Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Woe is me

I hate to admit it, but I’m feeling a little angry these days.

I’ve been sick for ten—yes, ten—days now. Not only does that mean I feel like crap all the time and am behind on everything in my life, it also means that I haven’t been working out. And haven’t been cooking.

Sure, Dave cooks too, but it’s a much bigger job if only one person is in the kitchen, so we’ve been cutting corners—eating more frozen and prepared foods, which I know is awful for both of us.

And even after I recover, things won't be that much better for me. After all, what do I have to face? A body that has barely moved for a week and a half? Great! That means it’s going to hurt like hell when I get back out on the walking trail, and I really don’t want to face that nightmare.

On top of that, I find myself feeling a bit of resentment about my exercise history because of what I see happening to others. Over the past year or so, a number of people I know have caught the fitness bug. And when say they’ve caught the fitness but, I don’t mean they’ve come back to it. I mean, I know a handful of people right now who have just started working out FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME in their lives.

Sure, that’s a good thing, right?

It should give me reason to celebrate—More people are healthy! Hurray!

Well, you'll have to excuse me if I'm not jumping for joy.

Yes, I should feel happy about these converts, but for selfish reasons I don’t, and here’s why—all these people who have just started working out are seeing results MUCH faster than me.

If you’ve been sitting on your butt for thirty-five years and suddenly hit the gym, your body is going to notice and notice big.

But except for the six months after I got married, I’ve been working out my ENTIRE life, which is why I think I’m entitled to feel a little jealous when the newbies start dropping pounds faster than the stock market crashed in 2006.

I’m also jealous of the fact that the newbies have no injuries to hold them back. Since they’ve spent their whole lives couch surfing, they haven’t had any opportunities to get injured. And their bodies have been cushioned for so long that they don’t have as much wear and tear as mine.

The result is that the newbies can still do the kind of intense exercise—like running—that really burns the calories, things I had to give up years ago because of the knee I blew out skiing, the shoulder I wasted hitting backhands, and the elbow I destroyed returning 90-mph serves.

So, yeah, I’m jealous. I’m even a little pissed. And I think I have the right to be.

But if you think that means I’m giving up, you’re wrong.

And as soon as I stop hacking up lungs and my nose stops running, I'm going to prove it.


  1. Hang in there. Nothing like getting sick to fill a worker-outer with rage. It's almost Spring, and surely the warm weather will fix everything. That's what I always tell myself in February.

  2. I don't know if I'm one of the people you're thinking of, but most of my ~40 lb. weight loss over the last 14 months is attributable to eating less. The vast majority of my exercise (around 30 min. a day) comes from walking the dogs, but I've been doing that since 2006. While it's true that last summer I started incorporating brief jogging intervals into the once or twice a week 45 min. on a treadmill, I only made it to the gym maybe 3x a month last fall, and haven't been since December.

    I wouldn't have thought I was eating all that much before, but I've realized it's all about 1) portion control; 2) the nature of the calories I consume. I eat a lot more protein now, which means that I stay fuller longer and don't feel the *need* to eat as much. Apparently however many calories it is that I eat now is enough to maintain a 160-lb. somewhat lazy person.

  3. No, no, no, Alison, I didn't mean you (and I'm not going to say publicly whom I meant!). You're not new to the gym. You've been an exerciser for years. These are people who I mean have literally not exercised since they finished their gym requirement in high school and only passed that class with a C. I mean people who literally have NEVER exercised in their lives. I know several people like that right now, and they can exercise in a way I can't because of all my sports-related injuries, and I am insanely jealous of them.

    Don't worry--I'm not jealous of you. I'm jealous of the people who see these immediate results after starting exercise for the first time in their lives. It feels a bit like they're cheating, but then I remind myself that I've been healthy all these years and that will help me in the long run.

    Ironically, I just hit the walking trail for the first time since my illness started today!