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Diary of a fitness klutz

Eating Right Is Just Half of the Equation

By Jorj Morgan

I cook for a living - and with cooking comes tasting. With tasting comes calories and with calories comes pounds. When I was 16, I could loose five pounds by simply trying the latest fad diet. Remember the "carrot and coke" diet? Maybe you lost weight with the "eat anything you want before 5 o'clock" diet. As the teen years dissipated the realization that things change with age has dawned. My hips stretched from pregnancy, my tummy sagged with childbirth and my breasts are falling faster than the stock market! I've counted calories, compared grams of fat and added up tons of sugar. I've been In The Zone, attempted to get skinny with Suzanne, been in the kitchen with Rosie and Oprah and cheered for Dr. Atkins. (I love fried eggs and bacon.) This year the realization hit home. In order to stay in shape, I have to balance good cooking with a responsible exercise program. Sigh…

Okay. I can do that. I'm a grown person that is in control of her own life, making her own schedule, and delegating to co-workers. Certainly, I can add a simple exercise habit into my weekly routine. Right? I can walk in the mornings after carpool. I can join a gym and hire a trainer. I can catch up with some friends and join their favorite spin class after work. I can buy an abdominal roller and roll my tummy away.

Sadly, I admit that I have already tried all of the above and stuck with none of them.

My good pal started me walking. We walked together for miles and miles. It was fun and healthy and we had a great time catching up on our families. Soon, I began walking on my own. I drove around in my car to see exactly how far I traveled. I timed myself to make sure that I kept up the pace. I even added a block's worth of jogging into my routine. Now, here I am, months later totally tired of walking. Let's face it - it's BORING. How many conversations can one have with oneself? While I walked and walked there was no one to contradict me when I made a decision. No one said back, "This is a really dumb thing that you are thinking about." Not to mention that the same old scenery can only change so much in a two-mile radius. And, by the way, what the heck are you supposed to do when it rains?

Then there's the gym. Granted, I'm lucky enough to have some disposable income to hire a trainer, but don't ever tell my husband how much these guys charge! From wherever I am, no matter what I am doing, when the appointed time arrives I hustle to race home so that I can change into my appropriate exercise outfit. I make it to the gym just in time for my appointment. Within minutes I am fitted into machines and actually hear a low groaning sound escape my mouth as I blow in and out and lift and hold. I think silently to myself that I have treated my Thanksgiving turkey with more care than the instructor is showing me. He wants more reps, more weight, better form and more minutes on the treadmill. I just want out.

My tallest, blondest friend offers to take me to her spin class. She says the music is great and that you can burn off hundreds of calories within minutes. I'm in. Did you ever know anyone that fell off a stationery bike? Well, now you do. There are all kinds of seat adjustments that need to be completed before you can hop on and ride the thing. Who knew? Out of the kindness of her heart, and the fear of needing to call the paramedics, the instructor allowed me to spin at my own pace. Ninety minutes later, deaf and dehydrated, I promised that I would come back with my friend to the next session. I lied.

If there is one thing I can do well, it's purchase. Over the years I have bought a stair stepper, stationery ski machine, rowing apparatus, weights, punching bag, and a series of weighted balls. (I'm not going to mention the jars of breast creams that came with the bust enhancer.) Most of these machines are collecting dust in my garage. Although I must admit to intermittent use of a treadmill that I can not remove from the bedroom without tearing out a wall.

Fitness experiences aside, I now realize that one long-term exercise routine may not be the answer for me. Instead of counting on one type of workout, I need diversion and creativity and flexibility and comfort. I'm in search of the perfect plan to balance my good food habits with a non-stagnant lifestyle. Over the next few weeks, I will investigate new and different ways to incorporate regular exercise into my lifestyle. I invite you to come along with me and see if one of these plans may work well for you - at least for a while!

Also See:
Exercise of the week
Low-fat recipes
How many calories are you burning?

Jorj Morgan is the Lifestyle Director of BlueSuitMom.com and the author of "At Home In The Kitchen," a cookbook due in spring 2001. Join her in her workout trials by reading future articles in the Diary of a Fitness Klutz series coming soon. Please share your exercise successes and horror stories with Jorj and other BlueSuitMoms by sending an email to Jorj@bluesuitmom.com.



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