The bare bones solution

I’ve been on a no-frills fitness plan, and mostly, I am pleased.

Historically, dieting and eating appropriate portions used to be a huge deal. I could not imagine making a choice to abstain from — or even limit myself — because my whole life, I’ve believed that I need food to survive. (Well, I do, but you know what I mean.)

This past year, however, some gears in a dusty corner of my brain seem to have started turning. I am mindful of my body’s cues — when to listen and when to say, “Umm no ma’am, you’re not hungry, you’re just bored.” And this recalibration of my eating patterns seems to have met with reasonable success. 

Working out used to be a giant pain in the ass, too. I’m built around a medium 5′ 5″ frame. Slender to podgy adjacent is my baseline body type. And once I turned 35, there were excuses for not needing an intentional exercise regimen. (I’m not that overweight/today’s been hard, maybe tomorrow/it’s too hot to exercise.) 

But then 2020 came along, and I ballooned up to almost 20 lbs over my ideal weight. I caught myself making this ungainly “ummmph” grunt every time I stood up, and soon my knees began writing angry letters to the editor. Something had to change. And quick. 

Now, I abhorred HIIT/FIIT/crazy workouts. I might suck it up and do it for a week, but a week is all I’d last. And yoga — while soothing — hadn’t given me the results I wanted, which were:

  1. Climb a flight of stairs without gasping like a 90-year-old.
  2. Feel comfortable in my body – physically and physiologically. 

So I looked up “sustainable exercise routines, no cardio” and “easy workouts for tired moms” (actual google search terms, follow me for more fitness tips, ha!). Nothing spoke to me, so I browsed some more. Finally, in the middle of July, I came up with a fitness plan I believed in. And here it is:

Walk a mile a day. 

Practice portion control and limit the number of meals. 

That’s it. Pretty basic, huh?

Week 1 went by, and I survived. Week 2 saw some waffling, but I got back on track. Every time I fell off the wagon, I was careful not to overcompensate. And I promised to not beat myself up over the occasional treat. 

Six months have passed since. I get in 2-3 miles every day and stick to a healthy diet as much as possible. My belly has retreated significantly, and some pretty cool muscles are waking up on my backside. That nasty heartburn that used to drive me bonkers has all but vanished. I’ve lost weight, sure, which is the first step. But I love this fitter version of me, who looks forward to her daily endorphin high. 

In case you’re wondering, this post has no big twists or take-home messages. I’m your average almost 40-year-old, so it follows that my experiences are just as mundane. But I know this:

I don’t need to drive myself crazy to burn calories.

Food isn’t the love of my life, but it needn’t be my enemy either. 

It’s ok to backslide every so often.

It will work if I do it every day.

And if future me forgets, this long-winded post should serve as a reminder — I have done this before, and I can do it again.

Now I’m off for my run!

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