Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Everybody needs a Yoda (and a Colombian cleaning lady)

I had always hated exercise. I remember doing a very gleeful (and exasperated) "running man" in my doctor's office when she told me I had asthma at the ripe 'ol age of 10. A one way ticket, in the form of a doctor's note, to never EVER having to do any kind of physical ed class in school. Said ticket got me all the way through college. I was home free.

However, I was also a very pudgy girl for most of my childhood/all of my teen years/ and definitely into my twenties. So it didn't take a genius to figure out what had to be done. It took heartbreak (more on that later) and the realities of my health.

So in the beginning of 2009 I began exercising. I had already lost 10 pounds, and was concerned I would have "happy flappy" body parts if I just depended on portion control. It was something that had to be done, yet I had no idea how to embrace the force behind endorphins, and defeat the evilness of my own insecurities.

I needed a Yoda!

And Yoda I got! In the form of a 5'2 feisty spit fire gal with a heart of gold and the determination of a scorned honey bee. A colleague of mine who became a dear friend (more on her later).  Yoda was (still is) a God-sent, and she was a major force behind me learning how to cope with life's shenanigans by using torture (I mean, exercise).

She introduced me to the best torture ever!

This core building, ballet barre using, mental manipulation that proclaims it doesn't really hurt (rather, if it hurts it means you are changing you body, so quit your whining) was just what I needed to get into shape.

And in shape is what I got! I started seeing results right away and was impressed that my waist line was found before the Holy Grail!!!  And I continued to discover biceps, deltoids, and muscles galore. Christopher Columbus had nothing on me (neither did cheese fries)!!!

I continued on this exploration for about a good year, maintaining my physique and embracing this new lifestyle. And then. Shit. Hits. The. Fan.

I got hurt. And out of commission I was. For a long time. Longer then I could have ever planned for. And it broke me down. Both inside and out. All my discoveries went out the window, along with portion control, and I turned to the chocolate lava cakes at Dominos Pizza (yep, that's exactly what I said) for solace.

However, a light at the end of the tunnel arrived in the form of another doctor's note. Only this time, it wasn't the great note of '91 that said I would be unable to participate in physical ed. This was a much happier piece of paper.  I got approval from my doctor that I could workout after almost 6 months of not doing so. Instead of the "running man" I had to contain myself and NOT jump on my doctor with complete joy, potentially hippocratic-ing his oath. I maintained composure, grabbed the note, and ran to the studio to begin classes again! I was elated.

Oddly enough, though, I did not actually work out for about another month. Here's why:

  1. I'm going away in a few weeks to an all inclusive resort, so why attempt at beach bodying when I'm gonna have to undo the redo that is currently hiding all the undo that has to happen!
  2. It's bad luck to start working out on a Thursday
  3. I've got Aunt Flo in town and she's a needy bitch who craves my "right now" time
  4. My boobs have gotten bigger with the weight gain, so it can't be that bad? (I should note that they actually did not seem bigger since all of me went along for this ride of growth)
  5. I suspect my hip isn't ready, and that I am still injured. I am scared.
Ah. The last reason is what is called the breakthrough in therapy. And I didn't need a copay to have this revelation. Instead, I had Yoda. Yoda knew I was scared to death of making the injury worse and also that while the plateau is frustrating and complacent, it's still safer than the ginormous mountain that I was about to climb. I hadn't so much as walked over  any pebbles in the last 6 months, so the mountain did a fantastic job of paralyzing any hope I had of ever wearing my size 4s again. She, however, kept me grounded and sane, never ever giving up on me and encouraging me to just try. 

"Believe in yourself, you must." Ok, she didn't ACTUALLY say it like this, but that was the theme of our convos during the 4 weeks of limbo.

After said four weeks of singing and dancing to the tune of, "Soon, but I really mean never," a major breakthrough occurred. Did I hear the Good Lord from heaven tell me that my hip would be fine and that I can go with Him into the Ambiguous Abyss of Exercise-dom? Did I wake up one morning to my new them song of "One Moment in Time" by Whitney Houston and seize the opportunity to do some cardio?  Did I stumble across an old picture of myself, 45 pounds ago, and declare a great big Al Bundy "NO MA'AM" to the squatter looking back at me??!?!

No, no, and no.

Instead, the lovely Colombian cleaning lady at my job decided to ask me the question that will forever make therapists, Nestle, and Wise Potato Chips that much richer:

"Do you know that you have gotten fatter?"

I should note that she said it in spanish, which may sound lovelier, but I can assure you, I wanted to elegantly cluster punch her in the face. Her sweet and caring face that bared a smile of concern as she enlightened me with a fact I must not have known. I suppose she thought I didn't own mirrors, a scale, or the number of a good stomach stapler.

It was this conversation (and the possible beginning of a felony rap) that inspired me to quit the excuses and get back to the gym. And I did just that. 

First day back to physical education, um, I mean, to a healthier way of life: June 27, 2011. I was nervous, anxious, but ready.

Yoda, on the other hand, was super thrilled. When I told her I had gone back, she gave me a big hug and celebrated this success. In my mind, I felt it was a premature reaction. It was just day one. Surprisingly so,  Yoda read my mind and eased my nerves: 

"We all gotta start somewhere. Welcome back!!"

And just like that, optimistic I was.

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