We are now 6 weeks into our family weight loss challenge. Most of my sisters, sister-in-law and Mom have adopted a slow and steady strategy. We’re all making progress, trying to eat sensibly, and some are becoming more active.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that while I am definitely Unfit, I have been a loyal devotee of the YMCA for about 2-1/2 years. (See posts Throwing In the Towel, and Public Enemy #1 Eludes Fitness Police for some drivel about the Y.)
People say that exercise is its own reward, that it gives you a natural high. Time at the gym is a gift to yourself; quality me-time. That’s what they say.
Not for me. Sorry.
The endorphins just don’t kick in. For me it’s at best a boring habit that you have to do, like brushing your teeth. At worst, it’s a punishment. I work out because I’m getting old. I don’t want to wake up one day and find my bones snap like twigs, my heart is feebly fluttering and I can’t force my muscles to move my mammothness out of bed.
This was my workout routine in the bad old days before the family weight loss challenge:
- Do time on the resistance machines and treadmill
- Stagger out of the Y, bathed in sweat and righteousness
- Head over to the Dairy Queen and undo all of the hard work (and then some), by cooling off with my favorite Cappuccino Heath Blizzard.
If I’m voluntarily subjecting myself to the punishment of ½ hour on the treadmill, I want a reward.
I never do anything to be nice, or for personal satisfaction. I demand recompense. That’s who I am; it’s the ugly, unvarnished truth. Like a small child or a dog, I work best when I’m rewarded. I’m Pavlov’s puppy who salivates for Cappuccino Heath Blizzards instead of Milk Bones.
The sweet/fat food category once formed the backbone of my reward system, but I’ve had to make other arrangements now that I am being a good girl.
My new self-reward system takes a two-pronged approach.
- Food. I know this is how I got into this flabby mess in the first place, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to shuck off the habits of ½ a century. I need acceptable substitutes and I think I’ve found them in a surprising place: under the golden arches. My new go-to treat after a workout is a McDonald’s small Sugar-Free Vanilla Iced Coffee. It’s a real deal for the waistline at a skinny 60 calories.
I also just learned that their child-size vanilla cone has only 45 calories. That’s what it says on their website – really! And they only cost 52 cents. I feel a bit cheap going through the drive-thru for that amount, but I drop the rest of the $1 in the Ronald McDonald House donation box and get a double reward: something sweet to eat, and the sweet feeling of being a tycoon/philanthropist.
- Retail therapy. This can be problematic when one is on a budget. Luckily, (spoiler alert for those on my Christmas gift list) we have a truly excellent Goodwill store in our town. They have great stuff!
I’ve shopped resale and thrift stores ever since college. Long before reuse and recycle became cool, “green” buzzwords, I loved the idea of finding new life and new uses from other people’s stuff. One man’s trash, etc.
Instead of going out for lunch, I spend the time doing a little shopping. Each week, I treat myself to a new (to me) purse for $4.99, or a couple of paperbacks for 50 cents each, or some much needed bric-a-brac to add to my dusty collection.
This kind of retail therapy also helps when you’re changing sizes relatively rapidly. You don’t want to spend beaucoup $$ on something that you hope won’t fit in a month. At $3.99 each, one can afford a new pair of jeans every couple of weeks. I consider it a rental fee, because I’ll donate the clothes back again when I shrink out of them.
There you have my strategy for surviving weight-loss deprivation. Feel free to borrow these hints, especially my dear sisters; my fellow travelers on the journey to good health. But you may prefer McDonald’s extra-large, Triple-Thick Chocolate Shake. I hear that’s low cal, too.
There is nothing stronger than a woman with a plan! You go girl!! I like your well planned strategies, you are well on your way to winning this competition!!
From your mouth to God’s ear. I only hope my well-planned strategies can keep me away from the Blizzards – they’re calling to me.
Wish I would’ve read this a week ago. I’ve been losing weight and got a little excited. Definitely rushed out to stuff my face with mexican food AND buy new clothes all in one night. Now my week old clothes are too big and I still have heartburn 😦
Good for you on the weight loss. That’s great if your week-old clothes are already too big. A nice big milk shake would probably help with the heartburn, though.
Exercise? Endorphins? I’m sorry, Peg, I just don’t understand these concepts.
You know how the Olympics are on TV every couple of years? Exercise is what those people do to get ready for them.
And you know that warm, fuzzy glow that infuses you when you see a piece of double-chocolate cheesecake, or a really cute pair of shoes? That feeling is caused by endorphins.
Oh, got it. Thanks : )
Good girls usually finish last but in this case, I think you’ll be the winner.
That’s my fear in going over to the “good” side, but I’m hoping for the best.
Sounds like the fast track to a trophy to me. I’ve been on vacation and I’m just catching up on your blogs so…………..
Hope you had a great vacation, you big teaser.
Good game plan – but please you really spent an hour AND a half on a treadmill? I’m not surprised you didn’t like it! ten minutes and I’m shattered and normally seen crawling out towards the pool to chill.
No, no, just 1/2 of an hour. Jeez – I’d be really skinny if I did 1-1/2 hours. Or dead. But looking really hot in the casket.
Hello I’m itching to know if I may use this post on one of my sites if I link back to you? Thanks.
Sure, I’d be flattered! Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner – you ended up in my spam filter.