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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Ghosts of workout past

I have started a new workout regime.  This isn't something that I do often....find a new routine, but every half decade or so, I go on a kick.
A brief overview.. I was a very active kid. Played soccer, track, and tennis. I rode my bike around the neighborhood and sometimes I would just run up and down the hill in our front yard (just for fun).
It wasn't until my sophomore year of high school when my grades slipped. Damn boys, and my parents made me take a season off. They even threatened girls school, but that is an entirely different, and torrid tale.. It wasn't until my year book picture was taken that I noticed that I had put on quite a few lbs.  I reflect fondly of those times when sizes were just a number to me. 4,6,8, 10..it didn't matter as long as it fit.  But one Friday afternoon when I received my school picture my world changed forever. One..why did I choose to wear a beige vest? And two,  when did I get that extra chin?  That didn't stop me from my Friday night ritual of eating pizza.  Then on a lazy Sunday morning I got out of bed ( at noon) to have Cap n' Crunch and my mom was watching an infomercial. I was half awake when I heard the words that would be heard for the next 10 years of my life. " FAT, IS WHAT MAKES YOU FAT" Susan Powters screamed. "STOP the INSANITY, STOP the INSANITY"  Yes, hindsight ( and my father)  will tell you that Fat is not the only thing that makes you fat, but it was on TV, it had to be accurate right? It was at that very moment that I stopped eating anything with a fat gram.  My mom and I went to the grocery store and looked at every label. Fat Free?...well then, lets get it! Coffee Cakes, Milk, Frozen Yogurt, White Bread!  Ahh to be that naive again. I had no idea about calories, or servings, just looked at the huge letters on the front of the package that read FAT FREE. This was also before mandatory nutrition labels became a law, so sometimes it was tricky.   I also joined my first gym. Fitness USA where a pushy saleslady circled areas on a picture of a woman ( which even then looked dated) and told ME where I needed to lose weight. Mind you... I was 15 years old and was not by any means, obese, especially by today's standards.  She also said that if I did just 20 minutes on a stairmaster 3 days a week ( funny, the gym was girls only on those days and I couldn't have worked out more even if I had wanted too) I could look like Jennifer Aniston, and not only that, they had a smoothie bar with FAT FREE smoothies to "reward" myself after I worked out.  Trust me, you don't need to remind me on how ridiculous this all sounds.
Its not surprising how, I caught the excersize bug.  Its genetic. My mom was always playing tennis,  doing jazzerzize and on a diet ( at 70 she still is) and my Dad is thin by nature, but jogged or walked. If there is any good in this trait, I at least hold myself 100 % accountable and not blame anyone (media, parents, my cat) for my weight gain. My siblings workout also and my brother gets paid to take his shirt off, well sort of, but that is a long story, that takes a bit to wrap your brain around so we'll hold that  for another post altogether.
Miraculously I lost weight.  I continued the Fat Free craze to my junior year of college, but I varied my workouts. I stopped going to the all girls gym and started at the best health club in town. I did classes, got a trainer and lifted weights properly.  I was on a pretty good path if you consider, constantly worrying about my fat intake and the size of my clothes, a good path.  I was like a diet info bank, if I heard any diet tidbit, I would deposit it into my "nutritional knowledge" bank and only withdraw that knowledge when needed.  One thing that probably saved my life and in a twist of fate allowed me to graduate from college was that I overheard a guy in the gym say that alcohol suppresses your body's ability to burn fat. DING DING DING!  I think I should find this guy and hug him. Without overhearing that, I surely would have been a lush in college.
Once in college I worked out 7 days a week, and a boyfriend of mine introduced me to protien. Get your mind out of the gutter, I mean the benefit of good protein, and as long as I was 100 % sure it was fat free I would eat it. However one time while he was making me dinner I did see him put a tablespoon of olive oil in the water and I didn't speak to him for days..
This however was a slippery slope into Adkin's-ville. This was very popular at the time. But because I still had a fat gram phobia I didn't eat red meat... So basically the next year I only ate egg whites and chicken breast, skim milk and cottage cheese. Gone was any carb. In my mind, carbs were fat grams evil cousin.  I also wouldn't eat past 7 PM and put a heating pad on my stomach because it hurt so bad at night.   There is no middle ground with me, its all or nothing. I did drop weight very quickly, but my skin was horrible, I was an emotional mess and guess what...the number on the scale became my nemesis.
I then moved to Los Angeles. A great place for a young girl pursing acting with a borderline eating disorder to go, don't you think?
Believe it or not, this is where I found nutritional sanity. I started eating...gasp...vegetables and even fruit!  My workouts ranged from machine pilates, yoga and boxing.   When I hit yet another plateau in my mind I hired a trainer..Albert.
*Obvious Observation: I clearly had nothing else to think about, no kids, no career and my day revolved around food and exercise... not a full life if you ask me... and a bit of a miserable one.

