Now that my broken foot is no longer broken and the SparkleBoot has been put away in the closet, I have zero excuse to skip going to the gym. Urmy was in town this week and promised she would go with me one day, to show me exactly how to use all that Scary Gym Equipment. So on Friday, I agreed to meet up with her for my Fitness Tutorial 101. And I was even looking forward to my lesson, a little bit. At least I would finally know what all those machines are for, even if I never used them.
So at 2pm I showed up at my gym, Om. I always used to make fun of the punctuation on Om. As though the vibration of the universe has an end. Ha. Except the joke is actually on me because apparently Om. has a very real end. At least the gym-version does. Because at some point during my brokenfoothiatus, my gym went out of business.
There I was, standing outside my now closed-down gym, wearing my ratty workout clothes and holding a Trader Joe’s bag full of my after-gym clothes. I looked sad, I’m sure, gazing into the locked glass doors, trying to figure out where my favorite elliptical machine had gone. I decided the closing of my gym was a sign and walked to the coffee shop across the street and promptly bought two mini-doughnuts. (Don’t judge. I had to use their bathroom to change and I had to buy *something*. And a fruit cup would have been ridiculous. I mean really.)
When I met up with Urmy, she was disappointed but not defeated. She suggested changing back into gym clothes and heading to the park for a workout. I very nearly laughed in her face. I didn’t want to work out, I told her. I just wanted to learn how to use the machines! So we got pedicures instead. And then had ice cream. Because that’s how I roll.
As I drove home later that day, I realized I was also bummed about not having a gym anymore. Before my broken foot, I liked going (a little bit). Whenever I did work out, no matter how rarely it happened, I felt like I’d accomplished something important.
I realized something important: if I am going to change the way I look, the way my body works, and the way I feel, I am going to have to either stop eating my favorite things OR I will have to exercise. I am a comfort eater, through and through, and come from a long line of food lovers. I am Italian and Southern; let’s face it. I never had a chance. I will never be able to stop eating sweets. I will always love delicious food and, thanks to my heritage, my most favorite dishes contain real butter and sugar and cream, pasta and rich meats and sauces. I don’t want to have to stop eating the things I love. I don’t want to have to think twice about putting cream in my coffee or butter on my toast. Let’s be real, y’all. That’s no way to live.
I am left with two choices: ballooning up until I am one of those ladies who has to be moved from her house with a crane or exercise. Would you judge me if you knew how long I actually deliberated before I decided on exercise?
I thought about all of this stuff on the drive home that afternoon and found myself pulling into the parking lot of the gym a mile away from my house. I was just looking, I told myself. Not buying. I just wanted to take a tour.
One tour and 20 minutes later, I left the gym with a signed contract and a new lanyard for my keys. Bitches. They sucked me in with their big pool and women only equipment room and the cute boy at the juice counter and their exercise classes galore. I knew it was a risk, that I might have committed myself to a year of expensive avoidance, but honestly, it’s my best shot at success. (Plus, I made Burly Andre, the tour guide, pinky swear they wouldn’t go belly-up. And God bless him, he pinky swore, even as I shouted at him that if he was lying his pinky would fall off and HOW WILL YOU LIFT WEIGHTS WITH NO PINKIES THERE, ANDRE, HUH??)
And wouldn’t you know it? I’ve been a gym member for 4 days now and have gone to the gym FOR FOUR FREAKING DAYS. I do 30 minutes on the elliptical, followed by 30 minutes of weight machines, finished up with another 30 minutes on the bike or treadmill. And sure, I still have NO idea what I’m doing. In fact, I might have spent 7 minutes at one machine, only to move on and realize (as I watched another girl) that I’d been using it backwards. But you know what? I’ve gotten more exercise in the last four days than I have in the last 10 years. (That’s not true, guys. I made that up. It’s actually 20 years.)
I feel good. I have that wonderful soreness in my muscles, the soreness that whispers, “Psst, hey. You. Good job. Keep it up, girl,” every time I move. And even better, this morning as I added cream and a little sugar to my coffee, I felt no guilt. No shame. No self-loathing. Just a lot of love for the girl who went to the gym, the same girl who ate farm-fresh tomatoes for dinner last night, with a little fresh mozzarella and asparagus. She earned the chocolate chip cookie she had for dessert, you see.
And it was delicious.