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I’ve got a confession.

For the last three weeks, I’ve been taking a Zumba class.

You don’t understand. I am not Zumba. I am not Latiny dance, I am not pop music, and I am not cute aerobics outfits.

But I needed something to help me get back on track and put myself at the top of the to-do list. A friend and I agreed to give it a shot after another friend who mainlines Zumba said, Oh you gotta come. It’s so fun. I looked at her ass and legs that she had whittled down to tiny, muscular rocks over the last year with Zumba.

A week before I went to Australia, my friend and I took the pinky swear. Well, it was actually a “cheers” during a glass of wine, but I’m pretty sure that is more binding.

I returned from Australia and dragged my uncoordinated self to class. So far, so good, I told myself. No 20-something perky bitches who look my way and say to themselves, I will NEVER let myself get like that.

Mostly, it was just a bunch of people in varying sizes and shapes and ages walking around in sweat pants or yoga tights before class. You can do this, Melissa.

The first three weeks, I moved and I watched. The old lady, two rows in front of me, gyrated through the hour of the peppy, Latin-inspired music. If she can do it, I can do it.

Move. Move. Move.

I could follow the warm up and the cool down just fine, but those 55 minutes in between were filled with grand mal seizures, sans the loss of consciousness.

But last night, for the first time, I followed the music (okay, some of it). I still feel like Elaine from Seinfeld in the dance scene, and I’m confident that won’t go away, but for now Zumba offers an hour of activity that goes by pretty fast. So, unlike Elaine, I give it two thumbs up knowing full well there is someone definitely laughing at my antics, but I don’t care.

 

 

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Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow?

Swallowtails shared garden with the bees.

Swallowtails shared garden with the bees.

Since I decided to return to this place, I started dicking with the back end of the blog. Erasing, adding, sighing.

When the blog sat dormant, occasionally, I would meet someone new who would say something like, hey, I found your blog and I really liked it. Hmmm, yeah. I would say. I haven’t logged on in so long.

I don’t think these comments were meant as sucker punches, but they still doubled me over. I wondered if the person sitting across from me saw the embarrassment rise in my cheeks.

I came up with a lot of excuses of why I let this virtual place slip off my to-do list. Most of the reasons had to do with time. But when I poked around the blog this week, I made myself look at About Me and Move It. Was I afraid of what I would find, or was I just too embarrassed and pissed off and disappointed at myself to confront what was there?

I’ve spent the last few months beating the shit out of myself. Why did you let yourself go? You know better. You had this licked. You’re stupid, fat, ugly.

Then I looked at the before photos, really looked at them. I’m not that girl. That girl might have been an extrovert (there are still some things we can’t change), but she was afraid and shy, she hid behind a lot of shit, she refused to take risks, and she blamed others for things that went wrong. And excuses? She had plenty. The invisibility cloak she created with all that extra weight kept her hidden from…well, life.

I may not be my “after” in the physical sense, but I’m closer to that woman than I will ever be to the other one. Could I return to that other strange girl? Maybe, but it occurred to me that a little slippage (okay a lot) doesn’t need to shoot me off on backward trajectory in which I might never return.

So, for today, I’m going to do what I know will help me…the basics. Good food, exercise and a little meditation. I’ll worry about tomorrow… well, tomorrow.

Stupid or Marvelous

I wonder at times if other people find life as challenging as I seem to make it for myself. Everything operates relatively smooth and peaceful for a while and then KABOOM. The whole thing shatters leaving me to pick up the little shards scattered across what used to be a well-defined path.

Does life need to be difficult? I know it can be hard, really hard, but I’m not talking about life-altering detours that I’ve encountered, just day-to-day stupid shit. I feel too old to be struggling with crap.

I felt particularly stressed this week, under deadlines that seemed too big with unexpected transitions that mocked me as I tried to create a new Plan B on the fly.

Well-established habits like exercise vanished, replaced with taunting brownies. I succumbed convinced that sugar, cocoa and butter would calm and help me regroup. Nope.

