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Friday, October 1, 2010

A Fractured Exercise Tale

Around the time that I was hitting puberty, I was taking dancing class three times a week.

Little known fact: I spent my last year of dancing ballet en pointe. Oh, yeah, I did.

I figured I wasn’t going to be a ballerina when I developed boobs and thighs and, ultimately, the body I have now. I haven’t grown at all since I got my period when I was 12. And my weight has totally stagnated within a range of ten pounds since then.

Granted, I’m 5’4”, so ten pounds is noticeable on me.

And I tend to get fat when I’m unhappy.

Or at least, feel fat. Which I’m sure isn’t a unique experience.

So, basically, from the ages of 14-20 and 22-25, I felt, and sometimes was, fat.

In high school, my physical activity was limited to the pacing I did in my room, strategizing how to escape my unhappiness.

Just kidding, sometimes I took begrudging walks too.

Or would go on jags of weight-loss determination and dance feverishly around my room to ABBA.

The point is, even when I was inspired to join a gym after watching The Biggest Loser in 2008, I didn’t lose significant amounts of weight.

I think this is just what my body looks like.

At my most unhappy, while living in New York City, I started going to yoga class once a week.

My instructor was a big, drag-queen-looking female opera singer who made us do sun salutations to the Christina Aguilera song “Walk Away.”

Yoga classes in NYC are expensive, so I could only afford to go once a week, but I loved it.

I loved the rubbery feeling my body had after being all flex-bendy for an hour.

I hated the cardio part of yoga (I sweat…) but loved the strength-training part and remember being particularly good at the L-stand, where you use your feet on the wall to make your body into an upside-down, inverted, L-shape.

Eventually, winter weather hindered my trip to Union Square for class, and I fell out of the habit, although my epic walk twice a day from the F train to my job on the East River continued to be a consistent part of my exercise routine.

The last few months I lived in New York City were the hardest, as I started to realize I didn’t really have a life there.

The shopping trip I took while sick with a mild digestive issue didn’t help. The cashier looked at me and my distended belly, as I purchased new sweaters or some shit, and said, “Is it a girl or a boy?”

S still asserts that he was confused and talking about how she was helping me pick out clothes, but that just doesn’t make any sense.

During my brief break between my summer job and the beginning of the semester last year, I started doing some pretty regular power-walking, while I had the time and nothing else to do.

Once school started again, I promptly stopped because my schedule became full of more important things, like trying to graduate and drinking lots of wine.

So, I’m a little wary to announce that I’ve been doing regular yoga (in my room, far from the probing eyes of more experienced yogis, on a yoga mat I bought, following Instant Watch Netflix videos) for almost six weeks.

I don’t think I’m on the road to significantly changing what my body looks like, although my biceps are definitely more defined after all those low planks.

But it feels good.

And they say a habit is formed in six weeks, so let’s hope I’m addicted soon. And that this time, it sticks.


J. Orbom said...

Rad! I work in Union Square, which yoga studio did you go to?
I enjoyed this post. It's interesting/weird to track the physical exercise routines a young woman goes through. This left me thinking of all the ridiculous teen magazine floor exercises I'd do while while watching videocassettes.

Annie said...

I went to Om. It's amazing. Also, yes, totally. I even did some exercises I got out of Self magazine last summer. Which videos did you watch? MTV's Eric Nies's Pump Up the Volume, or whatever it was called?