88. Thinking Thin

Weighed myself yesterday and decided I’d better go on a diet.  Am hanging in there.   Only missed one day so far.

Along with starving, I decided I’d go all out and exercise.  I’ve been thinking about exercise a lot.  Exercise is good for us so I think about it a lot. It’s very rewarding. As soon as I finish thinking about it, I will hurry into the kitchen and get a bowl of ice cream.

Anyone going on 80 isn’t pre-programmed for physical fitness. I had never heard of what we today call “exercise” until I was in 10th grade in high school.  That’s when I attended my first gym class.  We did some exercises then, but apart from that, the only other times I’d even seen such strange activity was on movie newsreels when we’d see soldiers in boot-camp doing “jumping-jacks”.

Except for some sports activities, I can’t remember ever seeing an adult perform a physical effort that wasn’t work-related.  And oddly, in spite of all the starchy food we consumed during the Depression, for the life of me, I can’t remember knowing anybody who was obese.

Confusing, isn’t it?  When I was young, we were thin and didn’t exercise.  Today, we’re fat and we exercise (or we’re supposed to).  It’s little wonder that when it comes to “physical fitness”, some of us in my age group are Conscientious Objectors.

I do make occasional limp attempts to reform. Last year, my sister Joan told me about a tool she uses to exercise with. It’s called an Urban Rebounder and it looks like this. It’s like a little trampoline that you can jump up and down on like you’re a popcorn kernel.  Or you can walk in-place rapidly on it pretending like you’re going someplace where they have a jar of Macademia Nut Clusters they want to get rid of.

After I first got it, I used it faithfully for 30 minutes every day, bouncing up and down like a deranged Energizer Bunny.   Then, not long after I started bouncing, I learned about this system called High Intensity Interval Training.  It’s supposed to turn you into a Greek god or a Project Runway model with exercise which is brief, infrequent and intense. The part about being “brief and infrequent” really got my attention, so I decided to try it on the Rebounder.

I only did this HIIT routine with a TV show on that really required focused attention so I could try to ignore the agony I was about to submit to.

With a timer set for 4 minutes, I’d get on the Rebounder and walk in-place rapidly faster and faster for 3 and one half minutes and then slow down for the final half minute.  Then came the best part, the part I could look forward to.  Setting the timer again for 4 minutes, I’d sit down, catch my breath, put my feet up, rest, and watch the TV show.  When the timer went off, I’d start over, repeating the walking/resting 3 more times.

By the end of 4 minutes of fast walking/4 minutes of resting repeated 4 times, I was sweaty, breathless, and whimpering. I felt like Rocky Balboa when he made it to the top of those steps he ran up. An HIIT  routine was supposed to be performed no more than 3 times per week.

I wish I could tell you of all the weight I lost during the three weeks I did the routine.  I did lose some, and I definitely remember feeling oddly energized, but then I stopped.  The devil made me do it. He once again seduced me with a couple of Snickers Bars and in no time, the  primrose path turned into the road to degradation.

Since then, the Rebounder has continued to reside in the family room right behind my rocker and ottoman.  That way it’s a constant reminder that I need to be thinking about it.

And I’m going to do something about it. This time’ll be different, you’ll see.  You won’t even recognize me by Christmas.  When you see those weight-loss ads on TV, I’ll be the one in the After photos. I’ll have to give away all my sweats and get new ones. I may have to get counseling to prepare me for my new thin, well-muscled exterior.

Well, I sincerely hope I’ve given you some food for thought and maybe you’d like to join me on my quest to lose 10 pounds by Christmas.  If so, let’s compare notes.

I’ll leave you with one more exercise said to be helpful for people over 50 years old:

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side. With a 5 lb. potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax. Each day you’ll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to 10 lb. potato sacks. Then try 50 lb. potato sacks and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100 lb. potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I’m at this level.)

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each of the sacks.

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