Wednesday, March 31, 2010

But don't I get enough exercise by juggling this many irons?

I've been blessed/cursed all my life with being skinny. When I was six years old, I weighed 36 pounds and was 36 inches high. In high school, I hovered around the 68 pound mark. When I donned my wedding gown, I weighed 72-freakin'-pounds, and no, I did NOT wear the flower girl dress. But I could have.

Fast forward. Yep, that's right. Past the gall bladder surgery, where they took out the offensive gall bladder and put in an appetite. Past the adoption of The Kiddo. Past the giving up of the newspaper job where I walked everywhere, and past the jobs where I, ahem, basically warm a chair all day long. (I'm productive. I am. I just get a lot done from command central.) Past the time where my free-time was spent working to meet editor deadlines and revisions and, oh, that new book proposal. Past my big 4-0 b-day.

I am now a whopping 98 pounds.

Yeah. I heard that snort. It was, "She thinks she has a weight problem?"

It's not so much of a weight problem. It's a jiggle problem. And a belly problem (I've been told that good southern ladies like me shouldn't refer to our body parts in the same way one would refer to livestock body parts, but, hey. You can't call my tummy anything BUT a belly.)

So I should exercise. Twenty minutes a day, right?

WRONG. Now to completely overload my guilty-exercising-avoiding-conscience comes a new study which says we women should exercise 60 minutes a day to avoid packing on the pounds.

The study comes via two very interesting blogs: Steph in the City and Fitness: A Journey, Not A Destination.

Now, Karen Evans, who writes about the study in detail, does quibble with it. She makes very valid points. And Steph is right when she says it's just depressing.

What I want to know is where on EARTH I will find 60 minutes a day to exercise. That's not even touching the motivational issues or the how-bad-the-belly-looks-in-yoga-pants problem. Because, lemme tell you, I'm sacrificing sleep to The Kiddo and to The Writing, and I got no more sleep to sacrifice.

I guess, though, I should forgive myself. If I can do 20 minutes a day, it's better than zip a day. Heck, if I can do 20 minutes a week, it's better than zip, too. I'm coming to the conclusion that exercising (and general fitness) is a lot like writing. A little every day will add up over the long haul, and the cumulative effect is to make it easier.

Besides, when I'm an old woman, I'll wear purple yoga pants and have LOTS of time to exercise. :-)


Piedmont Writer said...

The "experts" are always coming up with some new "guideline" to make us believe we're going to fall apart at the seams if we don't adhere to their requirements.

Poo on them. I lug laundry up and down two flights of stairs and then outside to hang. I vacuum three floors lugging said machine that weighs almost as much as my daughter. I am now digging holes for a fence with a garden claw and a post hole digger. If that's not enough exercise well, too bad. I'm too tired by the end of the day to put in another 20 minutes, let alone an hour.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oh, I know. I wanted to kick the TV when I heard that study.
But I think it's not a matter of taking 60 minutes to excercise but increasing activity during the day.
At least that's my thought and I'm sticking to it. LOL

Cynthia Reese said...

My gracious -- post hole diggers and garden claws! Nope, I think that qualifies as your 60 minutes of exercise.

Jennifer, kicking the television wouldn't have been very productive, but it WOULD have added to your activity during the day! ;-)

T. Anne said...

I think breathing fresh air is important and I love being outside, so for me that's most of my exercise. I don't weigh much either but last year I had a health scare and almost lost ten pounds I couldn't afford. So I put on some extra pounds. You never know when you might need them. ;)

Stephanie Faris said...

Thanks for the mention! You know what's sad? I weigh LESS than I did four years ago but I look five pounds heavier. How did that happen? My arms...they drive me crazy. They looked so toned and nice when I was 35 and now I'm almost 40 and...can you say saggy droopy? I try not to obsess on it but I am realizing gravity happens...even to those of us who don't have kids. I'm sure I knew this would happen but I don't remember thinking, when I was 35, "This is it. The end of the road for my muscle tone."

The truth is, I could do something about it but I just have found there are more important ways to spend my free time. Like writing! I'd rather exercise my brain muscle than my body muscle.

Linda G. said...

Gosh, your post made me look back nostalgically to my "Twiggy" days in high school. I was tall and reed-thin until...well, until after I had kids. Not really overweight now, but nobody tries to pour milkshakes down my throat anymore, just to "fill you out a bit," either.

Re the 60 minutes of exercise per day: Wait a week -- the "experts" will be telling us something else.

Jody Hedlund said...

I agree! It's hard to squeeze it all in--the exercizing, I mean. (And well, the belly into the skinny pants too!) But like you said, a little bit can only help. I try to exercise when I can, and not feel bad when I can't.

Tawna Fenske said...

I can trick myself into exercising when I don't really think that's what I'm doing. Like walking the dogs. Or going for a tandem-bike ride with the husband. Or walking to the fridge for another glass of Chardonnay. Oh, wait. That last one really doesn't count, does it?