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May 02, 2003: One more round

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Being on the road made it next to impossible to try to follow any sort of diet or exercise plan. We didn’t touch our bikes for weeks at a stretch. Forget counting Points for food – eating out for every meal made that next to impossible. The consequence of all of this (combined with both of us being sick, over and over again, during the past six months) was that we both gained weight. Not exactly a good thing when our long-term goal was for both of us to get healthier.

We decided to go back to Weight Watchers, We’d stopped actually attending meetings months ago, mainly due to the job travel, and lack of motivation. We don’t need to attend to learn the program – we’ve both proven that when we actually work at it, we can stick to it. But the plan right now is to sit through the meetings; to have a physical reminder once a week of our renewed commitment to losing weight and getting in better shape.

That takes care of the diet part of the 'getting healthy' plan. The exercise part has always been more of a challenge for me. However, during lunch the first week at the new job, I discovered that there’s a Curves for Women a few miles away from the office. I thought about it for a little while, but then decided that here was an opportunity I shouldn’t pass up. They’d opened a Curves in our town recently but the hours are such that I wouldn’t have a lot of time by the time I got home from work each night; plus I know myself too well. Once I’m home, I’m home, and going out again – especially to do something as unappealing as exercise – just wasn’t going to happen.

I have never liked gyms because they are noisy and smelly and filled with too many machines that require too many different settings and I have always felt too overwhelmed. Plus the only times I’m able to go to a gym are during the busiest hours, when the classes and machines are all packed. But Curves is different. I think the best thing about it is that it requires absolutely no thought on my part. I go during my lunch hour, and do my workout. It’s perfectly timed so I don’t have to try to remember how many reps I’m supposed to do and at what weight level for each machine. With few exceptions, everyone else there looks a lot like me – a little overweight and out of shape, in baggy t-shirts and grubby sweats and sneakers. Thirty seconds at each station means I don’t have time to start hating any one machine (although to tell the truth I think any time would be long enough for me to develop a deep-seated dislike of the squat machine). Plus the people who work there recognize all of us by name, ask us about our day, remember the details, and pay attention when we don’t show up.

I've only been going now for about three weeks so it's still too early to see how effective this is going to be. But so far I've managed to go at least three times per week if not more, and I've actually almost enjoyed it.

I am hoping that eventually we’ll be able to get back into bicycling again. After all, Hedwig and Norbert (our bikes) are too new to end up gathering dust in the garage. And I haven’t completely given up hope on the dream of someday cycling around Ireland for a few weeks. But for now, while we’re both settling into new jobs and new routines, and especially while the weather remains a bit soggier than normal for spring, at least I’ve got this to keep me active.

If I look at my struggle with my weight over the past ten years or so, I sometimes get discouraged by how far I haven’t come. But if I simply tell myself that the past is the past, and that what matters is what I do in the present, then I can somehow find the motivation to think that maybe this time we’ll make it happen. It’s another fresh start for both of us. This time might not be the one, and the next time might not be either. But all we can do is keep trying. So. Here we go. Again.

This entry is a collaboration for On Display. This month's topic is "fresh start."

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