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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thoughts From The Gym

Today… I am thankful for the fact that while I have not yet lost that lingering 30 pounds… the 40 I shed this time last year is still gone! Now as you’re busy thinking that you just cannot believe I haven’t gotten this done yet, may I remind you that eating to “maintain” your weight and eating to lose weight are two very different things… and while I am committed to finishing what I started here… seriously, I am, I just haven’t gotten around to dropping those extra calories out of my diet yet. HA!

These “lifestyle changes” do take time, you know. HA! But seriously, the good news is I do not eat like I used to and overall am making much better choices. And while I still am guilty of burying a sorrow every now and then with the help of a Reese cup, cheeseburger or bowl of ice cream… I try to keep it to a minimum.

What I have done is consistently exercised – and by exercise, I mean that which involves sweating. And on that note, I feel compelled to provide an “update” to a previous post I did last year about my gym not being so “family friendly”. Early this year, my gym got a new manager… and it is SO much better. They also have retained the same childcare worker since that time (an actual adult who is just lovely), which is very helpful. So while they were off to a rough start, they are finally living up to bringing “family friendly fitness to the neighborhood.”

In fact, we have quite the relationship with our gym friends. Mr. Vince “high-five’s” the kids upon their arrival. Ms. Rose turns on Tessa’s favorite movie and pulls out the trucks Tanner likes in the playroom. And whoever is at the desk almost always turns the big overhead fan on for me (it gets hot) without my even asking. Even after a year of regular attendance, I still can’t say I always like it… but it’s doable, and I admit I feel better when I’m getting it done.

When not absorbed in my IPOD, I am a very avid “people watcher” (and I’m sure people perhaps watch me, but I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t be terribly bored after like three minutes). And so while at the gym I have noticed there are essentially three kinds of “gym people groups” who come to work out. First of all, there are what I call the “in and outs”. This group is predominately male, and traditionally composed of people who appear to be very fit and “in shape” already, with an occasional senior citizen here and there. They arrive, jump on a machine, put in 15 or 20 minutes and are right back out the door. They might hit a few of the weight machines on their way out… maybe… and they rarely seem to break a sweat. They are, again, already very “fit”.

The second group is what I call the “walk arounds”. This group is the biggest and has the most diversity within it. This group often comes in pairs and is most abundantly present evenings and weekends. They arrive at the gym and spend at least 10 minutes wandering around checking things out, debating about which cardio machine they want to use. If they’re alone, they’ll often make random comments as they mosey about, you know, things like, “Oh, you’re working hard,” or “Hey, look at you,” or they may ask for some directions on a cardio machine, or if you know which machine burns the most calories, etc., etc….

Finally, upon making a machine selection, they very casually approach the machine and start their workout, nice and slowly. After about 15 minutes on one machine, they switch to another, sometimes wandering around aimlessly through the weight area for a bit, trying out a machine here and there in between. They don’t have any real plan for their workout and are usually either naturally thin people who have decided to “try some exercise” or overweight/normal people who are testing the workout waters, but aren’t sure what to do or how to do it. The latter may at some point transition into the last group.

And the last group is the “focused” group. This is my group. We are people who are either fat, have been fat, or live in fear of being fat. We’re not working out because we enjoy it, or because we just want to feel better. NO! We are here because regardless of what eat or don’t eat, if we do not show up practically every freakin day, we will probably gain weight! We are serious and focused. We have painstakingly carved this HOUR out of our schedule to come and sweat so that we can have dinner tonight and our clothes still fit tomorrow! We don’t mean to be rude, but we cannot chat with you about the weather or give advice on how many calories each machine might burn, because our heart rate has to stay over 145 bpm or we’re just wasting our time! We have sweating to do!

On a random side note: A few weeks back while at the gym doing my thing, bopping along to my IPOD and occasionally glancing at the TV, I noticed the CNN headline change to this: “World’s Heaviest Man Marries.” Then flashes a picture of a very large and bedridden man who had just married – married a woman!! The photo showed a perfectly normal sized, normal looking woman sitting on the bed cuddled up with him.

This man, who held the Guinness Book Record for “heaviest man,” clearly weighed over 500 pounds now, and apparently once tipped the scales at over 1,200, has not left his bed in six years. In fact, a flat bed truck hauled the man’s bed (decorated in white) to the wedding venue where after the ceremony the couple “swayed” to a romantic ballad, and the groom reportedly skipped the wedding cake.

Unbelievable… beyond morbidly obese, six years of being bedridden, and he’s getting married! Call me crazy, but as I sweated and gasped for air atop the elliptical, I couldn’t help but curse the injustice… I mean, I don’t know where the world’s heaviest woman is hanging out these days… but I’m guessing her love life probably isn’t seeing the same kind of luck!


Lynn said...

I guess tommorow I need to get to the gym to work out, I need some first hand knowledge of this hierarchy system. If you haven't seen Ruby on the Style network you should DVR it. WOW I keep telling myself that if Ruby can do it so can I! BTW: Girl-you look HOT

The Merediths said...

First, you look beautiful and I am proud of you for keeping up your gym habit!! I, too, am a proud member of the "focused" group who exercises regularly and maintains my weight like a champ. Oh, the extra 25 pounds that have not fallen off me since Carter was born is still hanging out. And looks like it wants to stay. So, be my motivation and tell me to get to eating right!

But, your gym analysis of people is hysterical. Totally dead on.

And Kurt and I, while being couch potatoes and probably eating something we shouldn't at 11 pm at night, watched the whole Discovery Health special on that obese man who got married. They had a parade for him around his little Mexican town when he finally went outside for the first time in like 7 years. His wife is more like his caregiver since he can't really bathe himself, but whatever, everyone needs some lovin'.