Thankfully, my mental mechanic intervened before the sugar took me down a swirling funnel toward a vat of chocolate quicksand. She stopped me when I tried to talk about my “stupid” actions, thoughts, fears. Instead she pointed out strength, resolve, capabilities, and told me I needed to practice positive self-talk.

I know she’s probably right, and suppose it’s worth a shot given the brownie didn’t work worth shit. This week instead of turning to the brownie, I’ve committed to tell myself how marvelous I am while I channel a little Billy Crystal.

I’ll let you know how it goes. What are some of the positive things you tell yourself?

Step Back, Move Forward

I felt myself get a little whacky this morning. It’s not entirely surprising. It happens when exercise declines and sugar rockets.

What did seem new though was the fact I recognized I was standing at the precipice, and I actually wanted to step back. It seemed enough to teeter for just a bit feeling no compunction to throw my arms up and lean into the crumbling edge.

Choice. I tell my son all the time that he has the choice of how he is going to view life, choosing to look for the bad or good in any situation. It’s hard to watch him navigate these teen years, and at times I secretly would love to control his thoughts and behavior. However, when I step back myself and choose to commune with the positive, I also realize how little I truly can control.

Much of my life I tried to control and compartmentalize what I saw as the pieces of my life – weight, body image, family, work, friends, the overall search for perfection. However, I may be on the verge of accepting the interconnectedness of it all. The way I treat my body does affect the way I see myself, which in turn blankets the way I interact with all the people in my life. Seems stupid simple, but it still hasn’t stopped me from pushing against the idea.

I have no control over much of what surrounds me, damn. I can, however, regulate my behavior and reactions and outlook on life. When I’m in this space, it seems absurd I would try to focus energy in any other way.

I saw this when I lost 100 pounds. I learned that the weight was not about the food (unless it’s a pan of brownies sitting on my counter at 2 a.m.). I ate for a lot of reasons other than hunger using the weight to insulate myself from life. It was a sad existence, and I never want to return to that place.

As I teetered this morning, there was a moment that I wanted to wallow in the fact that some of those pounds found their way back, far too many to ignore. It’s time to select a different path because the one I’ve been traveling has been taking me in a big fucking circle. I know the science, an easy equation of in vs. out, and now I feel good that I’m choosing to connect with me.

Pause the Slippage

I want to eat a house right now. I nearly ate one last night, and it gave me horrible indigestion all night long. I’d like to avoid the re-run this evening so I’m hoping that pushing pause for just a few minutes to post a blog entry might help.

Part of the problem is I spent some time over the weekend traveling and eating too much sugar, which always wreaks havoc so I’m trying to detox a little. Gum usually helps; of course I have none. I’m sucking on a lollipop trying to constantly remind myself not to bite into it, invariably busting up one of my fillings.

I had a pretty good day with food and exercise so the evening cravings threw off my mojo. I ate reasonably and took a spin class at lunchtime. I also noticed today that I didn’t get extraordinarily freaked out in the locker room. I didn’t even contemplate taking two towels into the shower with me, and I stood naked in front of my locker without feeling major heart palpitations. Shit, if things keep going this well, I might be able to bend over in all my glory and not give a rat’s ass, or stand in front of the make-up mirror next to Naked Woman to compare saggy hooters. Nah, that will never happen.

At any rate, I think I have my head screwed back on and the house might be safe for one more night. What helps you press pause to gain control when you feel slippage?

Look Her in the Eye

I saw her again. Naked Woman She appears unexpectedly in odd places in the locker room like the skinny dude in Where’s Waldo, sans the red and white striped shirt – or the pants for that matter.

Am I the only one who notices her or are others just as intrigued as I am? Does she live in some secret nudist colony right here in Central Ohio? Has she always had a healthy self image? Are bodies just bodies to her? Is walking all around the locker room completely naked freeing? Why do I even care?

I just think there may be a lesson to learn if I push myself to find the answer. I had set a loose goal to moon someone by Lyle’s birthday. I had hoped it would give me some acceptance of my own body, once and for all. I wanted to be able to bare my ass and not give a shit if someone else was going to try to count the dimples glowing their way. I set that particular date as tribute to Lyle since in his younger days he’d been so free to show his cheeky side.

