exercise withdrawals

Wow. Who knew? I am completely addicted to working out. I was talking to a friend last night about all the exercising I’ve been doing, and how my whole new daily routine has been fantastic, and how I’m actually accomplishing MORE even though I added an hour and a half to my day by going to the gym.

“You know what?” she said. “You don’t sound depressed anymore.”

And then Today happened. I hadn’t planned to go to the gym on Fridays, but I may have to change that. Today I was back to rushing around trying to get me and the kids ready so we could get Ruthie to preschool. I was packing her snacks and getting Thomas dressed at the time we should have been walking out the door.

I felt rage-ful to my core.

We rushed, I barked orders, I was impatient that they wouldn’t move fast enough, and we were 10 minutes late to class. Once I get worked up like this, there are only a few things that will bring me down again: liquor, deep breathing, and kicking the treadmill’s ass.

The contrast of today was a big eye opener to the success of exercise in my life. Here I sit in the dark, unmotivated, lurking on my computer and wasting time, while all week I’ve been a machine of accomplishment all day until I collapse into bed (at 9:30!).


The mourning period over the demise of my old gym is officially over. I have seen the light. Despite the fact that I am now a member of a large, corporate, co-ed facility that could swallow me whole, I’m beginning to see the benefits.

For instance, I never showered at my old gym because I had to pay for childcare by the hour. I would either have to pay for more than one hour, or have a really short workout to leave time for getting ready. So I just came home and showered while the kids ran around screaming at each other.

L.A. Fitness offers Kids Club memberships for $10 per month per kid, unlimited use. Which means that no matter how long I work out, or how many times I go in, it’s only $20/month for me. This means that after just three visits in a month, childcare is basically free (based on their $3 hourly rate).

Can anyone say, HOT TUB? Oh yeah, I think date night just took a whole new turn.

But aside from that, I forget how focused I can be when I workout in the right environment (read: in peace). I walked and ellipticalled about 3.5 miles, worked up a sweat, and felt all the right things burning – my body sighed with relief. I showered in peace, without Thomas taking a marker to every surface of the house or Ruthie climbing on top of the refrigerator for the candy jar.

It was a beautiful start to my day, and I am so embarrassed that I was being such a baby about missing my old gym. It was little, and quaint, and friendly, but now is the time to move on. So I apologize in advance for all the future OH MY GOSH THIS IS SO AMAZING posts you will have to endure as I hop into this new routine.

with resolve and trepidation

godismysourcecode-thumb.jpgTwo events collided this weekend, creating the perfect storm for knocking me on my arse. First, I purchased The Message Bible with a birthday gift certificate (thanks Carol!), and second, my friends started a revolution of exercise.

It’s difficult for one to remain lazy in this environment, when friends are running 5k’s and working out four days a week. I’m surrounded by them, these people who are getting their act together. Damn these friends for infiltrating my little bubble of avoidance! I am running out of excuses. I am coming to the end of myself.

This afternoon, as I read through my first verses in a new Bible, this is what struck me:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Proverbs 3:5ish

As I read these familiar words in a new voice, I was suddenly struck by What It All Means – all this ‘recovery’ that I’ve been going on and on about, all this healing I’ve been seeking. Put quite simply, and in terms of my own struggle: worship Jesus and run away from cereal. I have been making poor choices based on what I feel like doing at the time, and it is not going well for me. I’ve been moving in the right direction – in a cycle of planning ahead and getting organized – but it is not enough. I’m leaving out one important ingredient.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go.

I have been ignoring God’s voice to do the right thing. Time has been squandered, money has been wasted, minutes have been shaved off my life – all because I want the comfort and control of being in charge. I have been listening to my own voice, making my own decisions, living as if I know it all.

I hear God telling me to eat that carrot, yet I grab that box of cereal. I hear God telling me to go to bed early, yet I continue on with my reading or writing until the wee hours of the morning. I hear God telling me to get up and start my day, yet I hit the snooze button again. I hear, but I do not listen.

He’s the one who will keep you on track.

