Thursday, July 16, 2009

Swimsuit Season

How many swimsuits do you own? I have about 5 that are lounging about in my dresser drawer. I wear one of them the most and a second one when I can't find the first one. The others? They're all waiting for me to get back into shape.

One of the five was an emergency purchase - I was about to go swimming somewhere or the other and had forgotten my suit, so I had to take what was available. It is, understandably enough, ugly. Another one, I bought on a business trip many years ago because I didn't realize that Texas really was that frickin' hot in March. Swimming in March? The thought never crossed my mind until I was stranded in a burningly hot TX without a suit.

The one I wear the most often is the "mom" swimsuit. It's boring. Black. Hopefully it provides enough coverage to leave me less embarrassed than I might otherwise be out in public mostly undressed. You know the suit I'm talking about, right? The one that you buy when your body stops being all lithe and pert. When you no longer want to draw attention to yourself and instead just want to fade into the background.

The other two are my favorites, of course. The two I can no longer wear? The ones that scream: "Woo! I'm swimmin' over heah!" I'm out of shape. I've had 3 children since I last wore those suits. Part of me thinks I should just give up on them and give them away.

Another part of me sees them as a challenge.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed an ad about the 30 day challenge a number of bloggers were taking up as part of a review of some video game for the Wii. Not having a Wii, I didn't really care, but the little blurbs that were written about those bloggers piqued my interest. Since the twins were napping, I read through the reviews. All of them.

I was sold.

My biggest complaint about getting out of the house is all about timing. I have to time everything just right so that the twins (or Caitlin when she's in town) aren't over tired or hungry or crabby when I want to get out and do something. Be it shopping, running errands, doctor's appointments or just going to the park, there's a very small window of opportunity that I have to hit just right. Some days it just doesn't seem worth the commotion it takes to get all four (or 5 if Eric's around) of us out of the house. Unsurprisingly enough, this leaves me without any "me" time. You can imagine what kind of shape I'm in since I'm also not farming this year (that's just a long sad story). So, to read about all of these other ladies that were working out in their living rooms, having a good time while doing it and getting in shape? Count me in!

Since I hadn't bought a new lens for my camera as I'd intended this year, I still had my birthday money slowly burning a hole in my bank account. I had Eric do the research to get a good price and we bought the Wii and, most importantly, the EA Sports Active program. And!

I'm not kidding, as goofy as it seems to run in place in your living room, watching your Sim and your virtual trainer, it really works. You sweat, you run, you curl your biceps and play virtual tennis (a sport at which I virtually excel). I discovered very quickly that my legs aren't in near as good condition as my arms. Makes sense, though, when you think about it. I heft a pair of ~20 lb twins all day long, so doing a few dozen bicep curls is no big deal. The running, however, kills me. I sound like a train huffing up a giant hill in the mountains. A wounded train. The first two days showed me that I don't squat nearly as much as I think I do while cleaning up and left me sore for the next 3 days.

It was a good kind of sore. And that was on easy mode.

Now? After the first week, I ramped up to medium and bought a 3 pack of resistance bands to make the exercises more challenging. I still can't run worth a damn and my ankle is complaining (the ankle I hurt when I fell off Misty's roof twisted my ankle on the roof stairs almost fell off Misty's roof and came this close to smashing my camera four years ago) on a daily basis, but...!


While my weight hasn't gone down (yet) and instead has risen (muscle still weighs more than fat, y'all) my body fat percentage has dropped 3%. In two weeks. Woo!

That is progress I can get behind.

it's been fun. I'm halfway through my 30 day challenge and I've completed 11/20 workouts (it has scheduled rest days after every two workouts). It hasn't been easy, but it has been fun and somewhat addictive. I've been drinking a boatload more water, too. The best part is the fact that it's actually having a measurable effect and it's something I can do while the twins are sleeping. To be honest, I don't really care about the number on the scale, I care about how I fit in my clothes and whether parts of me are wiggling when I don't want them to. It's about me getting back into a shape I like and setting reasonable goals for myself. Reasonable like this:
  • Short term goal: fit comfortably into my "normal" clothes
  • Mid term goal: fit into my "skinny me" clothes
  • Long term goal: fit into my favorite swimsuits
  • Even longer term goal: buy new clothes for the new normal, fit version of me and stay that way, dammit!
While I know that it's going to take more than 30 days to get me back into my favorite swimsuits, I'm know that I'm up to the challenge.

How about you? What do you do to get into shape?


Missy said...

I had to start getting in to shape starting mid-April after a physical revealed some issues with high cholesterol and rising blood pressure, along with a few more pounds than I should be carrying for my height.

I started off right away by making changes to my diet. Portion control and eliminating crap food. I make sure to get in at least 30 minutes of cardio on our treadmill every day. I have a treadmill workout that I found on-line, that I like pretty well and varies what I am doing so that I don't get bored.

As of today I am 4 pounds from the goal weight my doctor set for me. I am still trying to decide if I am going to go a few pounds below that to give myself a bit of a cushion.

I notice not only a change in my weight and how my clothes fit, but a real change in my mood. That has been a very pleasant and unexpected benefit.

I have been pondering the purchase of a wii for some time now. Your description may have just sold me.

Good for you for taking time to do this for yourself. It is so important and so hard for many of us mommies to do. Keep up the good work!

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Missy, that's great! Being within 4lbs of your goal weight, not the rising cholesterol stuff, that sucks. Yay you!

It's funny how they say that exercise is a mood lifter, but strangely enough it really is. Of course, when you're down on yourself and trying to GET UP to go get sweaty, that's no fun at all. I noticed once I START moving it's a lot better.

Except for the ankle thing. That sucker hurts.

Let me know if you do get the Wii - tell me what you think! I was totally sucked in by all of the glowing reviews. Definitely pick up a 3 pack of resistance bands, though. The one that comes with it was of the type they used in my physical therapy and doesn't have enough tension in it to make the exercises that use it a real workout.

Ed said...

I know it's been about 20 years since we've seen each other, but I've seen your pictures. You're still skinny as a rail!

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Dude, do you think there's a reason why there are no pics of me below the waist? YES there is! I'm not skinny as a rail. Trust me.

Flattering as that thought is.

For below the waist pics, go see my pregnancy pics. Hah! I swallowed a beachball at the end.

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