It’s the year of getting back into shape

The last word about dads on Father's Day

Are you as sad as I am that the Winter Olympics are over? And
yes, the closing ceremonies were stunning, but what I will miss
most are those athletes: human perfections of mind and body working
in spectacular harmonization. It was a moment to witness the
perfect concert of athletic excellence. A moment to be uplifted by
such dedication of purpose.
Are you as sad as I am that the Winter Olympics are over? And yes, the closing ceremonies were stunning, but what I will miss most are those athletes: human perfections of mind and body working in spectacular harmonization. It was a moment to witness the perfect concert of athletic excellence. A moment to be uplifted by such dedication of purpose. A moment to ponder the pure commitment of an Olympian. A moment to movingly reflect, “Good grief! I am a physical wreck!”

And so it was that I, in my (ahem) advancing maturity, declared it time to pummel my physique back into shape. The attempt would be Olympian.

Now don’t think I haven’t tried diets – lots of them. And most of them work, except they work better on other people. Because I have a stubborn streak in me that says, “What? Not eat that piece of pie? Well, I don’t THINK so!”

Even those diets that don’t parade about as diets failed. Let’s not call it a “diet,” the theory goes; let’s call it a “healthy lifestyle.” By all means, fool my brain into thinking I love carrots and cardboard cereal. Sure. A “healthy lifestyle” sounds really great and outdoorsy, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want to be healthy and natural and outdoorsy? Well, that would be me after a week of bulgur and sprouts when to avoid the Ben & Jerry’s I must do everything humanly possible short of tying myself to a fencepost.

So this year I’m taking a different approach. Instead of a diet or, um … “healthy lifestyle,” I’m “cutting back a tad.” Building in some whole grains, fresh veggies, lean proteins. That sort of stuff. Learning to love fruit as dessert. With maybe just the teeniest smidgeon of something yummy on top.

Now if you live on Planet Earth (or if you’ve seen even one episode of “The Biggest Loser”), you know that physical activity is the key to weight loss, right? So the next step is choosing the style of physical activity that’s best for you (and by “you,” of course I mean “me”). Something doable. Enjoyable, even. Tragically, pedicures probably don’t qualify as physical activity, so investing in a gym membership is the smarter option. And you’d think with the number of gym memberships I’ve invested in, I’d be a mere wisp. Well, you’d think.

The problem with gym memberships is that you actually have to GO to the gym and once you’re there, you must then “work out.” Unfortunately, the physical activity known as “Paying your Membership Fee” doesn’t by magical osmosis turn you into Body Beautiful. That’s right, friends; working out involves, well … sweat. And I just don’t do sweat anymore. That “advancing maturity” thing, you know.

Finally I discovered a better alternative: water. I love water. I revel in the weightlessness of gliding through water chlorinated enough to take a natural redhead to strawberry blonde. And whatever chlorine does (and it’s not something I want to think too much about), it is tolerable. What isn’t tolerable is the thought of a (gulp) swimsuit. As in wearing one. In public.

The fact that I’m beyond wearing a bikini doesn’t mean I shouldn’t venture into a swimming pool again though, does it? And crossing state lines before appearing in anything less than a full-body wetsuit is tempting but, you know, there’s the price of gas and all.

So I bit the bullet and signed up for a water aerobics class that requires, yes, a swimsuit. And ya know? This might just work seeing as how water doesn’t involve sweating or lacing up my tennis shoes, which these days is a workout in itself.

Upon joining my fellow swimmer-exercisers in the pool, I soon realize all that flexing of muscles underwater is a good thing. “Feel it in your core!” calls our aerobics teacher energetically. Ah, yes, my “core,” wondering where that might have strayed to, um … let’s see …

“What if you can’t find your core?” shouts a male voice from the rear. Exactly.

And float? Oh, boy, do I float! I am definitely gold medal material in floating. “If you can, let your feet come up off the bottom for this one,” instructs our teacher encouragingly. If I can? You bet I can! I can float like this all day. See? I’m floating now, no problem, since … oh, dear Lord, my rear end is its own floatation device.

Finally it’s time for the water aerobics barbells. These barbells are light as a feather. Wow! This is so easy. Except … whoa! Pushing Styrofoam barbells under water takes muscle. “Olympian” muscle, perhaps. And should those babies ever get loose underwater, let’s just say you’d hear an unsafe “SPROING” that could launch me straight up into the rafters. Well. I’ll bet that’s something you don’t see every day at the Olympics.

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