I cannot do all things by willpower alone. I must listen to and trust in Jesus. Schedules, diets, menus, and the like are all good, but if I am looking to all of these to solve my problems, then I am trusting in the wrong things. Jesus is what will keep me on track, and so I must look to him. And as I do, check out what his promises are (I swear I am not making this up):

Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!
Proverbs 3:8

Exercising and eating right may be good for my body, but listening to God is good for my health. I really need to get past the laziness and the excuses and just admit that I am worshiping my time, my comfort, and my will more than I am worshiping God.

Tomorrow I will start my workout by 9am (which will actually be Today by the time you read this). I will have already eaten breakfast, donned my workout garb, and fed the kids. I was planning to go to the gym, but Thomas is hacking up a lung, so the Monotonous Machine of Monotony will have to do. I will shower immediately and not lolligag about, distracting myself with emails and feeds.

And I shall follow this routine for three days henceforth, hopefully returning to the gym by Thursday if Thomas is recovered.

I hope I don’t regret writing this post. I’m actually feeling quite vulnerable about it, like I’ve just been to confessional. Once you make a declaration and get it out there, any success or failure is quite obvious. I’m afraid I’m making another empty declaration, one that will leave you nodding with tight lips when you ask how the work-out routine is going and I’m filled with excuses about bickering children and over sleeping and not having enough time to do it all.

I hope I follow through, but I’m afraid I won’t.

And just so I don’t end on that note, I will leave you with this…

Start with God – the first step in learning is bowing down to God… (Proverbs 1:7).

Reasons to believe it may be time to hit the gym again

    5. I toss and turn at night, uncomfortable and restless.

    4. When getting out of bed each morning, I grip the wall nervously, not quite sure if the joints and muscles in my legs will be able to hold me up.

    3. After sitting for an extended period of time to read or write, my back and leg muscles are stiff, and I can’t walk again until I do a little stretch and shift dance.

    2. The needle on the scale appears to be stuck.

    1. When bending over to pull up my pants, something in my back cracks, and I fall to the floor in writhing pain.

I am writing to you from my bed where I am lying flat on my back. And even this hurts, so I will make it snappy:

I think my tail bone fell off.

One minute I am the vision of beautifully dysfunctional health, and the next, I am looking my own mortality straight in the eye. I will be 36 years old next month – not exactly the age in which I thought my body would decide to go on strike. My 72 year old mother just recently starting complaining about arthritis pain, for crying out loud.

Ironically, just yesterday a friend and I were talking about how many more excuses we could possibly come up with before we just got off our asses and exercised. At this point it’s not even about losing weight for me – though that would be an excellent by product. No, I think the important thing for me right now is to be able to walk, and play with my kids, and pull up my pants without my tail bone falling off.

If my chiropractor can fix this, I will see you at the gym on Monday. Or maybe Tuesday… let’s give the back a day to rest, shall we?

Warning: this post was precipitated by trying on pants at the mall today.

This is the second week in a row that I intended to get back on the Monotonous Machine of Monotony and keep track of what I am eating. I had taken a brief hiatus for travel and general laziness, but declared a couple weekends ago that I needed to kick this ass back into gear again and get past this plateau.

Apparently what I meant was, I am going to eat cereal for every meal and sit in my chair reading a book.

For the crazy work-out girl I used to be, I’m not sure what to do with this lack of motivation. Honestly – and not to make ridiculous excuses – but I really miss my old gym, the one that shut down. I transfered over to the new facility, but I have yet to step foot in it, and I really can’t even muster up a little bit of desire to do so.

Lame. I know. Yell at me all you want. I will accept your scorn.

What’s worse, is that we actually have a Monotonous Machine of Monotony in our basement that Bryan uses every. single. day (that bastard), so it’s not even like I have any legitimate excuses what so ever. I have just been undisciplined.

And I am back to feeling sorry for myself for being this way, wishing I looked like this again, or even this, for crying out loud. And to see the date stamp on those posts go back a whole year…. It is discouraging to know that I have been complaining about my body for so long without matching my words with action.

In Recovery, we learned in step 5 to shut up and do something about it (that’s a paraphrase). So I think maybe that I might possibly see about the idea of trying to perhaps think about committing.

