••• Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Exercising Futility 

If when you die you get a choice between pie heaven and regular heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if not, mmmboy. -Jack Handey

In January, I started the ABC-along with A for Acceptance. Of my Ass. ::Review here. If you're feeling lazy, here's a brief recap: I was not handling well, my mid-life love handles and ASSociated features. While living in a van down by denial, I was pretending my ass was the same as it ever was and dressed it accordingly. With poor results. Under the influence of newfound levels of Acceptance, I vowed to be the bigger woman and buy my new body some new clothes that actually fit.::

Fast forward some months. I said I loved me, but I lied. Okay, I didn't lie, exactly. I hedged. I did take myself shopping, but the plan to find an updated, tucked-in image, got all tucked up.

While I didn't find the look I was looking for, I did find:
1) The miracle of Cellulight. You know,that special lighting in department store dressing rooms that awashes every dimpled ripple in a unique hue known as Dead Fish Underbelly.

2) That before I could tuck in a blouse, I had to tuck in the rolls of me underneath, which adds inches to the waistline waist area, and is a tad uncomfortable.

3) There are no Kleenex in dressing rooms.

4) There should be Kleenex in dressing rooms.

5) There is no booze in dressing rooms.

6) There should be booze in dressing rooms.
So,my Newly Accepted Big Ass Wardrobe ended up being three Calvin Klein ribbed turtleneck sweaters from Costco, in maroon, black and cream. ::Shut up. I hearted these garments all winter. They fit like a dream and looked great with the Gloria Vanderbilt elastic waist khakis, also courtesy of Costco.::

In March I ordered a cache of spring dresses from a favorite catalog, in what I presumed to be the appropriately larger dress size. A size, mind you, that I had never worn before. This larger dress size thing was kind of painful at first, but then I was okay with it. Because I was all about the Acceptance and shit.

Well, out of the five dresses I ordered,four were too small. That's right. The dresses I ordered in a size larger than the largest I had ever grown, were too small. The one dress that did fit was a black tanky sheathy thing, made out of that heavy spandex fabric that looks good on everyone.

Acceptance my ass. The bitch is going down.

I started to watch what I eat and exercise more. The watching the eating was not a huge adjustment, because during the school year, I really eat pretty well. I eat breakfast and usually a healthy lunch, with a snack in between. And almost always a healthy dinner, with lots of veggies.

I then upped my 30 minutes per day on the elliptical to 40 and resumed my pilates workout. Several weeks later, I hopped on the scale. Nothing new.

A few more weeks pass. Same hop. Same result.

Says my supportive husband: "Just think how big you'd be by now if you weren't doing anything?" Blink.

One day at lunch, a friend tells me that her personal trainer told her that women our age need to do at least 50 minutes of cardio at a time, to get into our fat stores. Oh.

So I upped my elliptical to 50 minutes. Nothing.

Then another friend told me that she heard the elliptical is not a good workout for women our age because we work it too hard and when we work it too hard for too long periods of time, our brain thinks we're going to overburn our fat stores so it slows down our metabolism. Oh.

So I started walking. 50 minutes a day, 4-5 times a week. Nothing.

In late May, I upped my walking time to 1 hour and 15 minutes, 4-5 times a week. Nothing. By the end of July, still nothing.

So, a few weeks ago, I'm talking to yet another friend about my frustations and she says that her personal trainer said that walking is a good supplemental activity and better than sitting on the couch, but it has very few fat burning or cardio benefits, unless you're speedwalking. Oh. That. Bitch.

When did the simple math of calories burned vs. calories earned get so damn complicated? If you don't eat enough, your brain thinks you're starving, so it slows down your body's metabolism. If you don't work out hard enough, your brain thinks you've got a bad attitude and punishes you by only burning the light and fluffy calories. If you work out too hard and for too long, your brain thinks you're fixin' to wander the desert for the next 300 years, so shuts down the metabolism. And now I learn that merely walking an hour a day, is not only a waste of time, but puts unnecessary wear and tear on the taxpayers sidewalk.

Of course, I tried the speedwalking. For two blocks. I stopped because I was afraid that my brain was going to be so embarrassed for me that it would tell my body to speedwalk me into 5 o'clock traffic.

Where am I going with all this? I'm kind of confused myself, but I think a segue is strolling the parkway.

Giving up on Futility
Remember the only dress from the batch I bought that fit? That dress is very important to me. Not only is it one of about three things in my closet that actually fits, it is also a symbol of hope. Hope that the world can be a fair, sensible place, even if 4 out of 5 dresses don't agree.

The recently DeCeCeased CeCe was supposed to be a companion garment to that dress, for fall. It was to serve as a little fashion coupe de grace for the terminally enlarging, on a deadline. So her failure to thrive was a double wham slam on at least a couple of my personal agendas.

But the only thing I'm giving up on at this point is futility. Before the Yarnball-Formerly-Known-as-CeCe had cooled in the bag, I had purchased two new cardie patterns on-line, neither of which worked out.

Next, I scoured through some old magazines and books and came across the ol'Cafe Cardigan from a 2005 Cast-on. I always loved that pattern and was real excited when the Sierra gave me perfect gauge.

After some email consulting with Cafe Cardie pioneer Bron, it was gonna be a go. And then it wasn't. It was the fabric issue again. After casting on and knitting a couple inches on the back, I realized it wasn't the fabric that the pattern was looking for, again. It's weird how sometimes you can't tell about the fabric until you get the whole thing going.

Then I happened upon this ol' fave from a Mission Falls pattern book. The Trudie Cardigan.

A quick little swatch with ruffled embellishment, found me singing the Got-Gauge-and-Fabric-Hallelujah chorus.

::I've actually got about 4 inches done on the back of the sweater, but Blogger wouldn't let me...well...you know. I should have known better, really. It is, after all, a day on Earth.::

As of this morning, according to my scale I have suddenly lost seven pounds. ::Same scale that I heretofore believed only registered gains and losses in 10 pound intervals::

Unfortunately I haven't noticed any changes in how my clothes fit, except maybe the back strap of my bra is a bit looser. And I guess my socks are feeling kind of baggy around the ankle. And that notorious little problem area behind the knee ::knee elbow?:: is looking pretty good, after all.

I don't know how this happened so quickly. Maybe my brain told my body that stupid is as stupid does and that I got gauge and fabric after all, and to throw me a fucking bone?

Or maybe my brain told the bod that we are in desperate need of a little insurance, vis-a-vis documentable encourgement, so I won't pull that speedwalking stunt again. Otherwise, somebody's really gonna get hurt.

Either way, giving up on futility works for me.

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