Monday, July 07, 2008

Down, not Out

It’s official. I am the first person to fail gym. And it’s taken me nearly 2 years to come round to this. V & I, we joined in early August 2006, shortly after starting our new life in our new home and after a few funnies we got into the routine. Of packing our bags the night before, waking up pre-dawn, egging the slumber-er (usually me) to get up and go. And by that I mean go quite religiously – we charted it and we’ve been at least 3-4 times a week over this period of time. There were holidays and off days where we just rolled back into the warmth of a duvet but mostly we got up and legged it.

It is in a vaguely disheartening mood that I write this post. And that is because it is slightly disheartening to keep trying and yet LOSE NOTHING. OK, no, I am lying. I lost some weight in the first year. Not enough for anyone but me and the man who appreciates my love handles to notice. Certainly not enough to merit tossing out my tired old wardrobe to get a snazzy new one. So besides having the strongest heart and oft amazing stamina I have nothing to show for it. The hilarious people in the gym make going a bit easier but there is only so much laughing at specimens in an exercise zoo that I can manage that early in the morning. I was never fixated on the actual kilos but aimed to at least become more toned or shapely. I have lost nothing, not an ounce in the second year, not a love handle a.ka. michelin tyre. There is not a bit of more toned me to be found anywhere. I might as well have stayed home and saved some money, sweat and breath.

If you met me for the very first time today you could easily assume I was clinically obese, never ever exercised and ate double BigMac’s with a bucket of diet coke each night. Nothing could be further from the truth (ie. I am clinically obese but I do exercise and never ever go near a BigMac). We eat sensibly, mostly. I cook fresh food at home 5 times a week. All our eating out is socially or to alleviate boredom (often one and the same thing) or because we are dying to let out the foodsters within or just because we can. I think the problem lies mostly in exercising and then thinking it’s OK to eat anything and in any quantity. Although the quantities I can manage have gone down as I have aged they are a clear stumbling block if I am to ever get to a healthy weight/ shape.

But I am nothing if not determined. With a little help from an unexpected quarter I am now in my 4th week of changing my lifestyle, exercise and diet patterns. So far so good, even though not an ounce has yet been shed. I am surprised sometimes by my own tenacity and willpower.

As I turn the corner and see 33 written on the wall (still over a week down the road) I still have to rely on something I taught myself as a youngster: A healthy self is far preferable to a beautiful self. And that, for me, will never ever change. That is official.


  1. I’ve been thinking the same thing – started gymming around the same time as yourself and at first I would go religiously and I did actually lose some weight but then came the holiday and the deadlines at work and soon gym slipped into the background. I’ve started it all of again – with classes to get me motivated – but earlier I did the gym to maintain a healthy lifestyle whereas this time I need to lose the growing Dunlop tyre around my waist! Yikes!!

  2. Sigh ... all the best - somebody told me it wasn't the actual kilos lost that was the reward but the gaining of discipline and all that perseverance nonsense. I've noticed that for me, classes seem to help better because then you have a fixed time and a fixed group - but that's me. Best of!

  3. Ok, everyone seems to have got this wrong. I have not stopped going the gym (where did I say that). Just that I am being motivated from a different quarter to not only exercise differently but also to change my lifestyle where diet is concerned. I am as determined as ever - just not as happy as ever.

  4. Anonymous10:11 PM


    You go girl.. That last line is sooo true...

  5. Anonymous11:42 PM

    Sometimes it's just a question of metabolism. Some of us don't burn fat as quickly as others. I am in that same category. You are approaching this the right way i.e. it's more about feeling fitter than about the physical appearance. I think the key is to identify the kind of exercise that suits your body type as well as personality. After a lot of gyming and aerobic activity, I have realized that I am never going to be one of those active gym people. It's just not in my nature. I have taken up yoga and walking instead and have been able to maintain a regular routine that makes me feel fit and active. I haven't lost much weight (only about 2 kilos) but I feel great. You are doing the right thing by exploring alternative diet and exercise options.

