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Battle of the Bulge

Originally published on the former Ignore the Mess blog on 4/24/13


This is about my fight against misshapen adipose tissues that started before the pregnancy. Prepare to hear about a battle of epic proportions… both the battle, and my proportions are epic! Ok, so I am not huge, I just have a problem with cellulite distribution, it’s all on the wrong body. Having once possessed a svelte figure, it was a bit of a shock when I suddenly woke up one day with the realization that I no longer had ownership of a slender physique, but rather a bulbous one. How did this happen? Perhaps, it was the result of the sedentary lifestyle that I have cultivated? Or perhaps it was caused by my despicable addiction to elastic waistbands that allowed me to foster the illusion that I was not really gaining that much weight. Maybe I shouldn’t have learned how to cook so well? No matter what the cause, in a moment of weakness, I decided to do something about it!

The first thing I did was join a gym. Somewhere in the cobwebs of my mind, I didn’t actually plan anything past the “get the membership” point. After leaving my membership dormant for a few months, it occurred to me that I not only had to go to the gym… I was supposed to do something physical when I got there! The unfairness of it all made me want to call the cable company call center. Why the cable company? Because having worked there, I know that people call there to complain about all kinds of things and I didn’t know who else I could whine to about the inequitable situation of being obligated to do something akin to work to lose weight. But, I digress. I was daunted by this new found enlightenment, but at least I was not idiotic enough to join the women’s health club here in town that is in a strip mall right alongside a BBQ joint, a salon, and a tobacco store. The BBQ place used to be a donut shop and every time I even LOOKED at that place, all I could think was that it was much preferable to eat a donut, get my nails done, and smoke a cigarette then to pass out on a treadmill in front of a bunch of catty strangers… but again, I am on a tangent. Anyhow, I squashed my anxiety, grabbed a pair of baggy sweats and a grubby t-shirt and headed to the Mecca of the physically deprived… yes, I went to the gym.

By the time I walked ALL the way across to the most outlying region of the gym to get to the locker room, I felt like I had already done my workout. I had an overwhelming compulsion to turn right around and walk out, but fearing that the troglodytes in spandex would sense my weakness and attack me en masse, I bravely changed into my work out clothes and emerged from the locker room prepared to convince them that I belonged. I trepidatiously climbed onto the most isolated treadmill and hit start. The torture apparatus started to move out from under me. Oh my GOD! Was I supposed to actually walk on this thing! After a brief glance at the woman nearest me, I ascertained that I was to do exactly that. So I started walking. I studied the panel in front of me and found how to speed the thing up so that each step wouldn’t cause me to bump into the railing on the front of the machine, and I quickly learned not to swing my arms wildly for balance as I would hit the rails that were idiotically caging me in on the sides. After a few minutes, and filled with an ignis fatuus that I was doing well, I decided to speed the thing up. I fervently hit the speed up button only to go careening off the backside of the doomsday device. Ah, so THAT is what the rails on the side are for! Picking up what was left of my dignity, I got back on the treadmill and kept it at a moderate speed and walked and walked and walked wondering how the mindless drones that surrounded me could stand to do this every day.

Being a 24-hour gym, I thought if I worked out late at night, with less hamsters on wheels around me, I would be less intimidated. This assumption was wrong in every which way. When there are less people in the gym, there are also less people to watch. One hour of plodding away with the gym employee staring at my tremendous bulk heaving on the treadmill was enough to make me decide not to go to the gym again for another month.

I decided to try the pool instead. I decided to go late at night as the pool is isolated from the prying peepers of the hireling. Having been a lifeguard and swimming instructor for many years, I am at home in the water and have always been more graceful in the water then I could ever be on dry land. Here was a place I could really shine. I eagerly perused my stored clothing for a swimming suit. I haven’t actually been swimming in a few years and to my dismay, the suit I found was only big enough to cover one butt cheek. So, demoralized, I decided that I had to go shopping for a swim suit. At the store, I was delighted to see that they now have two-piece swim suits with little skirts and shorts attached! I grabbed a few in a couple different sizes and confidently strode to the dressing room. I tried the first one on… it was a bit too small in the chest region. Not to be denied I went for the biggest top I had grabbed. It too was lacking in the cup size, yet was so big around the rib cage that I looked pregnant. (Not the look I am going for although I had no idea it was the look I was soon to have!) After trying on many different tops of various design and size, it occurred to me that the people making these suits assumed that if your boobs are that big, then either you are that big everywhere, or you paid for them and want to show them off. I did pay for mine. Do you have ANY idea how much food it takes to obtain breasts of this size? I am appalled even thinking about it! Ok another tangent… sorry. I finally purchased a one-piece swim suit that made me feel like a sausage in an intestinal sheath and a pair of swimming shorts and primed myself for overwhelming success at working out in the pool.

I got off work and went to the gym, this time without the feeling of dread that usually accompanied me. After my hike across the gym to the locker room, I wrested the newly bought suit onto my squishy body and to my horror, discovered…. back fat! Holy gods, I never thought that I would ever have rolls on my back, but there they were, emerging from the constricting suit for the whole world to see. It took me a few minutes to compose myself enough to realize that eliminating the back fat was one of the reasons I was there in the first place. No worry, I was still confident that my swimming ability would impress more then my size.

I entered the pool enclosure and gingerly stuck a toe in the water. Oh how fortune had shined down on me! It was warm and nothing like the arctic waters of the pool I used to work at! I eagerly plunged into the water, ready to work out like I had never done before.

It really was like no work out I had ever done before. While the ability to navigate my body in the water had not diminished, it was quite an odd sensation to propel this different self across the pool. In the past, I used to move across the water care free, with a sea otter-like slenderness that cut through the water in all the ways I wanted it to. Now, I moved more like a sea cow. Still able to glide through the water gracefully, but displacing a lot more water with my bulk. Drag was acting upon my manatee shape in ways I had never experienced. I was a bit disheartened. I still worked out though, going back and forth across the pool feeling quite lucky that there were no boat propellers to run over me.

While it is a bit frustrating that I can’t do the things that I used to, I am still determined to continue with this whole working out thing. It seems even harder now after the pregnancy / having a bundle of joy hiatus. It is a little irritating that the muscle tone is starting to come back and pushing the fat out farther so, for the time being, I am actually getting bigger, but I am told that this phase will pass. At this time, I have no idea what the end result of this battle in the war against fat will be. So far, it has been an arduous one.


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