Well, I’m nothing if not realistic.

The Man is Simply Wasting Away

Bryan is losing weight as if he’s allergic to it, and he looks great. I’m disgusted by how disciplined he is – the exercise and the eating healthy, and the having only ONE glass of wine a day. One!

And me? I keep fluctuating within the same five pounds – not particularly gaining, but not losing, either. I think these pounds are just very fond of me, and are not interested in maintaining a long distance relationship. They are perfectly content to be right. here. with me.

It doesn’t help that my beloved women’s gym closed down with only three days’ notice. They were losing money and decided to throw in the towel (ha! get it?). They sold all their memberships to the Pure Fitness co-ed facility down the street, but my friend already checked it out and said it was crowded and sweaty and like a meat market in there.

I hate co-ed gyms. I hate them so much I haven’t been over there yet to activate my new membership, and Sunday is my deadline. I’m dragging my feet because I hate co-ed gyms.

Did I mention that I hate co-ed gyms?

Fortunately for me, Bryan bought us a fancy new elliptical machine to facilitate the lack of excuses for not exercising, but my membership is paid through the year so I’d be losing a lot of money by blowing it off. Plus, I like to get out of the house every now and then, and going to the gym helped make that happen.

So, this post is one part pouting, one part feeling sorry for myself, and three parts praise for my fantastic, disciplined, hunk of a man!

Slow and Steady Wins the Race… right?

I was encouraged to discover that while on vacation I still managed to lose five pounds. Or so. I fluctuate a lot depending on what time of the month it is, or what time of day I weigh myself, so it’s hard to remember. Also, I just realized it’s taken me almost a year to lose ten pounds. Or fifteen, depending on whether you count the five pound fluctuation several months ago. Or was that water weight? Anyhow, I guess I’m fine with slow and steady because I’m actually developing healthier eating habits that aren’t just part of a fad diet. I’ve discovered healthy things that I enjoy eating so that when I occasionally splurge (on alcohol, and maybe not so occasionally), the impact isn’t very damaging.

One fourth of my goal has been accomplished! Soooo…. if I continue at this rate I’ll make my goal weight in… three years? Not what I was hoping for, but as They say, slow and steady….

Who IS that hot woman????

Skinny PictureHey, it’s ME – about 8 or 9 years ago. When I stumbled across this picture over the weekend it shocked me. I really did, for a split second, wonder who this was. First of all, CHECK OUT THAT REALLY COOL HAIR!! Did I have awesome hair or what? Short hair was really good to me when I was skinny, but not so much after two kids and 40 pounds. I am finally coming to terms with that and growing out my hair.

I didn’t even remember that it’s POSSIBLE for me to be that skinny. I mean, look at the definition in my cheek bones! And the separation between my boobs and my belly – they are TWO SEPARATE PARTS OF MY BODY! And look how cute I am in a shirt that actually buttons closed without that button-popping seem-stretching look.

I have to admit, I cried a little when I saw this, because it seems so impossible for it to be me.

I have lost 13 pounds and one pant size over the last couple months, and my momentum is only gaining. I was very encouraged to have made it through Thanksgiving without any damage done. This is a great accomplishment, so why do I still feel like I will never look this good again?

I don’t know that I need to be as skinny as I was in this picture. After all, I’m pretty realistic about what birthing two kids and a slowing metabolism can do to a woman’s body. I’d be happy to lose at least 30 more pounds, maybe 40. That will still not put me at what I weighed in this picture, but I will be healthier than I am now, and it will be a more realistic weight to maintain.

Reality check. Encouragement. Motivation. Possibility. These are the reasons I’ve posted this photo on my refrigerator.

Things That Bring Stillness

I’ve been attending a yoga class at the gym once or twice a week for the last month, and today is the first time that I felt strength and confidence through the process. I’m getting the hang of it. My shoulders are feeling stronger to hold my weight, my calves are limbering up as I stretch, and I’m able to hold more of the difficult poses.

