Ratchet: after a Monday workout
We’re closing in on the end of our six-month contract of personal training. I can still conjure up the feelings and thoughts from early January: how hard it was to get out of bed and get myself to an early morning workout; the queasy feeling in my stomach—was it too early as I’d always thought, or was I nervous?; the buckets of sweat I poured; and the exercises I never thought would get easier or more fun. Now, six months later, I’ve surprised myself with a new body, a new outlook, and a whole lot of new information.
Those of you who know me will smile wryly when I admit that I’m stubborn in my beliefs and the stories I have in my head. I make decisions based on my beliefs and based on evidence, often from experience. Once I have these stories going, it’s hard for me to see a new view. There are many things that Rachel has told me over and over, which I have resisted, and then come around to when evidence suddenly presents itself through experience. I’ve had a lot of these stories in my head for a long time and I’m now surprised by evidence and experience showing me these stories are not necessarily true. One of the main stories I’ve had about myself is about my body shape and size, about how I’m made genetically, and about what can change and what just is. Now that story is changing: I’m finding all kinds of things I thought were physically permanent from nature or nurture are changing. I’m finding many things I didn’t know and some things I still don’t.
I had a story that I was a fit person encased in a layer of fat. I thought if I could get the fat out of the way, the fit, strong person would just show up. Now that I have some actual muscles and muscle tone, I can feel that I was most certainly NOT a fit person encased in fat. I was an unfit fat person, who is now lighter and stronger. This new feeling is a much more beautiful feeling than the story I was telling.
Also learned recently? Fat thighs prevent you from crossing your legs. I’ve never had an easy time crossing my legs and I figured it was the way I was built—and now I’ve found out through experience that it’s true. Slimmer thighs, more muscle tone, and voila! Now I’m crossing my legs with the other cosmopolitan ladies. This is not something I was missing or yearning for, but like discovering a feeling of strength, I find it nice to be able to cross my legs! If you see me sitting with legs crossed, please note that I am likely smiling and enjoying myself. I love the little things!
Strong self-storyteller that I am, I really had no idea that my smaller pants would get too big. Over the years, I saved 8 to 10 pairs of really great pants that I insisted I would fit into again. Good news, I did fit into them again … and now they’re too big! I knew I’d lose a size, but I really hadn’t thought further than one size. It feels amazing to be able to buy pants in normal stores—the places that didn’t carry my previous size. I also have an unexpected sadness letting go of all those great pants I held on to for so long. Bye pants. Hope someone else loves you as much as I did.
I also didn’t know that my inexpensive, beloved, and blessed-on-the-day wedding ring would get too big. I was focused on so many other, grosser areas of body fat that I didn’t give a thought to my fingers—even though I knew intellectually how weight-loss works! Now I have to be careful when I wash my hands so I don’t lose my ring. (Gettin’ legally married this year? Yep! Getting new wedding rings that fit? Yep!) It’s also real evidence that we are thinner now than when we got married.
Another surprise benefit is that my book bag has stopped swaying and rubbing holes in my clothes when I walk. As a light rail commuter, I walk to and from the train with a backpack or shoulder bag full of books, paper, lunch stuff, and other necessities (yes, it’s my purse). I didn’t know until I lost some of the United States of Gluteus Maximus that my bag would stop swaying back and forth and wrecking my coats. This was a sudden discovery. Earlier this spring, I noticed my bag wasn’t moving as much as I walked, and now as I pay attention to it, I can again feel the combo of less fat and better toned and better working muscles improving even the small moments of my life.
Recently, I’m noticing I’m not quite as uncomfortably hot in Minnesota’s 90-degree super-humid weather. Less fat making it better? I hope so, because I’m not moving and there’s global warming and all that. Not being a fat, miserable, Swede for several months in the summer is a huge benefit!
I’m looking forward to another measure of fitness: college football! My brother and I have season tickets to Minnesota Gopher football and most Saturdays in the fall, I’m huffing and puffing up the stadium stairs behind my very fit older brother—a runner and hockey player—who bounds up the steps two at a time. I can’t wait to energetically hop up those steps to upper deck row 22 like he does! I’m also excited to have a little less of me in my seat.
What I don’t know right now is where I’ll end up. I don’t know the healthy weight number for this adult body of mine. I know what it was when I was 20, but bodies change as we all know. As Rachel and I transition out of personal training and into a new fitness lifestyle on our own, I’m interested to keep finding out how I lose the rest of the weight I want to lose, how my muscles keep growing and how I tone, how long it takes, how hard I work at it, and what clothing size I’ll be when I decide to invest in some new pants. I’m not in a hurry. I feel SO MUCH healthier, capable, and body-confident than I did six months ago, that I’m in a good place. But, like Rachel, I am anxious to keep going, to keep up the success, and to keep on with our commitment to being healthy people. I’m sure I’ll continue to learn things to which I’ll reply, “I didn’t know that!”