I did just borrow someone’s P90X discs, specifically to get strength back in my right shoulder since that’s the one thing that still consistently aches from the crash. Congrats on making the change!

  2. Good for you! Your routine sounds like something even I could try! (If only I weren’t this special kind of lazy that prevents me from attempting even relatively easy and convenient things).

    My tiny 7y/o daughter was running ahead of me a few days ago, and I realized she was wearing one of my old shirts. “I think I used to be TOO skinny,” I said to my husband.

    “I wish you sounded even a little bit like you believed that,” he said.

    “I do,” I replied. “Because I know I’ll never be that skinny again, so now we speak of it with derision.” So yeah, I’ve pretty much given up. But you said it well, about the “waves of acceptance, apathy, and self-loathing.” I’m feeling apathetic right now, but I’ll get back to the self-loathing soon enough. 😉

    • Oh, been there. I was definitely, for a few years there, way too skinny. I never want to go there again, tricking myself into thinking that that is normal. I know better now.

  3. The “choosing” better thing is pretty huge. The other thing that helps me (when I apply it), is to get take home bags or boxes at the same time as my food is delivered in restaurants. Then I just plunk half of it (which is usually huge) in the box and it saves me from eating the whole thing (which is usually pretty likely, regardless of appetite).

    • That is an excellent idea! The portions are always enormous (what you order from the menu has to satisfy even a 300 lb man, so obviously it’s too much for those much, much smaller), but I always just power through. I sometimes bring some home but more often than not I try my best to eat it all, even if I really shouldn’t.

      • It’s just SO GOOD. Meanwhile, when I cut the portion in half and plop it in the box, i’m GUARANTEED good leftovers, and I feel like I didn’t overindulge.

  4. I remember the too skinny days. I don’t remember feeling I was too thin at the time. Instead I remember a concerned friend’s boyfriend asking if I was ok because I looked skinnier then he remembered. And then there was the time YOU commented on my size when we were dress shopping for your wedding. At the time the comments were made I thought everyone including you had gone mad. Now I can look at the photos and see what other people saw.
    I do the bathroom exercises too because there is a lock on the door and no room for anyone else to watch.

  5. you and i have spoken about this before. we both have weird builds. We’re both busy. I’m in the same sitch as you. I’m fixing it too, but with a midfied, quicker workout.

    good for you. I’m cheering you on.

  6. “We’re all the same, no matter what our size, and that holds true for our delicate self esteems.”

    YES. This is why people need to stop ALL body judging, whether it’s fat-bashing or telling a thin person to eat a cheeseburger. It’s cruel, it’s rude, and it’s none of their damned business.

    Go, you! You kick ass! 😀

    • Yes! “I hate you because you’re so skinny” hurts just as much as “I hate you because you’re so fat.” Mean is mean, no matter what, and it all stings.

    • Totally agreed, and thank YOU Chibi for posting this on FB, I’m so glad I read it! I never thought of multi-tasking in the bathroom… with a hubby and 4 kids, my “alone” time is precious, and rarely ALONE…. I also suffer from some pretty severe social anxiety, so getting any physical activity in with other people around is nearly impossible for me! Definitely going to start trying this TODAY!

  7. You are so refreshingly honest! I think what you are doing is GREAT!! I am the same way with refusing to give things up. Some girls in my cardio class congratulate themselves on how long they’ve gone without carbs and I would be miserable if I did that. We have to LIVE right! That’s the whole point isn’t it? I mean, we are here on this Earth to of course do what we can to keep ourselves healthy but if I can’t have a bowl in of cereal in the morning then dog gone it…I don’t want to LIVE! P.S. I realize that was totally melodramatic but you get my point! Anyway, keep doing (or not doing) whatever make YOU feel good!! I go to cardio but I still have my cereal (and wine and Ice Cream Drum Stick) too!

    • It’s probably two steps forward, one step back this way, but if that’s the only way I can keep eating whatever I want, then so be it. Sometimes it’s worth the extra work if I get to keep the ice cream.

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