Monday, September 20, 2010

On the Right Track

Yes, I've been absent from these pages for several weeks. Sorry! The start of the school year has been a bit overwhelming as I juggle teaching, supervising a student teacher, getting Drama Club and Speech Team geared up for the year, and handle my personal life. The big change, of course, has been my ongoing mission to get myself in some semblance of a healthy shape. After a summer of concerted healthy eating, I've kicked it up a notch this fall with the addition of exercise.

Here's one of my dirty little secrets: I love working out. I do. I love the feeling of muscles stretching and building as I put them through their paces -- whether it's on the elliptical, a bike, or lifting weights. I love the feeling of a healthy sweat, an "earned" sweat. I love dropping into a "zone" where I can pop on my iPod, slough off the stress of the day, and just be one with me, myself, and I. Once upon a time, I was a religious worshipper at the altar of exercise. I had a Y membership and would spend nearly 2 hours every day working out. It was during this time that I lost over 100 pounds. And then I got lazy and skipping the gym became easier and easier until I found myself cancelling that Y membership and letting the flab return as I shoveled more and more unhealthy foods down my throat. Part of it was fueled by an increasingly packed work schedule, part of it by a brief bout of depression, and part of it by hideous laziness. I was frustrated as the clothes I had purchased during my weight loss became tighter and tighter and I found myself easing myself back into the pants that had once been shoved in the back of the closet for falling down whenever I wore them. But rather than letting that frustration fuel a return to better eating and exercise, it just helped me spiral into worse and worse habits.

I'd like to say that my return to a healthier lifestyle was spurred by some grand revelation, but more than anything, it was fueled by the fact that I was having a harder and harder time finding clothes in my closet that would fit. Yes, folks, it was the thrifty Yankee who kicked my ass into gear by refusing to go out and spend money on bigger pants. The thrifty Yankee convinced me to begin the process of carefully monitoring everything that went in my mouth and to take advantage of the free access I had to the community college fitness center after having taught a class there this summer. The thrifty Yankee is smart and knows how to bribe the not-so-thrifty side of me -- promising new clothes as a reward for good behavior. As the pounds slowly began drifting away this summer, I added new clothes to my wardrobe -- in a smaller size than I wore last spring. I bought new pants, new tops, new workout clothes.

Now, as September nears its end, I've lost just a little over 25 pounds. I've already reached a point where I can spend a little more time doing cardio without feeling like I'm going to pass out from exhaustion. I am flooded with a renewed confidence in myself -- a confidence it's honestly been awhile since I've felt. I know that I am still in the early stages of this journey to a healthier me, but I feel like I've maybe turned a corner and that those days of sitting on the couch shoving potato chips down my throat just may be a thing of the past.

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