Finding the Balance

At the beginning of the year I made the decision to re-commit to the Weight Watchers program I have been paying for since 2011 and to some kind of exercise routine. I had a nine-month streak of being active and fit from September 2011 to June of 2012 — then we went on vacation and, after two days on the treadmill, I let the whole thing go the way of the dodo.

Normally I try not to make big decisions like this at the beginning of the year to avoid that “New year’s resolution” recipe for failure but it was time. I had failed miserably at establishing good routines before starting the seven month stretch of rehearsal-run-rinse-repeat, and I couldn’t afford to put it off any longer.

fit in sixAt my request, a long time ago, DH acquired a program called Fit in Six for our PS3, and an interactive Move controller to go along with it. It’s one of those games that tells you straight off the bat that it’s a game, not a medically approved exercise program, but DH had been using it for several months and seemed pleased.

First it asks you what your long-term goal is. I chose Weight Loss, and it built a short-term goal of acquiring a certain number of Cardio “points” and a slightly smaller number of Core “points”. Cardio and Core are two of the six categories the game is named for: Cardio, Core, Upper Body, Lower Body, Balance, Flexibility. All of the long-term goals combine two of these categories to focus on (for example, “Stress Relief” focuses on Balance and Flexibility). Then every day that you log in, the game gives you a Daily goal, e.g., 6 Cardio, 5 Core. You then choose from a number of pre-programmed workouts and acquire “points” from the relevant categories. Pilates focuses on Core, Balance, Flexibility. A lot of the Cardio and Cardio dance workouts give you Lower Body points as well as Cardio. Workouts range from 3 minute warm-ups to 25-minute excruciating Boot Camp workouts, varying times and intensities to suit your needs. If you do a workout that utilizes the Move, you get bonus points for performing the moves well per the tracking mechanism. Those bonus points always and only go towards your short-term goal acquisition. If you’ve met one of those (I always hit the max on Cardio long before Core), both bonus points go into the category that has yet to be maxed.

At the beginning it was extremely difficult for me to just do what I needed to satisfy what the game was asking for, trusting that the goals would increase organically as I became stronger and more used to moving around again. I had an internal hurdle that was telling me to push farther, improve faster, get stronger now, now nownownow. There were a few days where I felt I could have done more. I tried to let go of the negative voice that wanted me to believe I was never going to be good at this, that I didn’t deserve to take care of myself, that I should just give up, lie down and eat whatever I want because who cares anyway.

Ten years ago that voice was my entire way of life and worse, I didn’t even recognize it. Not feeling good enough can have a disastrous effect on relationships with other people but it’s ten times as catastrophic on your relationship with self, a vicious cycle that you’re not even aware you’re in. It took my life-as-I-knew-it shattering into a million pieces (and finding myself with the guilty hammer in my own hand) for me to see the problem and begin the long and painful journey to addressing it. Most of that journey is behind me now, but it is in this one area — taking care of my physical self and seeing myself not through the lens of what I was raised to believe is beautiful — that the old nagging voice still rears its head.

I’ve learned detachment tools to deal with thoughts like these, and that’s what’s carried me through this so far. These days, unless doing so will make me late for something else or cut too deeply into much-needed sleep, I regularly do more than I have to. I meet my daily goal and then start exploring other workouts that look interesting. I’m not at the point of choosing real high intensity stuff yet — unless it’s very short, but then the 6-minute “tight tush” workout has nearly ended me both times I’ve tried it. Six minutes! I am so old! DH downloaded a lot of new yoga workouts that help me de-stress on the weekends. I still sometimes stress at taking days off, and I sometimes have trouble feeling okay about eating the Activity Points I earn through exercise, even though I know I need to in order to maintain the energy required to perform them. I am considering switching up my long-term goal if I can maintain my weight loss for another few weeks, but I’ll make that decision when the time comes. I am looking good and feeling fitter. I bought three new bikinis for our late-summer resort trip and an determined to stay on target through that vacation and beyond.  At my last weigh-in, I was down 7.6 pounds from where I started the year, just 0.2 pounds from my official Weight Watchers target weight.

And I have a secret goal, too, one that has nothing to do with weight loss: someday I want to be able to do 10 proper-position narrow push-ups. (Now it’s out there, I need to get on that…)

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