Tuesday, June 9, 2015

It's not too late for reinvention

The other day I looked In the mirror and saw Holly Hunter.

Well almost.

Years ago when Holly Hunter played a tough as nails but faith challenged, hard-living detective on "Saving Grace," I fell in live with her physique. I loved her wild blonde hair not terribly unlike my own and I longed to have her ripped yet skinny arms and legs, her slender torso where ribs and vertebra were prominent.

She defined the somehow scrawny but fit woman I would like to be.

I read that her appearance was often what resulted when more mature women went for more muscle and weight loss. Some combination of diet, workout and getting older creates that sculpted pared down appearance. I liked it, but I never dreamed I would have it.

Yet I looked in the mirror the other day and there she was. I was so excited I had to tell my husband. "Look I have Holly Hunter's arms!" He feigned understanding so of course I had to explain the whole background.

If I could have dreamed a new body, that's the body I would have dreamed.

The fact that I dug it out of the cocoon of more than a year of comfort eating made it doubly surprising.

Before my 23-year-old son died, I was at my most fit point. When I got the call informing me that he'd been found dead, I was logging five miles on the exercise bike that I'm not sure I ever rode again. Instead I allowed myself to find comfort in food, or alcohol. I couldn't make myself do solitary exercising like walking for miles. Even though I still made it to the dance studio for Zumba and Piyo, I slowly added the pounds back on. I wasn't overweight, but my favorite clothes were getting too tight.

Earlier this year I had to decide whether to invest in bigger clothes or get back in shape. I had purchase Piyo from Beachbody last summer when my class was canceled, but I'd never committed to it like I did the live class. Still, the free coach who came along with it was the person I contacted when I decided I needed something more. Thanks to social media, she was well acquainted with my lifestyle and recommended 21 Day Fix Extreme.

I told her the workouts looked pretty "kick ass" and she told me she thought that despite my status as a three-time grandmother I could handle it.

I didn't expect a transformation, but that's what I got.

I stuck with the program, which did kick ass, for three weeks despite falling asleep on the sofa an hour early and having to miss my weekly Zumba fix because my sore legs couldn't handle extra exercise. I gave up cream in my coffee, wine to help me sleep, and bread. I persevered even though I couldn't really see a difference and neither the scale nor the tape measure were arguing with me.

Then I finished, but in three weeks I'd learned a new way of eating. I'd thought for a long time that I was not eating the right amounts of foods and probably chronically undereating. I decided to keep following the eating plan, even though I gave the exercises a rest.

The pounds seemingly melted away, burned by the muscle my coach had assured me I was building during the workouts. My favorite clothes fit, then got too big. I finally had to buy new clothes anyway, but several sizes smaller than what I'd been wearing. I've gone back to enjoying a few favorites on the weekends -- wine and a burger, perhaps some dessert -- but I know that I've changed forever the way I eat. It's been four months now and I have no desire to return to the person I was a year ago, or even six months ago.

I don't keep the same exercise routine, but I've done the entire "Fix" twice and I'm working on a third time, looking for muscle not weight loss now. And I'm able to combine it with dog walking, playing in the pool, or my weekly Zumba fix without keeling over from exhaustion.

I've become so passionate about the program and what it did for me that I've signed up as a Beachbody coach myself. I'm also considering training to teach the program that first got me into Beachbody, Piyo, which I still love, but mostly as a live class that I cannot find locally.

Although the program can involve making money if you're really good at it, it's not about that to me. It's about looking around me at friends who don't feel good or don't like the way they look and realizing that it really can be as simple as a short commitment that changes the way you live. You can do it when you're 20, 30, 40, or even in your 50s. (That's as far as my own experience can take me.) I wish I'd done it sooner. I wish I'd known what to do.

I want other people to find the person they'd like to see in the mirror. Whether it's Holly Hunter, or someone else entirely.

And most of all I want them to see that the face smiling back at them is their own.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy for you, Angela, happy that you regained that side of your zest for life and something that brings such positive into your life. Keep on keeping on, Neighbor! Sending love and hugs!