Today I was getting so into it, that as I breathed and stretched, I actually felt the urge to cry. This is not unusual for me. I often feel like crying after a good massage or a chiropractic appointment – I think it’s my body’s response to a release of tension.

I think in light of the emotional stress my own anger problems cause me, yoga has actually been a more beneficial exercise for me than a regular aerobic workout. It slows me down, causes me to be patient and content, and brings me into focus. Yoga is not a competition, or a task to complete, or even something I can do while reading the gossip magazines. I can’t multitask yoga. I have to be still in body and mind.

I’m not losing any weight, but lately none of that seems to matter, because yoga doesn’t seem to be as much about the end goal as it is about the discipline of just doing it.

Har! Har! Har!

I’m working on another video project these days so I have nothing to say at the moment. But I will leave you with this riotous quote for today. It comes from this post over at Mommy Needs a Cocktail.

“When given an opportunity, a woman will lie about her weight. And I have only two men in my life right now–Ben and Jerry. And they love me unconditionally and want me to be happy.”

Woo Hoo!

Ass Minus Ten Pounds

Last Thursday I was discouraged because I hadn’t lost any weight. I wasn’t too worried about it because I knew I had splurged a little on Mother’s Day when a few men made their wives a fantastically decadent brunch complete with Mimosa’s. Also, I ate my gift of chocolate covered raisins liberally (my favorite!!) all week long. Plus I had several Margarita’s a day in celebration of the warm sunny weather.

But still, it was disappointing.

Well, HELLO MONDAY! Perhaps I was bloated last week, because today I am two pounds down! Which makes a total of…. (drum roll, please)…. TEN POUNDS LOST!

And how did I celebrate? I worked my ASS OFF (quite literally, if you think about it)! Today on the Monotonous Machine of Monotony and on the treadmill, I discovered the ‘random’ button, which keeps my muscles and heart rate from getting lazy and into too much of a rhythm because I’m basically going up and down hills.

And? And! I JOGGED the last three minutes of my treadmill routine! Once I got over the distraction of my ass fat bouncing wildly like a pile of jello sitting on a washing machine, my endorphins were so high I was doing that cheesy grinning with my eyes closed thing.

Yes, thank you, thank you. I am warmly receiving your cyber pats on my back for a job well done.


As predicted, you have not heard from me for awhile. Last night I chose to read some of the blogs in my RSS reader and not watch commercials. The night before that I took a hot bath with lavender oil and read a book. During the day I’m trying to stay busy doing the things I’m supposed to be doing, rather than distracting myself with writing posts, reading blogs, or not watching

I’ve also been in a very poor head space, having lost my temper twice with Ruthie this week, and having launched into a volatile, all-caps, IM argument with Bryan on Tuesday. All of this required some serious garden therapy to clear my mind, and I was able to put new perennials in one whole section of my yard and re-route some of the drip hoses my dad installed for me.

Piling It On (And Taking It Off)

I finally made it back to the gym today after a short hiatus for puking children and yearly check-ups. I was encouraged to see I had lost another pound. At this rate – a pound a week – it will take me nearly a year to hit my goal weight. But my new doctor encouraged me that taking it off slow and keeping it off is far better than taking it off fast and gaining it back.

I wanted to tell her to shut up, but I like her too much for that.

Listening to the Good Voices

While working out on the monotonous machinery of sweat I spent some time in prayer, and I felt the Lord reminding me of the man who sat by the pool of Bethesda in John 5. Though he could be healed by the waters of the pool, he had by lying there, lame, for 38 years.

6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
7″Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

This is how I’m beginning to feel about my current state of mind – like I’m just sitting around wallowing in my anger and depression waiting for something miraculous to happen in me that will make it all different. And since it hasn’t happened yet, it must be somebody else’s fault that I’m still a bitter mess. But while I was on the monotonous machinery of sweat this morning I clearly heard God ask me the big DUH question: “Do you want to get well?”

So that’s what I’ve spent my morning chewing on. Do I want to get well.

How TiVo has ruined my recreational multitasking.


How am I supposed to get anything done anymore with all the commercials eliminated? When do I go to the bathroom? Grab a snack? Switch over the laundry?

