Confessions of a non-gym rat

“Fitness” has always been a four-letter word for me. My past “workout” routines have involved making the circuitous route from my favorite easy chair to the fridge for more spinach and artichoke dip, or the short walk from my desk to the restroom. Sometimes, if I’m feeling super adventurous, I park a little farther away from the office door . . . you know, for the extra walk. Or I get a salad instead of a mayo-drenched sandwich.

But these were all very minor, sporadic changes. Only twice have I made a concentrated effort to get in better shape, lose some weight and generally feel better about myself — and once was by accident. In college, my campus was enormous; the miles it took me to walk from my car in a distant parking lot to class were what allowed me to eat Chick-fil-A for lunch daily and still lose weight. My sophomore year at the University of Maryland, I dropped ten pounds without blinking.

And then I got spoiled.

In the post-college world, of course, I’m not walking uphill in the cold or jogging to a class across campus in five minutes or less. I’m getting up and dressed, then going to work and plunking down at my desk chair — where my behind sits for four hours or more at a stretch. I’m not moving. I’m not active. And I think the way I feel reflects that.

My dad warned me this would happen. In your first “real world” office job, it seems, you’re completely stationary — and that’s not exactly conducive to keeping your weight down. I debated doing something about it years ago but never felt motivated . . . until I broke up with a boyfriend. And needed a way to channel my aggression/boredom.

So exercise it was.

I bought a series of walking DVDs by Leslie Sansone, which I’ve written about before. They’re awesome. And for a year or so, I was very religious about doing a two- or three-mile walk nightly. But, you know . . . eventually, I became bored. Complacent. And after getting back from a trip to California, I completely lost my momentum. Then stopped.

For the past few months, Spencer and I have been sporadically going to the gym together. It’s free for him at work, so no commitment, and just $5 for me each visit. This worked off and on each week but, coupled with a 45-minute drive after work to his building, it just wasn’t practical. For us to achieve some sort of real fitness routine, it has to be convenient and sustainable. We have to be able to go several times per week.

Enter the gym.

Yes, friends, I’m now a keychain-card-carrying member of a local gym. I go in and use a locker room. I own workout pants and can use an elliptical. On Sunday, Spencer and I had our inaugural one-hour session and left feeling great. Sweaty, tired and decidedly not glamorous . . . but great.

I’m not going to put pressure on myself to have XYZ complete by a certain time . . . but I would really like to lose some weight before ordering my bridesmaid dress for Erin’s wedding in September. I just want to feel good about me. And with Spencer just as committed to regular gym time, I think we’ll really make a go of this. Our plan is to go every other day after work, and on either a Saturday or Sunday. I’ll have my iPod in hand.

And yes, sometimes I do wear my houndstooth coat to the gym. I’m still me — gym rat or no.

18 thoughts on “Confessions of a non-gym rat

  1. You are motivating me to get back to it — it’s funny how one trip can throw everything off. I just got back from eating way too much in DC and walking way too little! Oh gym, be nice to me later! XO


  2. Very good, Meg! I’m not much of a gym rat, either. But for a while, I was really into it, and went at least twice a week (no more, alas).

    Good luck in the gym. Hopefully you enjoy it, that’s half the battle won.


  3. I’ve tried to lose weight so many times in the past, and always get derailed somwhere along the way. Good for you for making some healthy changes- I’ll be doing the same as well! I’ll be doing mainly portion control and some at-home workouts (surprisingly none of the gyms in my area offer childcare!) with the hopes of losing 20 lbs. by the fall, and 45 pounds long-term, because I just don’t like myself much right now. I would like to get back to LOVING myself and this is one of the routes that I can take. High fives for you, and e-mail me if you ever need a personal cheerleader!


  4. Ugh, I feel like I have major Seasonal Affective Disorder this year. I haven’t been to the gym for months and have a huge list of excuses ranging from it’s too cold to it will be too crowded because the New Years Resolution people will be there. I need to get myself into gear. I can’t wait for spring to get here!


  5. YAY MEG! Good for you.

    I joined the gym in September and believe me when I say, as soon as people start noticing you’re dropping weight, it becomes 10x easier to go to the gym to keep it up.

    Go you!


  6. Love that coat, by the way. I’ve always had to be active, but I could stand to lose some weight. Pssst…load some audios on your iPod. You won’t want to stop elliptical-ing!!


  7. Sitting around at work all day has made an immense difference in my fitness level too – so I know exactly where you’re coming from! Good luck with your new gym!


  8. My weight gain was unfortunately caused by an 11-year infection in my teeth which they finally got rid of about 18 months ago. (You’re the one who had the bad tooth issue, right?) Since that time, I’ve been working on losing all the weight I gained. It’s a long journey, though, and sometimes I feel like I’ll never get there. I’ve been doing so much more this year than last, though, and it feels good. It helps that I’m limiting my sit-down-and-read time, so I’m on my feet more often! Plus we got a Wii Fit for Christmas and coupled with the elliptical and exercise bike in the house, I can do a whole variety of stuff without going to the gym. Gyms scare me. 😀

    Good luck to you! 🙂


  9. Being a fellow Terp from the U of M (Fear the Turtle) I can attest to and remember those long, horrible walks from one end of campus to another. Cold and horrible wind, rain, or snow – class it was. Come to think of it, I also lost some weight when I lived on the opposite end of campus and had to walk to the English building. A gazillion years ago.

    I’ve been trying to focus on my nutrition primarily – I was a vegan 3 years ago, then a year ago became a vegetarian when my husband and I went to Italy for our honeymoon (I mean, who doesn’t eat a ton of cheese in Italy? Can’t be a vegan there!) and I need to lose the weight I put on. I’m back to trying to remain a vegan and because I’m lazy, I figured I’d start a blog that I’d occasionally complain about myself on. Visit me if you want: The Wanna Be Vegan – I’m trying to eat healthy again, and it’s a bit tough! And like Amanda, I hate gyms, so kudos to you! 🙂


  10. Love the pic and the coat! And your very reasonable and optimistic vibe here. I think modern life is so fast and stuffed that it is hard for us to prioritize self and health, but I find something about this post very motivating. Once the littlest babe is here and I have gotten a smidge of rest, I plan to head back to the gym. And I will come here for book recs. (Oddly, I have historically read most swiftly and efficiently on the elliptical. Go figure!)


  11. I’m definitely in a similar situation. Although, my college treks back and forth to class are not really all that long or strenuous and have not been enough for me to avoid the freshman fifteen. And so last year, I started rock climbing and doing yoga. Although as my schedule gets busier my visits to the gym are less frequent. But I like your attitude about it: and it is certainly something special to have a gym buddy. It is so inspiring to have someone to hit the gym with and push you harder.


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