“You never finish anything you start!”
“What about the PTA?”
“Well, that was just because it conflicted with Save the Whales.”
“Uh huh. Then what happened?”
“Well, I, uh, thought Hands Across America was more important.”
“Well I rest my case!”
I’m really awesome at the whole starting part. Because, well, that is the easy part; the fun part. I get pumped about joining the gym, looking at all the shiny equipment that it going to give me Jessica Biel’s arms. I get pumped about all of the great upbeat music I am going to download. I get pumped about water bottles and spandex and sports bras and tank tops that say witty things like “I am a slave to pilates!”
Pumped, of course, until.
The first cold.
The first heel ache.
The first blister.
The first time my favorite yoga pants are in the wash.
The first flu.
The first snowstorm.
The first time I find myself in the kitchen standing at the counter eating 5 pancakes, 2 pieces of 12-grain bread, 4 scrambled eggs and 9 slices of fake bacon.
I am not even kidding.
I started exercising again, though. You may have noticed because I’m super annoying on social media about it. (For my heart. For my body. For my kids.)
I know what you’re thinking, though, “Well, here we go again. This is going to end like, well, like that time
or 14 you joined the gym and quit or that time you did the 18-day shred or that time you even almost ran a half-marathon and trained until the bitter end and then, well, just didn’t run because of something like bleeding feet or that time you went and got yourself a full-time job and couldn’t figure out how to fit regular exercise into your routine. WE HAVE SEEN THIS BEFORE, ALI. JUST CUT THE SHENANIGANS RIGHT NOW.”
And I feel you. I DO. I basically hate myself too right now as I type this. Because I remember. I once was a biker. I once was a runner. I once did barre class on the regular. Heavy on the once.
It’s all my sister’s fault (You can blame her).
I had decided before spending two weeks with my family in Nashville that I was going to avoid sugar in the form of dessert, mostly to avoid consuming an entire chocolate cream pie (or two) and an entire pumpkin pie (or two) as I have been known to do. But my older sister, bless her, decided to add a wrinkle to this plan: “Oh, I’m signing us up for four sessions of OrangeTheory in Franklin. At 8:15 in the mornings.” Happy vacation* to me! (*Vacation pshaw.)
I survived the first class. I survived the second class. I looked forward to the third class. And by the fourth class, I knew I’d be signing up back home in Toronto. I love the math of it, the sweatiness of it, the challenge of it — competing against myself to do better, to run faster, to burn more calories, to jump higher in those jump squats, to stay in that orange zone for longer.
I’m convinced that my body is broken. I have been to the doctor, twice, had a full workup, twice, and, well, other than my b12 being a bit of an underachiever, I am fine. The reason I’m not losing weight (and haven’t been able to lose weight in over two years) is because of two things:
1. AGE (which is the actual worst) and
2. A broken metabolism from years of abusing it. <—– This one is a tricky one. I spent my teens and twenties destroying my metabolism. I used to be able to skip meals and lose two pounds. Breakfast? Didn’t touch the stuff. Calorie counting and restriction—Lather, rinse, repeat. Days of eating nothing but rice cakes. I was thin, sure. But one day [after I gained 10+ pounds in 6 weeks from a terrible, terrible anti-anxiety medication that I had to quit cold turkey because it was making more anxious than anything ever had in my entire life] my metabolism was like NOPE! We’re done here.
What happens now is a fun* joke. I try everything and nothing works. I stay exactly the same. (*It’s not actually fun.) And then I go on vacation and put on 1 pound, which sticks like glue and never goes away. And then I go visit my parents and put on another pound. And, yes, you guessed it, that one is here to stay as well. And then I go to Israel and put on two forever pounds. So, the scale only moves in one direction. I’m collecting pounds like my son collects football paraphernalia. I realize this is just how it is — I’ve accepted it.
I’m trying this. For my heart. For my body. For my kids. Not to lose weight. That ship has sailed, I’m afraid. But to be healthier. To maybe help with my insomnia. To make me feel less sloth-like. To feel more comfortable getting dressed. To get stronger. TO FEEL BETTER.
What’s an extra ten, twelve, fifteen, now sixteen pounds if my body and mind are strong.
And I get it, I’m a serial exercise quitter. So, you have little faith in the longevity of this obsessionslashplan.
But, well, remember what happened with Phyllis?
That’s right. She found her groove in the form of a khaki-colored silk shirt and a hunter green kerchief. She was a goddammed awesome troop leader to those girls from Beverly Hills.
(Beverly Hills, what a thrill!)
So, that’s that.
This one is going to stick. Yes, this one is going to stick. (How many times must you do something until it’s considered a habit? 66 days, I think?)
It has to.