The Truth About “Shedding for the Wedding:” Part 2
A few weeks in: I’m still here.
Let me backtrack a little to bring ya’ll up to speed.
Last week was literally amazing. I went shopping and bought myself fresh fish to cook for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed both the experiment and the yumminess of the task. Things I learned:
1) Flounder is cheap and actually pretty darn good. I cooked it in a little tin foil pouch with lemon like I’ve seen done a million times on Food Network and have always wanted to try for myself. It was worth it.
2) Tilapia is NOT my thing. I just tasted like pure fish extract. Not a go.
3) Salmon is still my #1 fav and I’ll have to buy it when it’s on sale because it just can’t be beat.
4) A half pound of fish goes a really long way! It was plenty for a full, delicious serving for dinner.
This week, not so much. I’m craving sweets like none other, along with all things crunchy and salty. I was worried I was missing some good protein but nothing seems to hit the spot. I was excited about my healthy choices before, but this week they feel more like a cage. To be fair, I had a miserably unhealthy weekend that included 3 nights in a row out with friends, complete with drinks, appetizers, and unbalanced meals, so perhaps I’m reeling from letting some of those bad meals sneak in under the radar. It’s pretty hard to say “no” to fried mozzarella after Glass o’ Wine #3.
My friend convinced me to try a spinning class in town. I figured, okay, I’ll bite.
In a nutshell: the first night, I died.
Well, okay, let me rephrase that. I didn’t die, because I couldn’t do half of what they were doing, so I didn’t do it. My fiance is an ex-personal-trainer and he insists that if something hurts too bad, don’t do it. When we used to go to the gym together, he’d always hold me back, because it wasn’t worth me doing something stupid to my not-in-shape body just to try to get in shape. So, while I understand “pushing yourself,” I do tend to be hyper-aware of that little pop feeling in my knee or that tightness in my hip, and I bring it down a notch as a result.
So the day after my first spin class, I wasn’t even sore. And during the 45 minute class, I kept staring at my watch thinking, “This is lame, I’m bored.” But the worst and most confusing thing was that when the instructor told us all to “Stand up!” off our bike seats…
I couldn’t do it.
I don’t know what the heck my problem was. It was like I didn’t have any legs underneath me. I could not stand up and pedal. I used to ride my bike all over town when I was in high school, so it’s not like I don’t know how. But I literally felt like I was trying to swim without limbs. It just could not be done.
My friend was sweet. She gently assured me that it gets better every time you go. I was pretty discouraged at my lack of ability. What the heck was wrong with me?
I went to my second spin class two days ago, about a week and a half after my first. Let me tell you, it was a revelation. First off, I had the instructor fit me to my bike, which probably helped a ton. But there I was, much, much more able to keep up with the crew. I still had to go at my own pace, but I had my butt up off that seat, no problem. And I wasn’t bored, and I didn’t think it was lame. I was focused and engaged and it felt great. I still wasn’t super sore the next day, so I know my boundaries can be pushed harder than I’ve been pushing them, which is a great bit of knowledge to gain about yourself.
I nixed working out quite a bit last week and was finally like, okay, I HAVE to go run. So I put on some new sneakers I’d bought that weekend and went to jog my lumpy self down the street. Let me tell you, I was a sad sight. It was slower-going than ever before. I dragged myself through the first leg of my trek and thought, “Oh gosh, this is going to be a long 20 minutes.” After I cut out halfway through my usual first big run (remember, I run/jog/walk in spurts throughout my 20 minutes of “exercise”), I slowed to a snail-like pace and gave in to the defeat of the consequence that comes with not working out for too many days in a row.
And maybe after about 10-15 steps, my body suddenly woke up and was like, “Wait a second, I can do this,” and out of nowhere, I ran — I kid you not — 3 times as far as I ever have on my usual course. I stopped and slowed to a speed walk for a few paces and then picked up again, ran all the way down my street, across the road, and all the way up the next street, including up a massive hill that I see in my worst fitness nightmares. I felt better than I ever have. I slowed at the top of the hill and walked back down the road, across the street, and back to my street, and then sprinted uphill until I got to my house.
It was fucking unreal.
My legs are about 2 feet long and I’ve got my dad’s athletic calves and thighs that are unfortunately nothing but pudge and epidermis as opposed to well-defined muscle. If you remember my description about my butt, running with that is like running with an extra weight strapped around your middle. And here I am, speeding through my neighborhood like I freaking own the place, no problems.
I got home and felt like doing more, but I had a fetch date with my border collie. I was also secretly worried this was some sick joke my body was playing and I was going to drop dead in the street if I continued.
The absolute best part about this freak phenomenon was the rest of my night: I was happy, the living definition of jubilant, dancing and singing around my kitchen all night while I cleaned, cooked, and ran around like an Energizer Bunny getting sh*t d o n e! I couldn’t believe all the joyful feels running through my bloodstream, I was actually overwhelmed by all the motivation. I had a solid stream of energy until about 10:15 when I promptly passed out. It’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced, and just about the only thing that keeps me going on any given night when I don’t feel like working out.
This week’s big take-away:
I’m learning a shitload about my body.
Like I said about spin class, the fact that I’m not really sore the next day tells me I hold back way too much. It’s true, I have an extremely low pain threshold, which is a really nice way of saying I’m a total wimp. I have to step it up a notch. After my epic neighborhood run, and accomplishing the simple task of the stand-up-pedal on the spin bike, I’m realizing I can endure more and more, and that proves that my body is getting healthier way more than any number on a scale can (Note: I still haven’t weighed myself since hitting 132 at my parent’s house 2 weeks ago).
Being overly-critical of my body has its pluses and minuses, too. When I notice the parts I want to change, I realize they’re really an effect of a totally different cause. For instance, slimming down my back really has to start with my arms, because my unsightly shoulder blades is actually more carry-over from my upper-arms and shoulders. Same with my bum — I noticed that this pesky little row of flub right under my cheeks is actually more about my inner thigh that it is about my gluteus maximus.
Also worth noting, I am really, really tired this week. I can’t seem to get my burst of energy or motivation like last week. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not working out as much or if it’s all just finally catching up to me (could also have something to do with epic hangovers all weekend).
I’m also trying to run with a “quantity over quality” rule for food intake. It’s certainly better if I eat healthy, but if I eat A LOT of healthy, then that’s not good, either. It’s not great to eat crappy bar food, but if I have a meal of crappy bar food and stop when I’m full, then I’m at least saving some face there. I want to eat healthier, for sure, but I don’t want to be miserable. I’d rather collect myself a little serving plate of hor d’oeuvres at a party and munch happily on a controlled portion than have to force myself to stay far away from the table and sip on lemon water in agony. Last night, I wanted ice cream and Chic-Fil-A, and I just did it.
… and then immediately signed up for a spot in spin class.
With any luck, when I check in again next week, Easter sweets will not have buried me in regret and I will still have a shred of dignity to hold on to.