Spinning For England

Elizabeth Back In Her Spinning Days (Note My Smaller Size)

When my husband John wants to say someone is a champion at whatever activity they are engaged in, he uses the expression “ ________ for England!”  You can fill in the blank with what ever works for you. The other day we were discussing his childhood and he said his younger brother could sleep for England when he was a kid and I thought of that this morning after my spin class.

Spin class! I know you’re probably thinking, what is Elizabeth talking about and where is she? I’m still in Atlanta with what looks like a summer here before me and while I’m doing more than just trying to diminish the extra girth gained during my halcyon days of sausage, chips and egg meals in Cornwall, getting fit has also become a priority.

While I wouldn’t exactly admit to eating for England, I have put some real effort into sampling a variety of food combinations I would have likely avoided while living in the US. Before moving to Cornwall, I generally counted fat grams like a deep-sea diver would the remaining air in her tanks, but I will admit that sometimes I strayed from the path on my own so I can’t blame it all on my move to the UK.

I found my inner baker in Cornwall as some of the folks in my village could tell you and I discovered that sharing whatever I was whipping up in the kitchen with my neighbors was better alternative than freezing it for later. Anyone with a decent sized sweet tooth can tell you that frozen cookies taste almost as good going down as those eaten hot out of oven. You just have to exercise a bit of caution so you don’t chip a tooth as you sneak a cold one on your way past the freezer.

Poor John has more than a time or two gone in search of a little home-baked goody he saw go into the deep freeze only to discover after a through search of the contents, that some cookie monster had been there before him.

Going back what I said earlier about spinning … to maintain my sanity while I am sweltering through endless days of temperatures in the high 90s, I’ve joined a local gym so I can spin on their bikes in classes designed to work the weight right off your backside and other tubby places.

So far, it’s been great!  The instructor said this morning that I was doing really well and that my body seemed to have good muscle memory. I know she meant that I had picked it back up as if I’d not been away from it for so long, but it’s actually been about seven years since I was on a spin bike with any real consistency.

Thank goodness my muscles can remember what a good workout feels like because I think I had pretty much forgotten. That said, I am loving the classes and as John might say, “ I’m spinning for England! “

And just in case you’re wondering … I’m down seven pounds so far and my cycle shoes haven’t even arrived from Cornwall yet.

I Want To Wear My Shirts Tucked In Again

Loch Lomond, Scotland - Summer 2004

Okay, so I know that tucked in shirts are not exactly what folks are wearing these days, but I would really like to be able to flaunt my unfashionable side in public. Why, you may ask … because it would mean I had reclaimed my waistline. As we’ve moved into a new year most of us are working on something. Along with half a dozen other clear goals, I want to work on my fitness level and drop that new middle before my hips and bustline merge completely together.

I think I have made peace somewhere with the woman who said mean things to herself only a few months ago and frankly I’m not sure how or when it happened. While I weigh more now than I have in years, I am much more gentle with myself in terms of name calling and I think I can let go of what I should look like and get on with what I do look like.

There is a level of acceptance that makes it possible to see the larger picture which really IS about health and fitness. Maybe turning fifty had something to do with this shift … I’m not sure. What I do know is that my chief concern now in losing weight and getting rid of my middle ground has more to do with the health benefits such as decreased risk of diabetes and heart disease than it does casting a thinner shadow.

Plus, I secretly want to be able to be strong enough to do pull ups from a dead hang like I was doing in the photo below.

Or strong enough to climb stairs from the underside like I did in late 2005 when I needed to paint a wall and didn’t have a ladder tall enough to reach. My friend Patrice took this with her cell phone while I was  hanging and painting about 20 feet from the floor below. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the smartest way to do it, but I got the wall painted and had a little workout that day.

The photo below is one of the most recent. John took this on Christmas day with his camera and I can tell you now the bulge stretching the fabric around the sleeve is sadly not muscle.

The picture of us together in the snow was taken by my daughter Miranda and might give you a better idea of what I’m talking about regarding my midsection. I know you can’t actually see my waistline here, but I am definitely not looking fit.

When I was 29, I lost 42 pounds. I called it my post pregnancy weight, but by then Miranda was almost three. I used several resources to make that happen and followed a healthy diet and exercise plan. It took me about five months and it stayed off because I made the changes to keep it off. Twenty years later it’s time to revamp the program and while I don’t have so much to lose this time, I am looking for a little support and a program to follow.

I found SparkPeople online and after giving it a review, I think it might help me address both the fitness and weight loss aspects along with developing some new habits with my nutrition choices. While they have loads of great online support pages, you may be interested in browsing though the SparkPeople blogs of real people working on their own goals. I forgot to mention that it’s FREE!

I doubt I will take time to blog about the process on the SparkPeople site … I’ve got too many other things on my plate (no pun intended) but I have a catchy name over there if I do decide to share. I call myself  NONFATEXPAT.

If you have any experience with SparkPeople, I would be interested to hear your stories.