In January, I enjoyed a week's free-trial at a fabulous gym. I have belonged to other gyms over the years, somewhere between three and five times. Never lost a pound. Never toned one ounce of flab. Never stuck it out. At this gym, I thoroughly enjoyed their group Gentle Yoga class. It was my first exposure to the practice. The Mind and Body studio was gorgeous with professional lighting and a lovely sound system. But I couldn't justify the ongoing expense of a gym membership, especially with dear husband speaking of retiring from his second career in the fall. And two kids in college. And me still not making a profit on my writing.
Fast forward two months to March. My jeans were tortuously tight. I will not buy a larger size. Spring is supposedly here, though the heat is on as I type. Our family vacation to Disney is on the horizon. I need to fit into my shorts. I need to rid myself of my winter weight gain and increase my cardio stamina to hoof it around the Magic Kingdom, trotting when necessary to get to a character meet and greet. My favorite restaurants are in Disney World. I want to eat and enjoy myself. I really wanted to join the gym. That gym.
I had finished the first draft of my work-in-progress, Resuscitated, before Thanksgiving. And I promptly lost interest in it. I would go to my critique group twice a month and listen to their stories and give thoughtful comments. But I wasn't sharing mine with them. Three more lovely ladies joined our group, thus doubling it. It finally dawned on me that I was spending money on hot tea, lunch and gas every fortnight to attend the sessions. I could instead use that money to pay for a gym membership for my husband and myself. Well, if he paid the big down payment, I could cover the monthly fees.
Thus it was now worked into the budget. I said so long to my critique partners, but just temporarily. I have stopped writing many times over the years and the original partners are used to me and my quirky fits. I hope to be back with them, eventually. But for now, I am transferring my obsessive compulsive disorder of choice from writing to working out.
I am tired of dieting. It works only as long as I can stand being a martyr and doing without many favorite foods. So I'm heeding the fictional advice of Pamela Downs in her short story, Diet Another Day, and now while I am mindful of what I am eating and my portions, no food is off limits. I am not dieting. I am taking group exercise classes at the gym four days a week, usually two classes back to back. So far I've participated in Gentle Yoga, Body Pump (an hour of dumbbell lifts, curls, squats and presses set to music) Zumba (Latin dance) and CXWorx (abdominal, back and sling exercises).
After three hours of Zumba, I'm done. I'm still no better coordinated. I have no rhythm. I can't dance. But there are dozens of other classes I'm dying to try. It was tough the first week, I only lost one pound. Normally dieting I'd lose five. But those five would come right back on when I stopped. I weighed in for week two this morning. I lost three more pounds. Without dieting! Eating whatever I wanted. Within reason. And I had fun.
Is there something you'd like to do but can't afford it? Is there something you are doing out of habit or obligation that you aren't really benefiting or enjoying anymore? If you cut it out, could you reallocate the funds to something you'd really like to try? Go for it!