Monday, January 7, 2013

How I've Changed My Life For the Better

I haven't blogged in so long, I don't even know where to begin.....

 Let me see.

Okay, at least it's not because I was depressed like before. Honestly, I think the reason I haven't been blogging recently is because my laptop died, and I used to blog in my bedroom while waiting for Baby Hippo to fall asleep. With my laptop out of operation, I had to go all the way into the kitchen when I wanted to use the computer, but from there, I couldn't answer Baby Hippo's questions about Mexican popsicles and when is Daddy coming home.

But guess what! Dearest John bought me a brand new laptop for Christmas, and now I feel like I'm back in the game.

So when I wondered what I might tell you tonight, I thought of many things, but I think I would like to share the most amazing and inspiring change that has come over my life since I wrote my last post about the 16-year-old boy's bedroom.

After 17 long years, I have finally started exercising!

One of the things I love about the town I live in is that so many women are into fitness and health. There are two different formal exercise classes and many small groups who get together to walk, run, lift weights, or do Zumba. And for five years the most vocal of the exercise gurus have been trying to get me to attend their classes. I had one excuse after another..... I didn't know what to do with my kids, I didn't have time, I didn't get enough sleep, wah, wah, wah, but finally I woke up one day and realized I had no excuses left.

The twins started preschool in September and are gone for 2 and a half hours each morning, so I only have Baby Hippo at home, who is almost three years old, and perfectly capable of entertaining himself for 45 minutes. So a few days after my son returned from his mission, after sending the twins off to school, I turned on the abripper X video my sister sent me and tried it.

It was completely ridiculous. Most of the exercises I couldn't even do one rep of, and the ones I could do, I couldn't pass 5 or 6 reps. I couldn't do even one sit up. It was completely shameful. So I made sure to always do ab ripper when only Baby Hippo was home, because I didn't want anyone to see how pathetic I was. And to tell you the truth, I was shocked at how out of shape I had become. I do manual labor all day long, almost never sitting down except to eat, and that is only if I make myself. I hang my laundry, and run after kids, literally, and cook from scratch, so I should be in shape, right? No. Not at all, obviously.

But I kept at it, and after only a few weeks of ab ripper, I could do all 25 reps of many of the exercises! It was amazing how fast my body adjusted to my efforts and it was completely inspiring.

But I knew I had to do more than just work my abs. After all, what good is a ripped set of abs if I still have 2 inches of fat covering it? So I talked to one of my friends, who also has 8 kids at home, and she suggested that I go to the 5:45 am class and just have one of my older kids lay in my bed in case one of the little kids needed something. She said to pay him or her ten pesos, and I shouldn't have a problem. It was an amazing idea, and so I started going about asking who would like to lay in my bed every morning for 45 minutes while I exercised. The 12-year-old boy was the first person I asked, and accepted the opportunity immediately, knowing that he would now have enough money each week to buy the ginormous potatoes covered with cheese and butter they sell every Saturday night across from central park.

So I started going to the 5:45 pilates/aerobics/weight lifting class 6 days a week. The first day I did as much as I could, continuing until my muscles were BURNING, something I hadn't felt in years. The next day I went out to lunch with our exercise class instructor, and when she saw me try to walk, she starting laughing and said I was moving like I had just given birth. It felt that way, but much, much worse. And my children kept staring at me after they arrived home from school and asked what was wrong with me. This went on for three days, but I kept pushing through, and soon, I was only experiencing minor soreness, you know, the good kind, that lets you know you got a good work out.

I talked to a lot of people about my new exercise routine, and a few people said that since I was lifting, I might notice that my body would bulk up a bit before starting to thin down. And I'm soooo grateful for that warning, because although my body hasn't "bulked up" in the three months since I started working out, I haven't noticed a huge drop in weight or inches. However, everything is firmer, and things are lifting and curves are forming in the right places, and diminishing where they shouldn't be. But no, that's not all!

I think even more important than how I look is how I have begun to feel since I started exercising. I have an amazing amount of energy. Everyone said I would, and I knew they weren't lying, but I just didn't know how real it would be. I find myself literally bounding everywhere I go. I find myself doing calf raises when I'm standing in line a the grocery store and doing squats when I need to pick something up, and a few more after that just for good measure. And I'm STRONGER! SOOOO much stronger! I can easily toss a full kitchen trash bag over my shoulder now like it's nothing. I can carry heavy, full ice chests in from the car. I can hold Baby Hippo on my hip and not get fatigued, and best of all, I can fold laundry or stand on the sidelines of my son's football game for three hours without my back hurting.

It has been an amazing transformation, one that has snowballed into fueling a desire to learn everything I can about becoming fit and healthy. I've always tried to make healthy meals, but I now have a renewed determination to eat "clean" and to exercise not just to look good, but to feel good and strong and to live longer and to be a better mother and grandmother to my grandchildren once they come.

I'm loving this new life, and it is a new life, literally, and I would encourage all of you to start exercising if you aren't already. Let me know what you think!

And, as always, thanks for listening....

P.S. As I began writing this post, I saw that I had 200 unmoderated comments on my blog. Most of them were spam, but many were legit comments from faithful viewers. I don't know why they ended up in my spam folder, but I just wanted to let you know that if you left a comment recently and it never appeared, it's probably up now. Thanks so much for reading and commenting and I look forward to sharing and communicating with you in 2013!


chibbylick said...

Oh i have missed you!

Sarah said...

That's an awesome and inspiring story! Thanks for sharing. I joined the gym a few months ago and have focused on lifting weights, mostly; I've just started into the wild and wonderful world of kettlebell swings, and it's so fun! I love that it's a cardio and weight lifting workout all at once, thus making my time at the gym much more efficient.

Can I also just say I'm jealous that your class starts so early in the day? My gym opens at 6.45am and I'd much rather it opened earlier so I can get in, get out, and still make sure my kids are fed and dressed before rushing off to school. Gym mornings are hectic. :)

Rhonda said...

Good for you!! I have always been an exerciser but I've stepped it up a LOT this year and like you, I feel so much more energetic. That equals a happier momma! Keep it up!

Kitchen Recovery said...

That's great! You would love gokaleo on facebook! She's an inspiration.

BarbaraJo said...

You have been doing great and are a wonderful example to us all! Your enthusiasm is contagious for sure! Keep up the good work!! You are look'n good!

Claudio Timber said...

The Power Lifter may be able to squat 500lbs and run a 8:30 mile. The Runner's squat is 195lbs, but runs a 4:50 mile. While both exceed in their own domains, they are lacking in other areas. used gym equipment

Mama to 12, so far said...

Wow! I am inspired and I think this report is awsome!


Pablo Smith said...

From Kristin: Cool, Jen. I would LOVE to do pilates with you sometime now that you're so ripped!

Trisha said...

Oh how I've missed those exercise classes at home, although I know I would not be going to the 5:45 am class! I try to get on the treadmill when we have the time or I am at home, but not very consistent. As far as exercising, I need someone to do it with me. I just don't do it on my own. You have inspired me and I will try to do better!