I was always one of those people who was effortlessly thin until about five years ago. Somehow, I blinked, and I was ten pounds too heavy. Well, I was ten pounds heavier than I felt comfortable. If I caught myself at the wrong angle in the mirror, I saw a stranger.

So, I decided to do something about it. I moved the scale from a box in the basement into the bathroom. No more denial. I started counting calories on an app on my iPhone. I also switched my gym schedule.

I used to go to the gym in afternoon after I got some work done. I did a little treadmill action, while watching Kardashian reruns. That wasn’t good enough, so I’m taking morning spin classes instead. I need a professional to kick my ass. I’m not sure I’m losing weight yet, but I’m definitely stronger.

This new routine has thrown me into the gym culture big time. In the afternoons, the gym is pretty much empty. It’s me and one 70-year old woman who reads People magazine on a bike. The mornings are packed. After three weeks, I’m starting to recognize the regulars. I know which guys are the projectile sweat-ers in my spin class. I know which instructors play the best music. I also know who has exercise-anorexia.

There are a few women in my spin class, who after doing ten miles on their bikes, will get on the eliptical machine for an hour, and then come back in the evening for another class. Three hours at the gym per day. That’s a little weird. There are a few hardcore cases that require professional intervention and a brownie sundae.

I need to get to that place in between chubby girl in the mirror and gaunt woman in the spin class. That place is ten pounds.

To lose this weight, I’ve made several tough changes. Pasta and bread are gone — not easy, but necessary. The leasurely Kardashian workouts were tossed. I’m going to give my body another month before I take more drastic steps, but wine and cheese will be the last thing that I’ll fling off this boat.

12 thoughts on “Ten.

  1. Yes and yes to this!

    I too have experienced the “joy” of the slower metabolism. Coupled with a rotator cuff injury 18 months ago (nick-named 40-year-old shoulder by the doc), I also gained 10 pounds and lost my level of fitness.

    About two months ago I decided that I had to up my fitness game. I see a 25 year old trainer 2x a week. And spin when I can fit it in. I don’t “love” spinning but I love how much cardio I get out of a 45 minute or 70 minute class. I also started outrigger canoeing with my husband (we go out weekly with a crew of 4 or 6).

    I’ll never be the size 4 again but I like feeling strong and healthy. And I love to waterski/wakeboard and need a level of fitness to keep on with those.

    It’s a commitment both of time & money but it’s worth feeling better and being healthier. I wish I could be disciplined enough to work as hard on my own as I do with my trainer/in a spin class! They are luxuries but at least I’m getting the exercise.


  2. If you want to see something really depressing, try a calorie calculator online and keep adjusting the age upward. You get allowed fewer and fewer calories as you get older, all else being equal.

    Also, the guys get more calories at the same height and the same weight.


    1. Also, the guys get more calories at the same height and the same weight.

      Related: I ate so many fish tacos for dinner.


      1. One of the saddest things I’ve ever realized was–why yes, my husband does get to eat twice as much as me at dinner. Every night. If he doesn’t eat that extra slice of pizza, he starts wasting away.


  3. My gym went down in price this year from $60 a month to $20 per month. With the new plan, they brought in tons of people with good intentions and bad follow through. The gym was packed in January when they reduced their rates. Now, it’s just us regulars.

    I’m psyched. The NYSC club is clean, near by, and includes classes. Can’t beat $20 per month.


  4. I am in the SAME boat, although I have like half the commitment of you when it comes to counting calories. I need to find something to motivate me, but my big problem is the same time my metabolism is slowing down, my body is starting to fall apart too. Training for a half marathon used to nip these things in the bud, but my knees can’t take it. So not fair. And really – I’ve already come to grips with the fact that if it comes down to wine or 10 pounds, I will clearly have to accept the 10 pounds, as there’s no way the wine is going to go


    1. Shannon said:

      “I need to find something to motivate me, but my big problem is the same time my metabolism is slowing down, my body is starting to fall apart too.”

      Yeah, that is the essential problem.

      I don’t know that my metabolism is slowing down, but I do know for a fact that a lot of the standard cardio activities that I used to enjoy/tolerate are now off-limits: long walks, treadmill, elliptical. The elliptical machine that we bought a couple years back gave me peroneal tendonitis after 2 weeks of modest 30-35 workouts (and not even every day). It took me a good year to shake off the peroneal tendonitis, and I still get occasional flare-ups if I do to much. Oh, yeah and visiting water parks produces flare-ups, too. I used to love water parks!

      This is such a bummer, because back in the old days, I’d just do a 90 minute treadmill session or do a long walk while listening to an audiobook several times a week and I’d be set.

      I’ve talked a number of times to my podiatrist and I know there are good options (spinning or yoga or swimming), but I don’t have any particular fondness for those activities. I think Curves would be a good option for me, but our local one is just a litttle too far away to be practical.

      As they say in Polish, starosc nie radosc. (Old age isn’t joy–it rhymes in Polish.)


    2. Yep – that’s why I no longer run. Too hard on my joints.

      I love kayaking & outrigger canoeing because it’s what I call vicarious fitness. They are both fun & satisfying yet also a great workout.

      The spin studio I go to is very social. Road biking is huge here on the west coast and bikers use spinning especially in the winter as a way to stay fit. The guy who started this particular studio has created a lovely atmosphere. It’s an eclectic mix ranging in age from 20’s-60’s. It’s an art to create that kind of environment and make money at it.

      For me having it fun & challenging & the right mix of people is insurance that I’ll keep going. It also helps living in a place with lots of active people.


  5. Just please don’t focus too much on the number on the scale. It should be about the health, the fitness and the fit/feel more than the number on the scale. I’ve spent a lot of the past year building back my endurance after last year’s catastrophic anemia and other problems. This summer my task is to build muscle and fitness – the number on the scale may fluctuate in weird ways but I’m doing my body good as I expect you are.


    1. Yep, building muscle, bone density, etc. are much more important than a few pounds here or there. Of course major weight gain can impact your ability to get around easily, so it’s good to nip it in the bud if you can. But that will probably be through diet and not exercise. Exercise is good for lots of things, but at this age, if you are already reasonably fit, it’s probably not going to do much unless you become one of those crazy gym rats. (Even then, eating tends to increase with exercise, and if not you’re just hungry all the time. It’s no way to live.) Of course YMMV, but this is what I have found consistently.

      As for not recognizing the person you see in the mirror… might as well get used to it! It’s a rare person, even a healthy one, who looks the same at 40 or 50 as they did in their 20s. And by your 60s or 70s, who knows what you’ll look like. I’ve always thought that the superhealthy and beautiful people would have the hardest time with aging.


      1. af’s comment is relevant to me because I attended the funeral of a very elderly relative last weekend. I only knew him as an old man and he used to tell me that people told him he looked like Rudolph Valentino. I would just nod, but really couldn’t see it. Over the weekend, his widow showed me pictures of when they were young. Wow! He was smokin’ and really did look like Valentino.


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