Monday, September 10, 2012
This happens every so often, usually when I skip a week of working out for something else. In this case, I spent weeknights working feverishly on a creative pursuit that came together with a brilliant bit of speed. I spent more time in front of the computer typing than I did in the Y biking, though it was an off week for classes. Neither did going dancing at our 20 minute intro class (free) seem at all appealing and I pulled out of the appointment. Meh.
The old war of loathing and dislike is back. It upsets me that I can workout so much without any changes; if anything, my thighs are squishier and larger than they were. I try to tell myself this is normal and it's just a point of muscles building up because I do a lot of lower body exercises (elliptical, walking, biking, and especially cycling around in the pool during aquafit) but nothing else is changing. I look like a darned Reubens.
My beau's sister posted a photo from late May from me behind. By this point I'd been very active. I was really repulsed by what I saw, and it just dims any lustre on trying harder or even wanting to shop at all for a ballgown.
I feel like I'm the size of Snufflufagus. :(
Monday, August 27, 2012
A Viennese ball is the centerpiece of my boyfriend's and my forthcoming trip to Austria in February. Imagine a night full of the bespoke couples whirling to the strains of great Austrian and German composers -- the Strauss family, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and Mahler played by a live orchestra in a glorious Rococo building. Think of swishing ballgowns and tuxedos, livelier American pop played in another room, and endless smiling faces. That's the Viennese ball experience in a few lines.
The beau's innate confidence and dance experience prepared him well in advance of buying the tickets, but I last attempted extended formal dancing some time between my senior prom and my cousin's wedding. Neither evening came with extensive lessons or certainty upon my part, but four successful months of grinding along with aquatic aerobics removed some doubts about tackling one of my great fears in life: learning how to properly dance.
Tomorrow we go for our first complementary lesson at the Arthur Murray dance studio, and I dumped all my expectations -- negative and positive -- at the door. I anticipate stumbling, nervous or self-deprecating laughter, and carrying on as I try to mirror the instructor with some degree of success. That's a far cry from the me who hates looking foolish or incompetent. Am I still uncertain? Absolutely, but I know I will improve with practice and putting faith in myself and my partner. In order to learn, setting aside the deafening roar of negative self-talk or assumptions is the first step to listening to the teacher.
Since the beau has reservations about increasing his activity level, I hope ballroom dancing brings multiple positive benefits to us. One, we get a night out together doing something together other than a restaurant or a movie (cheaper and healthier all around). The weather has no bearing on whether we can execute a clean spin. Two, a new activity engages our attention with unfamiliar patterns (me) and refreshed knowledge (him). He dislikes the dull routine of the gym and feels uncertain about losing limited free time post-work to toil away on a treadmill. Three, as a couple's activity, dancing allows us to help one another out and cooperate for a mutually fulfilling end. He can boost me up when my spirits flag, and I can giggle into his shoulder when we get something right. His enthusiasm for dancing encourages me to give waltzing a shot and to see whether we can make this a shared exercise activity.
Dancing will be hard work and a time commitment to master properly, just like my aquatic aerobics class has been. The results may not be found on my waistline, if my previous exercise classes are anything to go by (sigh), but I am following the rich and powerful advice of fellow Sparkers. Our progress can be measured in smiles and confidence for that goal of having a great night on the floor, rather than the sidelines, in Vienna.
Sometimes you just have to lace on those dancing shoes and get out there. The music's up, and NOW is your time to capture the moment. Stop waiting!
Monday, August 13, 2012
Where has July gone? It's fading into the horizon as I close in on my birthday -- one of the big milestones -- and I look forward to trying to make the most of August and September with the hot weather. Time to pull out the bike and get back on the road, take a basic maintenance class so I feel confident in case I get a flat, and enjoy the spectacular freedom that comes with fresh air and no destination in mind. My secret hope is to do one of the Ann Arbor roads swirling with golden maple leaves. Maybe bike to a cider mill?
The last few weeks have been up and down with regards to my progress. I have steadily worked out and taken up the strength-training class on Tuesday night again after drifting away to be a lazy potato. Why did I ever leave this class? It's funny what you learn in retrospect upon returning to a group activity, especially when I realized it wasn't that much of a challenge because I knew the moves. I can spend the entire hour honing my form, increasing the size of the hand weights, or focusing on really isolating my (lack of) abs and sucking them in. What's stopped me from trying Zumba? Unfamiliarity and fear I'm going to look like an uncoordinated mammoth staggering around in a drunken daze. Silliness, I tell you!
HydroFit and aquatic aerobics continue to be a great standby during the summer to cool down and work hard, though I do not feel I am getting a solid workout after 45 minutes. Maybe because the cardio takes place in the water and I don't turn into a sweaty wreck, though I certainly have moments trying to catch my breath. The only effect I find is that my thighs seem to be getting bigger and my weight is still all over the place. But being able to kick my way through Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" or Florence + the Machine's "Dog Days are Over" and Mumford and Son's "The Cave" is definitely invigorating.
I keep having aspirations to work out using strength exercises at work, especially since it's too hot to reliably walk outside. Have I? Working on that. Mostly I need to bring in capris and a shirt to feel comfortable, and get over the discomfort. But that can all be managed without shelling out extra cash!
What these past weeks have taught me is that the problem may lie in what I eat -- occasional, mindless snacking in the evening is my bane -- and I need to up my water content. I could stand to mix up my routine working out a bit more too. I don't like seeing tags on clothes again, a good sign that focusing on the plusses of being healthy may be better than agonizing that I'm not down to a size 6.
My motivation is to be HAPPY. And I've learned there is so much grace and joy to be found among friends here.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Some women have wedding dresses as their incentive, others their grad gowns or a bathing suit. True to a child who idolized Princess Diana (and met her joyously on the streets of Victoria as a girl), my motivator happens to involve plush fabrics, a corset bodice, and a seven meter train designed by the likes of Alexander McQueen or my latest crush, Christian Dior.
You don't want to see my Vienna Pinterest, promise. However, given my pocketbook can barely accommodate the concept of a princess-like ballgown, it's off to check out the designer resale shops in the area. A number are on the lookout for glorious gowns worthy of a midnight quadrille on the shining floor of the Baroque Kursalon, where Johann Strauss and Habsburg emperors once ruled.
Pardon the hideous quality of the phone camera, but at least I fit into this one. Sort of. It's a pretty enough gown that hides some of the flaws and still gives a hint of where I need to improve; notably, those poor arms and my stomach. Maybe a string of these will show what effect if any my working out is having!
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