Sustainable Motion

I want to write to you about body image, and exercise, and whatever. But I don't want to do a good job at it.

I also want to share with you the glorious lunch I had on Friday.
I'm sorry. I know it can't possibly look good, especially in its ugly office surroundings. It is half my mom's leftover hot beef sandwich from the Sidestreet Diner, along with some mashed potatoes covered in their glorious gravy, and then leftover matzo ball soup from Zingerman's on the side. And I ate dried apricots for dessert. And I ate a whole hot beef sandwich the night before, when John and I were at home visiting our parents. This is a tangent, but the four of us sat in a circle in my bedroom, upstairs, eating hearty diner food out of styrofoam boxes on perplexingly ugly trays my mom had purchased at a dollar store and previously used to make and store jewelry projects on. She was reclining in my bed, because she had back surgery recently; John and my dad and I were sitting on chairs brought upstairs from the dining room.

It was a supremely tasty meal.

I haven't been to the gym since. I'm a little guilty about that, but I worked a full day that Thursday, a full day on Friday, four and a half hours on Saturday, a full day Sunday, and a full day today. Tonight I'm going to yoga; last Monday I went to yoga. Tomorrow I'll probably go to the gym, now that I'll have free mornings again, as well as a few evenings.

This time last year, Emma and I had just joined the local YMCA, and I was starting to use MyFitnessPal. It was my first-ever real dieting experience. Definitely the first time I counted my calories. It was interesting, it helped me decide what to eat, but it also gave me another OCD thing to keep track of (now I'm stuck on minutiae of my spending habits), and that is good when you have nothing else to do while sitting at your meaningless office job, but it is not good when you want to focus on other things. Anyway. I lost enough weight to fit in all my pants again, and Ali and Drew got married. Emma joined tango, and Emma's and my combined dedication to going to the gym faded to a point where neither was strong enough to motivate the other. I worked a lot. A lot a lot.

Exercise was a duty at that point. An extremely unappealing duty that neither of us wanted to we didn't. I'm trying to change that. When we first joined the Y and spent a large chunk of our free time there, it was fun. It was a joint commitment to our well-being. It was partially motivated by our upcoming role as bridesmaids. (We also learned all about wedding etiquette and planned a party and picked out dresses and thought about makeup and shoes.) We looked at it as a luxury, tried to make time to relax in the sauna afterwards. But then we burned out. We didn't have the same schedules, we couldn't spend every morning there, didn't want to spend many evenings there.

Now I'm trying to be less ambitious, less rigid in my requirements. I go to yoga once a week, most weeks, so as long as I can afford that, I can spend less time at the gym and still have exercised the same amount (or more -- Foundations class is hard work!). Yoga always starts to feel good by about halfway through, even as it's getting to be too taxing. At the Y, the elliptical hasn't gotten painfully boring yet; instead, it usually feels good, too.

I don't really have goals for my exercise, though. Sure, I would like skinnier arms (by summer). But not really. I don't have to exercise a certain amount to make up for the ice cream I plan on eating. On the weeks I get to the Y a couple times and go to yoga, I feel pretty happy with myself. I moved my body and it wasn't awful. Just keep doing that, regularly, for the rest of forever.

That's probably a big enough goal for this category, right?


Emma Claire Foley said...

That beef looks hot. (Sorry.)

Marisa said...

Wait, that's hilarious!