Karen, the non-girly-girl-DVD-aerobic-dancer

There are many times I just don’t feel adequately “girly.”

One of them, I must say, is when I got a DVD program to do some step aerobics to, nearly three years ago, now.  I was looking for something by which I could exercise without leaving home.  I love to walk/run, but that’s logistically difficult to figure out.

  • Running in the early morning would require that I get up early.  I am not a morning person, and in order to get myself enough rest, I’d have to go to bed earlier.  The thought of losing that extra nightly hour or so that I frequently spend by myself, after everyone else has gone to bed, makes me twitchy.  I’m an introvert, and that’s my recharge time.
  • Running in mid-day is becoming more of a possibility, as my youngest is now two years old, and my oldest is 13, and I can leave everyone alone at home for short periods of time, occasionally.  However, the best time for running would be in the afternoon when the little girls are napping, and that time valuable in a lot of ways that I’m loathe to give up.
  • I really enjoy running in the evening after dinner, but that decreases my time with my husband, and would add even more evenings where he puts the youngest children in bed.  I like putting my girls in bed, and feel sad when they don’t have Mommy to pray for them and read them a book and tuck them in…  Daddy does a great job, but we already have two nights weekly (small group and grocery shopping nights) when he puts them in bed, and I just don’t want to add any more to the mix.

Thus, I thought the DVD thing would be a good idea.  But, lemme tell you, the idea of having SIX DVDs of really intricate, difficult, strenuous steps, set to music, to memorize and do….  Golly.  That stressed me out.  I forever felt like I was behind the learning curve, could never quite get the steps right, and felt more than inadequate, stumbling around the family room.  Ugh.  I thought, “This should be fun.  I think most women would think this is fun.  I sure don’t.”  It was easy to find reasons to not break out the DVDs.

However, my “diet” thingie had plateaued, even as I continued to decrease the number of carbs I was consuming daily.  I was down to 75 grams.  That’s a really small number of carbs.  I was micro-careful, and still only losing about half a pound a week, at most.  Two weeks, in spite of really careful eating, I lost nothing.  I found myself completely unwilling to go lower than 75g.  I don’t want to starve myself.  That’s not healthy, and it’s really not sustainable.

I began to see that exercise was what was needed to pull me off of that schlumpy plateau.

Even before the diet, I knew I needed to be more active, to exercise.  I am 37 years old, and am really starting to see how easy it is to slide downhill, physically.  I want to be able to hike with my kids without twisting an ankle due to really poor muscle tone in my legs.  I want to not get winded simply by sitting up in bed, or leaning over to pick something up off of the floor!!

So, those DVDs, and the incline step box kept taunting me.

Instead, I decided to post a wanted ad on Freecycle, to see if anyone had a stationary bike they wanted to get rid of.

This is the exact model I have, but it looks like it's unavailable to purchase any more.

Voila!  I had a recumbent bike by that night.  That was Monday, a week ago.  I have since put about 45 miles on the thing, and look forward to “working out” on it.  I’ve snuck a few two-a-days in, as well.  I must like monotony.  😀  I’d so much rather just hop on this thing and pedal mindlessly than have to learn endless dancey moves to a dumb DVD host who never gets winded and who has a fixed, gleaming white smile and an impossibly perfect body.

On the bike, I’ve been doing the model where you start slow, then ramp up effort until you’re maxed out, then bring it back down and slowly build again.

It works for me.

What I’m trying to establish with my kids is that, after I get the little girls dressed for the day, and get everyone started on breakfast, I lock the door of my room and do my 15-20 minutes on the bike, shower and dress, then come out to find everyone almost done with their chores and just about ready to start school.  🙂  It hasn’t quite worked out that perfectly, but that’s the goal.

After just a week, I feel tighter.  Less flabby.  Stronger.  In six weeks of total diet time, I’ve only list 8.4 lbs, but I’m really starting to feel like I’m seeing some fruit from my efforts.  Clothes are fitting just a little better, and I just feel healthier.

This past week, the week of the Advent of the Recumbent Bike, I lost 1.4 lbs, and that was even with sampling some of the candy from my kids’ “Harvest Carnival” Halloween alternative party, AND not having a kitchen scale.  I had been meticulously weighing and documenting everything I ate, but I left my scale at my friend Kim’s house, when we had our magnificent cooking day.  So, I was without a scale for a week.  I got a new one, this past Friday.  I was tempted — highly tempted! — by the $17 glass-and-stainless electronic scale.  But, instead, I spent $3 on a little plastic version, very much akin to my previous scale.

This week, I’m trying to figure out the whole carb + bike thing.  I’m still shooting for 75 grams daily.  Seventy-five grams pretty much equals absolutely no grains and no sugar.  It’s a healthy existence, but it will be nice to see if the bike will give me some leeway for days when (a one ounce portion!) of Stax blares its Siren’s call and I give in…

So.  With bike and scale, I feel very much back on track, and with renewed motivation.  I feel like a nerdy dieter, happy about the bike and scale.  I also feel relieved that I can now sell my videos and incline step on Craigslist with a clear conscience.  😀

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About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on November 8, 2010, in Budget, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Get Fit!, Shopping. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I just have to say that your list of reasons not to go running made me laugh. Your “me” time would be getting in the way of “me” time. I make all the same rationalizations with great success.
    I too HATE step aerobics. I have taken classes a couple of times over the years and each time I thought, I should like this. I took dance lessons and competed for 13 years, surely step aerobics should be similar and fun. Not so. I COULD NOT get the hang of the basic step. I was tripping all over that stupid step. The last time I ever took a class I was in the far back corner of the class and the instructor noticed that I was having issues. She would have had to be blind to not see it. So, meaning well, she slowed the class down and repeated a basic combination over and over for my benefit. I still didn’t get it. Then she stopped the class, walked over to me and proceeded to give me a one on one tutorial. I was mortified. Then I was REALLY stressing out over my complete inability to slowly walk over a step in a set pattern so there was no way I was going to start getting it now. After what felt like an eternity she started the class back up. I then bolted out of the room, leaving the stepper right in my vacant spot and never came back. I was also careful to never go to the gym at the same time as that class so that I wouldn’t run into any of those women again. It ranks up there with one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I HATE step aerobics. I have never tried again.

    Kudos to you on the succesful incorporation of regular excercise in your busy schedule.

  2. HAHAHAHAAA…this is to funny! I have to laugh because I soo understand what you went through. I have lost all motivation to excersise myself do to much of the same reasons! I dropped 23 lbs and have now come to a SCREACHING hault! For the last 2 mnths…nothing. I have no time to exsersize at all! I wish that I could fit an excersise bike in my house too! I have to say that your story has motivated me! I now know that I’m not the only one who struggles with the “when do I have time?” question. I feel challenged to try it again. Thank you!!

    • I’m glad to help motivate you!! But, 23 lbs is great, no matter what weight you started at! Our exercise bike doesn’t quite fit in our house, either. But, it’s small enough that I keep lugging it from place to place — between my bedroom and the family room, wherever I’m using it. There’s really not a good place for it, but I’m doing my best to make it work!

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