  6. Heartening to see your spirit. Keep at it. In the end, its health that trumps everything else.

  7. hey,
    Its a uphill climb, my weight has always fluctuated and if you charted it on a graph I would be a straight line heading towards everest, soon moving off the graph. I am not half as motivated as you and I wish and hope I get to that level of discipline. When I did shed the kilos in what seems like another life, I regulated my diet and had a friend working towards the same goal motivating me. It makes a big difference.Controlling my diet was a punishment especially as I enjoy my food /daru and love eating out but it is the only way forward. Try keeping a food journal/diary listing your portions and the kinds of food items you eat. I would also suggest having a thyroid function test done.I think the fact that your still keeping at it is what matter most and I am sure you will cross this too.
    I shall now go for my run, if this rain ever stops!...sigh

  8. Anonymous1:37 AM

    I have to say that while I loved this post as usual and agree with the sentiment as always - you are wrong wrong wrong when you say that "a healthy self is far preferable to a beautiful self". This assumes that (i) beauty is thin; and (ii) you are not beautiful because you are not thin. And I for one dont think (i) is true and think (ii) is definitely truer.

  9. But you must feel awfully proud of yourself for persevering (did I spell it correct?) right? It's so easy to give up when you're not seeing results. But keeping at it regardless, takes something special:) And I loved that earlier post about feeling comfortable with yourself and how you spoke about how we end up never being satisfied, and always want a little bit more.

    Good luck, and your discipline is truly an inspiration.

  10. Chakli: I hear things about metabolism but really sometimes I think maybe for me that is just a cop out excuse. Yes its slower but does that mean I use it as a crutch or work with it and find a solution? I need heavy cardio and resistance for even an ounce to shift. I am using an alternative diet method but a far more intense gym workout. You keep going - 2 kgs is way more than my bloody gym going ways have got me!

    Chinchu: Thanks for the advice - lets just say been there done that! The key for me is to keep going with the cardio and watching portion size. Hope the rain stopped long enough for you to run.

    Southways: You my friend are right right right. What I meant to say was 'the accepted definition of beautiful'. You do know how I feel about thin people and focus on thin-ness. It's all about feeling your best no matter what the kilo's. I guess for me at this weight I am still not feeling healthy despite manic working out and therefore not beautiful.

    Shub: The proudness comes and goes! Somedays I am utterly motivated and all go girl go. Others I am all like I need 40 winks more rather than harsh gym ligts on my massive behind! But overall yes even I am impressed with my own tenacity. And with support and caring words from various corners of the world I intend to get to where I feel healthy & beautiful all at once, once again...

  11. San: Do not despair of dunlop tyres. Those are the best kind! Do it to get healthy not thin.

    Me: Classes rarely suit work times for me and I find working at my own pace easiest. I think for me too the greatest gift has been the ability to stick to something no matter what the consequences and how low the results. Perseverence is not overrated!

    SO: I guess you mean the 'it's official' line. Yes, indeed it is.

    Parth: A healthy heart trumps all. I heard that on your site first.

  12. Anonymous5:23 PM

    Have to disagree with you. Any idiot can see you've lost inches, even if they don't translate to kilos. So trust me when I say it's obvious to observant others apart from V and you.

  13. OMG .. I could have written this.. and I even had a personal trainer! Though maybe was not as regular as you. However, I have not been training for a while and been irregular with gym off late .. and the difference is showing.. in general fitness levels.

  14. Anonymous4:25 AM

    Dear Beautiful 33 in a week,
    I agree with Southways.
    Good Luck with your new programme. I admire your perseverence. I am a give-upper and am trying to change that and your example inspires me.

  15. Anonymous4:40 AM

    i dont think you have failed gym!!! success at gym is not measured by weight/inches is measured by perseverance!!! 40in2006

  16. I think your attitude's great! But I'm still dying to know more about the funny people at the gym!

  17. If it makes you feel any worse :D I lost 10 kilos in the past 11 months in India.

    And if it makes you feel any better, i'm all set to add double that weight in the months to come.

    As for being clinically obese, haven't met you yet but from what I heard through Nee, you are just fine. So gym be damned, just watch what you eat and you'll give me competition ;)


  18. B: Sometimes friendship makes us see and say things that are not true. Very kind. But not true. But thanks for thinking it...that is what matters.

    Pea: You should write more.....

    mg: That is sweet. I used to be a giver-uper. Sadly I cannot pinpoint what changed me from that to this. Good luck with it!

    40in2006: Perseverence is harder said than done. And the loss of weight or inches would help the case!

    Iz: If only attitude were a magic wand! Gym funnies are up....

    J: How can you lose weight in India? I go for 5 days. I put on 5 kilo's thinking about what I'm going to eat. Another 8 eating them and more. And then 5 eating junk after I am back to compensate for not being able to eat the Indian stuff! And no matter what the lovely Nee says I am clinically's a sad but undeniable truth....