Well, Lyle’s birthday came and went last week, and I have nothing significant to report. Maybe six months was unrealistic; I have after all squirmed in my own skin now for 46 years. Erasing body phobias in just a few short months may have been too lofty of a goal. Now, I’m not entirely convinced I need to subject the innocent to my social experiment. But Naked Woman got me thinking.

The funny thing is when I saw her last week, I realized I have indeed talked with her on several other occasions –had complete conversations actually not realizing that she was the ONE. She even has a locker in the same aisle as mine.

I had no idea. I had been trying so hard not to look at her as she walked around the locker room. I realized these two women were indeed the same when I saw her sitting in the lounge where others put on makeup and finish last-minute primping before heading back to work. She was sitting on one of the cream-colored leather couches flipping through the newspaper, her and all her freshly showered parts, as if she was at home cozy and comfy reading the morning headlines and enjoying her first cup of coffee. I’m not sure if I was grossed out or mildly jealous, maybe both.

Without even knowing it, she put me in my place several weeks ago, but it was before I had made the connection that she was Naked Woman. You see, she has also had some significant back surgery that limited her mobility, but she still comes in the Y and exercises every day. Like an insensitive boob, I came in one day after working out, and said to her, “man, I’m glad that’s over,” to which she replied, “I’m just glad that I can come in and work out.”

Smack. I slinked off to the shower hoping I could wash away my tactless comment. I saw her a few weeks after that and she told me about the surgery, and I confessed about my unintentional insensitivity. She absolved my sins, and I didn’t think much more of it.

I find it extraordinarily funny that I have talked to Naked Woman and never realized it was HER, which again makes me wonder if all of this has more to do about my hang ups than puritanical societal restrictions.

I don’t feel like I’m making much progress in becoming comfortable with my own skin, and it is causing more questions to surface. Will the inquiry help me stare down my own fears?

Twisted Grunders Suck

I think the last few weeks found me with my big girl panties knotted around my ankles. Two-year-old tantrums kept good behavior at bay.

Exercise has been great, but whether I was throwing too many parties in my mouth or kicking and screaming about how unfair life was that my pants are too tight, I found myself a little irked goals weren’t being met.

I’m irritated I didn’t take full advantage of the personal training for the last three months. Friday was my last session with my trainer – she’s moving out of state. I’m bummed. I didn’t meet the food/weight loss goals, but I suppose there was progress, which gives me another opportunity to think about where I want to go from here.

I have a lot of ideas swirling around in my head, but haven’t voiced many as of late, which is probably why I haven’t seen much progress, doh. It’s hard to meet a goal, which just swims in silence when I’ve spent more time aligning myself with a couch and a bag of chips.

I had hoped weight loss, eating and exercise would all be in line by now, but the problem is action needs to follow hope. Not all is a wash though. Exercise is in a good place and I definitely feel stronger than I did three months ago. Instead of beating myself up over what is NOT, I may want to build on what IS working.

A couple weeks ago, I realized I was eating an unmentionable amount of food under the disguise of an evening snack. I’m not sure what the exact caloric intake of a snack should be, but I’m pretty confident it’s less than a Big Mac. Seeing this proof written in a food journal was good feedback even if it did make me squirm.

So, one of the new strategies I decided to employ was to journal backward, beginning with my evening meal. First, it really throws off my mojo and makes me think about what I’m putting into my mouth, but more importantly, it makes me look ahead to the remaining 24 hours, which requires a plan if I want to eat more than the bruised and wilted cucumber laying in the back of my fridge.

This morning and afternoon will require a little creativity given the fact impromptu pizza found me last night. But my new strategy might just work. Last night as I skulked around my kitchen telling myself that I’d already blown it with the pizza, I remembered I still had the morning and afternoon to recover. I grabbed a peach and turned off the kitchen light.

I’m still searching for answers and finding more questions, but at least I’m thinking again. It’s funny how certain things work like magic for a while, but then all of a sudden, not so much. For now, I’m yanking up my big girl pants and concentrating on the here and now… how about you?

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