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Exercise is about what's gained, not what's lost

It's been one of those love/hate, on-and-off things, but this latest round has been going on for about 9 months, so I'm thinking maybe it's going to last.

Yes, once again I'm back to working out at the gym.

Tenth time's the charm?

I know, I know, we've been down this road before. Tried to make it work in between dalliances with Windsor Pilates, Wii Fit, the exercise gurus on FitTV and the dancing DVD with Edyta from Dancing With the Stars. Can't forget Jane Fonda. Still have that album — yes album — that was given to me as a post baby gift in 1982.

Have to admit Jane was kind of fun for a few months — "feeling the burn" and "working those buns" in between breaks to breast feed, change diapers or wind up the baby swing. But it wasn't long before I was expecting again and the workouts went out the window along with that lovely pair of pink leg warmers.

My latest journey back commenced with the news of an August wedding back home in New England and the thought that I might want to whittle off a few pounds. At 50-plus, I've discovered it's not easy to find a dress that fits just so, especially when the rack offers two choices: matronly or "who do you think you're trying to kid?!"

Then there's the thought of facing folks I haven't seen in a while who still have a 20-year-old snapshot of what I used to look like embedded in their memories.

Kind of like going to the high school reunion, something I've avoided all these years.

Those who have kept in touch or others who have looked me up on Facebook know well that I don't look like that anymore. Haven't for a while. Four kids and some sorry years of excess along with the passing of time have made me what I am today.

The tan that looked pretty good at 18 is resurfacing now as blotchy age spots along with salt-and-pepper roots that are in constant need of touching up. The sands of time do pile up — usually right around the middle.

I'm inspired by vanity, I'm ashamed to say.

Mom would be chiding me for that, giving me lectures on the value of inner beauty and how I'd be better to work on the whole wisdom thing.

Noble or not, though, a goal is a goal.

The wedding is less than a month away so I've been hitting the gym with extra verve, pushing through the dreaded cardio because conventional wisdom dictates that nothing else is going to flatten that spare tire. The double chin, I've heard, will likely be the last to go — if it goes at all.

Sigh.

So now I'm going to have to invest in scarves?

A futile effort it seems, whether it's because of the sluggish thyroid, my aging metabolism or the fact that the pounds just aren't going to fall off like they used to.

Keep pushing the "goal date" back and somewhere along the line it sinks in: Youth fades with the Polaroid. You're never going to live up to that 20-year-old snapshot.

Thank goodness for that because then, perhaps, it can become about something else.

I have noticed there's more of a spring to my step, and I do tend to get a better night's sleep on the days I hit the gym. The dreaded cardio isn't so bad after all — at least once I get by the first 10 minutes.

The fact that I can now endure six two-minute sprints during a 40-minute workout on the treadmill is a valid accomplishment, especially when I remember the slothful 20-minute pace I was keeping not so long ago.

Turns out, it's not so much about what's been lost, rather what's been gained.

Imagine that.

Michele Miller can be reached at miller@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6251.

Exercise is about what's gained, not what's lost 07/21/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 10:02pm]

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