When do I read the next chapter? The next blog? Or write my next post for crying out loud?

I can’t get anything done when compelled to fast forward through all the commercials!

And to top it off, I went to see a naturopathic doctor today who told me to exercise 5 days a week and go to bed by 10pm.

HA! I said.

In fact, I think I said, Ha! Ha! Ha!

So if you don’t hear from me for awhile, it’s because I’m working out. Or sleeping. Or Not watching commercials.

Better Off Abstinent

Fat Free Cheese

I grew up in Minnesota, the Land-O-Lakes, Dairy Country, and neighbor to the Wisconsin Cheese Heads. Asking me to cut down on my cheese consumption is like asking a Packer fan to hug a Viking.

It’s not going to happen.

So in order to accommodate my need for cheese AND my desire to continue the decline of my pant size, I purchased a package of fat free shredded cheese.

At first I didn’t notice a significant difference. I was just happy to still be eating cheese and not have it take up half my calorie allotment for the day. But today? Today I was in need of some comfort. You know how it is: the gray, the drizzle, the cozy jammies. These things all add up to NACHOS!

So I laid out a modest portion of chips, sprinkled on my fat free cheese, loaded it with green onions and tomatoes to help fill it out, and popped it in the microwave.

Oh. My. Gosh. Fat free cheese is dead.

It does not melt. Its lovely orange color turns gray and pallor when warmed. It tastes like cardboard. I’m not sure I could ever look at another shred of fat free cheese again.

Forgive me, Wisconsin, but your skinny cows have issues.

But what I’m REALLY saying is that I just finished off the chili cheese casserole before going to bed. Which is DEFINITELY more points than a yogurt.

The 'Before' Picture

Check this out, girlfriend! Go ahead, click on that picture to get a GOOD LOOK at the housewife who let herself go. This is my ‘before’ picture, and sweet moses I hope there will be an ‘after.’

(And while you’re gawking, take a look at those saggy jugs! Aren’t they horrible? They’re, like, resting on my stomach! Thank God for Isabella’s fondeling, because now my boobs are so perky in their new bras that they actually breathe a sigh of relief when they are set free to relax).

But I digress.

I re-joined Weight watchers last week, which is always an eye-opening experience for me. This is the third time I’ve used the program (only the 2nd time I’ve seriously tried), and I’m always surprised by how certain food choices affect the amount of food I’m allowed to eat in one day.

For instance, I always figured low fat blueberry yogurt was a good food choice for a snack, which it is compared to, say, a bowl of cereal (my favorite), but it uses 5 points out of 24 allowed for the day so I need to make sure all my other meals can accommodate a 5 point snack. Better snack choices that use only 2 points are carrots with hummus, or string cheese – both are yummy and filling. Also, I love sandwiches, and tuna is a great option for dieting when made with light mayo. However, a tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread is 8 points, versus a tuna WRAP made with a tortilla being 5 points. One choice means all I get for lunch is a sandwich, and the other choice means I can also have a piece of fruit or some cottage cheese and still come out at only 6 or 7 points.

All this is to say I’m currently struggling with my DESIRE to lose weight as it conflicts with my WILL to let go of favorite things. The other morning I had an omelet made with cheese, Canadian bacon, and egg whites, which is a great, filling breakfast for low points. But I also wanted an English muffin, which is only 2 points so that’s not so bad. The clincher is I LOVE real butter, and even a small amount of butter adds up to more points than the English muffin itself.

I need to keep reminding myself that Weight Watchers is a good exercise in discipline and perseverance. My eyes have really been opened to how much Bored Eating I do, and how easily I give in to my urges. When I’m hungry, the first thing I reach for is something comforting like cereal or nachos. And I graze. Oh, the undisciplined, gluttonous, grazing. When I eat balanced, filling meals, I’m not even hungry throughout the day. It’s only when I make stupid, points-eating choices like fattening salad dressing, or buttered toast, that I’m left feeling unsatisfied.

As discouraging as this first week has been regarding my over-eating, I’m chalking it up to a first draft which will continue to be edited as time goes on.