 Back to Albert..I have only fond memories of Albert. He was (is) the best trainer I have ever had. How did I afford this you may ask? Waitressing and the bank of Dad.
Albert and I trained 4 days a week. He discovered my ridiculous strength and taught me to be proud of it.   We lifted weights, did plyometrics and became good friends.  I have since had 4 or 5 trainers and each of them knew, they would never live up to Albert, who btw is a forensic psychologist living in the Bay area.  He is responsible for me looking so buff in my wedding photos..and after close examination, a little TOO buff.
Ut oh.  Now on the the next phase. Cardio- city.  I moved to Indiana and 2 years after that the spinning craze finally made it here.  Two classes a day. 30 min on the elliptical and then the inevitable happened. I, got. pregnant.  If you  heard a world coming to a screaching halt, that was mine.
But it was divine intervention. For me to be thinking of someone other than myself (and husband on occasion) was the best thing to ever happen to me. I cared more about the health of this developing little pumpkin than my..well,  ass. I didn't want a child made of only one thing, like..,crap, so I ate a variety of food, I only exercised for sadly to say....health.
The lifetime of exercise took care of me after my 9 pound baby was born.   Once you have a baby you don't have 4 hours to devote to working out. You don't. No matter what Tracy Anderson says.
Fast forward.  I'm 5 months out of having my 4th son. And have been bitten by yet another fitness bug.  This time its name is P90x. ( so much for easing into it right?)
I'm on day 2. I even took before pictures yesterday, which I strongly DO NOT recommend.  I have already lost all the pregnancy weight, about 2 months ago. Now I'm going for the impossible...abs.
Maybe I am standing at the intersection of Jillian Michaels and Tony Little, but I plan on taking the mommy road less traveled, I will not return to high school me or college me because its impossible. I now drink.


  1. Good Luck with the workout ... i'm doing the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred, although i'm almost on day 90(i only do it 3 to 4 times a week!) My logic is that after 2 emergancy c-sections it will take longer to sort the tummy area out! or at least that's what i would like to believe :) but i've already lost 1 jeans size so i'm happy!(and that's with still eating all the sweets and chocolates i normally do :) i can't help it i'm a sweet and chocoholic!! :)
    Good luck!! Can't wait to see the after photos!! :)

  2. This was great! Memory lane of diets...I remember the "Snack Wells fat free eat a whole bag of nasty cookies phase" and your LOVE for Tony Little's motivation :) I am still working with Tracy Anderson, but agree that I could not do it as recommended with 4 children (not even with 1) and she is getting on my nerves. Still think the "balanced healthy diet, daily exercise, yoga, sleep and low stress diet" is probably the best, but not as marketable or severe! (all or nothing here too) You will do great as long as you DON'T CUT OUT THE CHOCOLATE or WINE!

  3. You know, you could just go my route and run if people are chasing you and eat what you want when you're hungry. :) Of course, that took about 15 years of intense therapy to admit that I was never going to be a size four and that I was ok with it!

    (however, that being said, I so have p90x in my house right now. You know, screw it, let's just hire vince and pete again and run evansville's for hours. Wait, never mind, that was hell calling.)