"A fit mom is a happy mom."
The bumper sticker does not lie. I know some of us crafting moms don't like to hear that. So much of who we are is "creating" things. Reaching inside ourselves and bringing what we feel inside, out into the world, making the world prettier. It feels so good to do that, especially when it is turning out the way we envisioned it in our minds. There is only one problem. SO much of all of that is done SITTING DOWN. I have fought with that all my life. I am not a couch potato, but maybe a craft, um, cucumber? Suddenly it was getting harder for me to want to actively play with my kids. First it was just that I didn't feel like running around "this time" and soon, it was every time that I would choose to sit on the bench and watch. It wasn't long afterward that it actually began to hurt when I ran around with them. I thought, oh, I guess this is what late 30's feels like. But I was wrong, I was just OUT OF SHAPE from all the "creating". Not that crafting was wasted time. I treasure sharing that time with my children, but I also wanted to feel strong again.
So yes, I know, here is that word we are all tired of seeing : "ZUMBA" . I am really not a crowd follower. I somehow have the desire to ignore things that everyone else seems to love. I don't think I even do this consciously, and who do I think I am anyway? As if I have some sort of elite taste that is better than the masses?!
Okay, back to the point: Zumba was one of those things. You can't go anywhere on the internet without seeing something about ZUMBA. It is on all the gym schedules. There are dvd's, books, clothing, jewelry, it is an entire empire of ZUMBA. Nothing that huge can be worth doing right? Well.
We joined the gym where my children are on swim team. We figured we were there waiting for them anyway why not exercise a little, right? I assumed I would just be walking the treadmill. I am very tall, 5'11" and I really don't want to add any large muscles to my body, even though everyone swears by it and how it increase metabolism etc. I really just wanted to trim down. I had recently discovered Tracy Anderson (saving that for next Fitness Friday), the trainer to many of Hollywood's best bodies, and her method uses a lot of dance to trim down. Hmmm, I thought, I bet that could work well. So when a friend at the gym mentioned how much she enjoyed the Zumba class there I decided, despite it's popularity, I would try it.
I LOVED it!! I couldn't believe how much fun it was! The instructor was so inspiring. She looked great, and could dance so well, I kept thinking "I want to be able to move like that too!". The hardest part was seeing myself in the mirror. I usually avoided mirrors since I no longer really recognized the person looking back at me. I chose a back corner of the dance room where I couldn't see the mirror, and got to work. Tracy Anderson says to do well with your routine you have to "perform", you work your body so much better when you are trying to look good while you do it. Somehow "performing" works your core better, puts your mind/body connection thing into place and it all works together and gives you bigger results. So instead of being a little wallflower that was afraid to move her hips, I went for it. I moved it all and knew I looked ridiculous, but after two classes I was already beginning to feel a difference. So I kept going back and kept dancing as best as I could. I'm sure the instructor had to try very hard to keep from laughing. I didn't care. I finally was having some time for ME. After four children, this one hour of Zumba was "ME" time and I wasn't going to waste it by being self conscious. The fact that the lights are kept low helped too!
I started Zumba in October. I had time for two classes a week. I didn't exercise otherwise and I really didn't change the way I was eating, except I tried to add more fresh veggies and fruits to what I was already eating. By January, I took my three younger kids to a playground while we waited for my eldest to be done with her swim practice. Suddenly I found myself wanting to run around and PLAY with them on the playground. I wasn't pushing myself out of guilt, I was scampering after them up, over and through the various play equipment, almost like a giddy child. I still remember the look of shocked happiness on my 9 year-old's face. Once I realized what I was doing I almost cried with joy!! I had energy, agility and flexibility! No longer did I feel fragile, and old, or worrty that might break something if I fell. My joints didn't pinch when I ran. I didn't feel like I was carrying a couple sacks of flour around my ankles. I felt free! I felt STRONG!
The scale didn't change a whole lot, maybe about 8-10 pounds, but my body started looking younger. My rear end looked much more like the one I remembered. My back slimmed down A LOT! Even my chest looked better in my shirts, perhaps because my abs went down a bit. By February I was down one and a half clothing sizes. Now I realize to many people that isn't very much, but we tall people can hide a lot of weight within one clothing size. This is why so much weight had snuck up on me to begin with.
Now it is April, I am almost ready to be two whole sizes down, but I promise, even without the weight loss, which is inevitable with Zumba, it is the way my body feels and the confidence I now have in moving it that makes it all worth it.
I feel like I am getting a new life back. THANK YOU ZUMBA!!