So that lovely lady on the right is me. My name is Laura. I am a self professed couch potato and have been all of my life. I come from a rather typical family, one athletic and highly metabolized brother, and two sisters, one of which exercises and kills herself physically for the pure enjoyment of it, and the other who is more like me... easily finds other, more important things to do with her time than spend three hours on a bicycle, near black out stage. I will say, she has proved to be even more determined in the area of fitness than I, and has shown me, many times, how to implement simple activities into your day, even with 4 kids.
Quickly about me. I am the youngest in my family by 8 years, so I guess you could say I grew up a little bit like an only child. Having said that, I will come out and say that I had it extremely easy. I was the little baby girl, and I learned very early on the art of persuasion. I can (not)proudly say that I have started and quit the following activities, all with my powers of persuasion: Softball, Piano, Basketball, Volleyball, Hockey, Cheerleading, Saxophone, Track & Field (of which I rocked at the hurdles, by the way), Snowboarding, Drawing, Cycling... and I think that brings you up to date. Should one be proud of such a list? Definitely not. I could use my five year struggle with Ulcerative Colitis and total Colectomy as an excuse, but the reality is, all of those things fall beautifully around that whole experience, which doesn't allow me to do so. So let's skip all of the psychology and questioning and get straight to the point. I, Laura Jean, have skillfully crafted the art of laziness and disbelief. Disbelief, you ask? Yes, I have, with years of not very hard work, mastered the ability to convince myself of how very incapable I am of achieving seemingly small, workable goals. For example: I am a crafter. I would craft 24/7 if I could, but I can't because once I reach about 63% completion on any given project, I have successfully convinced myself that it is far too boring to finish right now, and that I will come back to it later when I feel like it. This, my friends, is why I currently have eight unfini... no nine unfinished projects in my house. But let's talk about the potato part of this whole deal. I'm not active. We've established that. I think, that somewhere along the lines, God maybe made a last minute switch, and that I was supposed to be one of those really tall skinny girls who can eat some 2300 calories a day and actually lose weight... maybe... no? Alright, well thats what I tell myself, anyways. Five months ago I would have made the following statement, "If I could live my life without having to go to the gym or exert myself beyond the occasional hike or bike ride, I would be more than content with my lot." The idea was daunting, to say the very least. Beyond the obvious reasons why a lazy person does not want to exercise, there were the physical obstacles that stood in the way. Here's the deal, all of you thinly blessed men and women, you don't quite understand the emotional mountain one has to climb to be seen in the gym when they don't already look like an athlete. We all know what the buff babes and muscle men are thinking... "Wow, look at him, he can barely keep a walking pace on that treadmill. That won't last long." Or, "What is that chick doing on the circuit machines? She has obviously never used them and probably won't again." So, thats not what you think? Hmm, well thats what we THINK that you think. Ladies and Gentlemen, the mind is our greatest obstacle in overcoming any sort of hurdle we have in life... and so you know my story, and so many others. A normal day at the gym for me used to be, walk in, go on the elliptical (because it was the one cardio machine that I looked like I could really go hard, when in reality, it was only because the nature of the elliptical is to make you look like you're working your a** off when the resistance is really set to 1). After about 20 minutes (which originally was supposed to be 45, but due to boredom and the reminder of my "extra love" bouncing all around with every stride, was quickly cut by more than half) I would make my way near the "weight lifting" area of the gym, sit at a machine, do one set, and quickly leave. Who was I kidding? I didn't know what the heck I was doing, and I was not about to let all of the meat heads watch me try to figure it out. This is why 24 hour gyms are an answered prayer for insecure potatoes like me.
Ok, ok, now you've gotten an unnecessarily long introduction into the mind of this unabashedly lazy woman... so what's the deal with five months ago? Well, that would be when my husband left for his first tour of duty overseas. Last fall, he left for a month and I gave Zumba a go, and through the embarrassment and insecurity, I ended the month on my own feeling really good about myself, and seeing changes in my body. But any military wife knows that all of your efforts to health and fitness fly incredibly fast out that window as soon as that soldier of yours walks back through the door. I feel that in the society we live in, it is less common to socialize in an active setting, and more common to do something involving chairs and food that is horribly bad for you. So mine came back, and we ate, and sat, and ate, and I discovered that the difference between he and I (other than his high metabolism) was that he was actually waking up every morning for PT, while I slept, leaving me to be the one in the equation who actually was eating and not moving. Not to mention the wonderful ability food has to comfort and aid you in an emotional time of need. Anyways, the time came for him to go, and once he did I asked myself what my goal was going to be while he was gone. I had heard a lot about the Resiliency Campus on post and knew that they offered everything from fitness classes to dietitians to counselors so I decided to give them a shot. I went into this experience with my goal not relating to a number of pounds I wanted to lose, or a size I wanted to be, but to simply be able to go running with my husband when he returned. You see, I have never been able to really run in all of my adult life. My short stint in track and field was in 7th grade, and consisted mostly of hurdles and shot put. The longest I could consistently run was never more than four minutes... max. In these five months I have completed the following:
* Three meetings with the Army Wellness Center Dietitian
*Five months of consistent attendance at Core Dynamics, twice a week
*Four months of consistent Spin Class attendance, twice a week
*Multiple attempts at running two miles outside (listen people, I'm from MN... it's so dang hot outside that running nearly kills me!)
*Beginning my running career at three minute run/walk intervals and currently running a 5k in 32 minutes all the way through.
Am I an athlete? Hardly! Do I feel more confident in the gym, around all those hot dudes and chicks? Not in the least! Do I enjoy sweating so badly that I need to not only hold a towel but use it? You bet your tight little toned buns I do! Never in my life have I felt such a sense of achievement as I have in seeing myself begin to reach this goal. I am just your average woman. I cannot do a full sit up (not even with my legs being held down), I still do girly push ups (although I can maybe knock out one and a half real ones) and I spend nearly all 32 minutes of my run trying to convince myself of all of the reasons why I need to stop and walk. It's the excitement I experience when I bust through that last run time and beat it, even by 30 seconds and keeps me going. And most importantly, it is having a husband, family and friends to celebrate these small miracles with me. Because for a woman like me, thats just what they are... miracles. So, with all of that said, you now have the ability, thanks to the public nature of blogs and my inability to not share my moderately exciting active lifestyle with everyone, to witness me go from a lovely little soft potato, completely comfortable on her couch to a mildly attractive, extremely sweaty and wonderfully average babe who is really beginning to dig the treadmill. And maybe, just maybe you will get to see the day I become more comfortable with the free weights.
& compression bras