People. I have been eating REAL food for eleven days now. No. Seriously! I am eating fruit! AND vegetables! And not just one or the other, but both on the same day! Often even multiple times in the same day! I will stop with the exclamation points eventually, I promise. It's just that I don't remember the last time I routinely consumed all portions of the food pyramid in anywhere close to their recommended amounts.
Do you know what is even more remarkable, though? I think this eating healthier thing is actually working. Within days, I started feeling better than I've felt at any point in recent (or not-so-recent) history. My perpetually sore hamstrings aren't always so sore. I don't feel like a creaky old senior citizen when I climb the stairs to my desk every morning. I've had no, er, stomach issues. (Don't worry; I wasn't going to write about those.) I have more energy and feel less sluggish. I no longer feel like my limbs and torso are filled with bags of sand and molasses. (I know--"Sand and molasses?" Yes. That's the analogy I've had in my head. Cancer victims visualize their good cells growing strong enough to overtake the bad. Poorly nourished women with overactive imaginations envision their insides clogged up with sticky, heavy goo. Or, this one does, apparently.)
I sound ridiculous, I know. This is not rocket surgery. My entire life I've heard "You are what you eat," and therefore, if I am eating crap, it should not surprise me that I feel like crap. But... who knew all that goody-goody USDA marketing and public service nonsense was actually true??
So. The eating better thing is going well for now, for the first time ever, I think. I'm still skeptical about how long it will last. (Until my stomach turns at the thought of another salad or fruit smoothie, I predict.) But for now, I am ridiculously proud of myself, and I can't stop talking about this to anyone who will listen. I'm all, "Have you heard about this thing called nutrition? It actually works! Yes! I'm as surprised as you!"
(Now might be a good time to point out how very lucky you are if you do not know me in real life. I promise I am more interesting than this, at least on occasion. I hope.)
In addition to feeling loads better, I'm also already noticing a wee bit less of the extra padding around my midsection that's been growing steadily for the past year or two. If the happier muscles and digestive tract aren't enough to keep me eating like a normal person (or, like a normal person is supposed to eat), then I'm hoping the prospect of weight loss will motivate me as well.
With that part in mind, I've also been trying to step up the exercise routine a bit. Long-time readers who are extra good at remembering everything I ever write will recall that my company pays for my gym membership, provided I go at least eight times a month. This has never been a problem for me; I rarely have a month where I'm there only eight times. Usually it's in the ten to twelve range... sometimes as high as seventeen (though admittedly, that month was a fluke). The problem is that in the past year or two, nearly all of those workouts have been over my lunch break, meaning they're often quite short and not particularly strenuous. I rationalize this by saying that doing half-assed workouts twice as often equals the same results as a proper workout the standard three or so times a week. Unfortunately, the full of my ass (and the muffin top above my waist band) disagree. So I've been trying to pick up the intensity.
Part of this has just been varying my routine at the gym. Instead of just alternating between the treadmill and the elliptical (followed by a few quick reps on the weight machines to finish), I've branched out and tried the rowing machine and the behemoth stair climber. I'm not talking about the traditional Stairmaster, where you lean on a set of upright handles and tap delicately away on dainty little pedals. No, I mean the massive and imposing machine that stands above all other machines in the line of cardio equipment... the one that looks like someone broke a chunk off of an escalator and placed it in a room as a sort of perverse Sisyphean punishment for all who step upon it. I've never had an inclination to even try the stairway to nowhere, until -R- spoke highly of it. Like -R-, my gauge of a good workout is something that "makes me really sweaty but does not make me want to die." With that ringing endorsement, I had to give the thing a try.
The other reason I've avoided the mega-Stairmaster is that it is situated directly in line with the television that's tuned to ESPN. You probably know by now (by the complete absence of any professional sports-related posts on this blog) that I could not care less about ESPN. I would much rather wile away my 25 minutes of lunchtime cardio letting my brain deteriorate in front of the closed-captioned TV airing Days of Our Lives. (Shut up; it is just a diversion. I swear I can quit any time.) As it turns out, the ESPN zone is the place to be. Not only do they have the crazy stair climber, but they have much fancier treadmills as well. People, did you know there are treadmills with built-in fan vents?? And fun little blinking lights that indicate where you are along an imaginary track?? Of course you knew that. Your gym probably has personal TVs in every machine and free pizza once a month. Mine does not. Let me take my small pleasures where I can.
So that is what I am up to lately. Blending up fruits and making lots of salads like Montel told me to, and speed-walking around an imaginary track. All of this should make for riveting conversation on my date tomorrow, obviously. What have you been doing lately?