February’s Song: Stuck in the middle with goo


Someone asked (hello, Alexis!) whether I would be starting a new habit, given that it was a new month, and whether I would be bailing on the old one, given that January is (hooray! hooray!*) behind us.

My answer, for this and probably every other month for the foreseeable future, is that I will abso-toot-ly be starting a new habit of some kind every month from here on in. I’m a convert to the Incremental School of Change; between my extraordinary and transformative (and musical!) experience with guitar and the Marketing Calendar experiment thingy (available as part of my own, ultra-fabulous, Virgo 1.0, you-heard-it-here-first site, The Virgo Guide to Marketing AND the regular Marketing Mix blog feed AND a podcast!), there is no question in my mind that for a big, honkin’ hunk of the population, slow and steady, and additive, and cumulative, is the way to go.

I oughta know: I’ve been dealing with a slow but steady accumulation of unsightly body fat around my midsection for probably four years now, ever since The BF and I met and decided we’d be each other’s perfect partner to grow fat and happy with.

Only I’m not so happy about the fat.

Up until about two years ago, I have been thin my whole life. As in, one of those annoying people who never (really) had to worry about gaining weight. Of course, after the Crohn’s diagnosis, I have a better understanding of why. My intestines were basically a crazy, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride of a log flume for nutrients: zippity doo dah, with emphasis on the zippity. And, um, doo.

Also, let us not forget that up until recently, I didn’t have middle age to contend with. Or I did, but it hadn’t manifested itself around my midsection yet. I’ve always been a bit behind the curve developmentally, so it’s not too surprising. Late bloomer to everything, including the decreptitude that comes with age.

Then there was quitting acting, which did nothing to help matters. I went from being a reasonably active human being who was out and about a significant portion of the day to someone who lives and (slowly, but surely) dies by her computer. There are days where I walk less than an 1/8th of a mile. Or there used to be; Arno J. gets me out a lot now, and I’ve stopped wearing the pedometer.

So I was casting about for cool stuff that would keep me active. It couldn’t be gym-related, because I hate the gym with the blinding white hot heat of a thousand sweaty ass-cracks in spin or whatever other stupid class they’re pushing at the moment. Plus I cannot get over the lunacy of DRIVING somewhere to GET EXERCISE. Um. Yeah.

After much poking and nosing about, I’ve come up with three things I’m going to try (in addition to the mostly-daily Arnie walks, which are no longer enough to keep the fat off my ass):

  • Jumping Rope. My friend, Joan, has been doing this for 1/2 hour daily for years and looks fabulous. She also has been doing this for 1/2 hour daily for years. In other words, it will likely take me a few months to work up to even 10 minutes of jumping daily.
  • Mini-trampoline. Or, as trendyhood would have it “rebounding.” Yes, really. The sites for the tramps and the instructional videos make my insides get a little upheavy; that kind of lousy design sense doesn’t bode well for me digging on the mini-tramp. But my sister has offered one on loan, so I’m’a give it a whirl.
  • Hooping! My friend, Jodi, has been hooping for some time. Sometimes with FIRE. Yes, I said “FIRE.” (I did not yell it in a crowded theater, so back off, Jack.)

For obvious reasons, I will begin with the hooping. One, I have a hoop. (See photo!) Two, I was hula hoop champeen on the Sacred Heart all-concrete, all-the-time playground back in the day, the day being somewhere around 1968 or ’69. Hey, 40 years…what can it matter?

Plus, I now have fabulous Hulu action to keep me entertained whilst hooping: they just added Seasons 3 & 4 of Dragnet! I think there’s kind of a fine symmetry to hooping along with the TV output of the guy responsible for introducing the two people who made me into the now-fat mass of cells I am.

Wish me luck. And please, share your February plan, if you have one.


*Not that January was bad, exactly; it was just a little hard on the ol’ bod.

UPDATE! Neglected to mention that the photos in the triptych are by fabulous hoopster galpal, Jodi Womack. Woohoo for agreeing to document my body fat!


  1. My February goal is to re-take-up my 2008 goal of gym-going. (Is that a little like a reuptake inhibitor? If it means more endorphins or serotonins or something-ins in my brain chemistry I’m all for it.) I haven’t been since Nov 20 so now it’s like starting over. I hate that, but I hate the fat coming back worse. And I hadn’t even gotten rid of all of it yet.

    So, yeah physical activity is on the list for Feb.

    Now to get it on the calendar between all day meetings…..

  2. I’m a Virgo-stellium, marketing/communications queen with a mid-life to contend with, a life-long thinness and recently arrived belly that bewilders me. And I have about a dozen hula hoops. One of the first groove-hoopers in the DC region, methinks. Perhaps someday I’ll hoop with the First Lady. http://is.gd/hsJa I come to you via @stevenfisher.

  3. I have to say, tramping is the first type of exercise–besides tennis and dancing–that doesn’t either bore me or kill me. The lady I bought mine from calls it “dancing for your cells.” Hooping sounds fun, too. Or you could do both, and get all hopped up on hoop. (Sans poop.)

  4. I *did* offer it on loan; want me to drop it off? I’ve been using it lately so please take it for a while so I’ll get my butt back to boxing class!

  5. I think my aim is to get out more this month. Dec/Jan I was locked away translating a book on doping. Now the pupsters by my desk are 4 weeks too I can get out and, er, talk to people. Running a kennel gets me out walking with dogs but as the light returns to Stockholm, perhaps it’s the return of me too.

    Good luck with your project!

  6. While I would really like to return to a regular exercise regime, I think I would be spreading myself too thinly if I were to try it right now (over the next six weeks I have to prepare for a set of exams which mean a lot to me), so instead I’m aiming for something small but significant, at least for me – to be more mindful of the time I spend online. Not that I’m giving up the internet, which would be just about impossible for me anyway, but I’ve realised (not original or deep, I know) that spending hours and hours surfing is just a tremendously unproductive way to use your time and right now, I can’t justify it when I otherwise feel I should be using every spare minute studying. Last summer I was away from home travelling and consequently had no regular access to a TV, so I went from being an avid watcher to someone with, well, other things to do, even after I returned home; I watch occasionally and make the effort to see something I’ve heard good things about, but beyond that, the TV goes off (this is an enormous difference from the channel-hopping marathon sessions I used to have once upon a time). I want to see if I’m capable of doing this with the internet – using it purposefully, or within a specific time limit.

    And my goodness, what a long time it took me to express that!

  7. Hello back! Hooping requires far more coordination and persistence than I possess, so kudos to you for the effort!

    Let’s see … February goal… Mine also centers around exercise. I discovered that skimping on exercise + 1/2 and 1/2 in my coffee (which for me is more like 3/4 and 1/4, heavy on the CREAM) = about 10 extra pounds in one month. Oops! Not a pretty experiment.

    I do so love my cream, so my goal is to get into the habit of working out three times a week this month. I do circuit training via Stroller Strides, which kicks my butt, and all other muscles, to boot.

    This business of having to work at it just because I’m 41 is about the only thing I’m not digging about getting older.

  8. I like your style! What fun. :-) Tried getting regular exercise in myself and may just have to accept I’m not the exercising kind… But I will use this month to finish two projects! Also am committed to 30 minutes of daily reading, business or pleasure. Yes, blogroll counts. Or is that a cop-out? Ah well.
    Happy hooping for now!
    Dee xx

  9. It never occurred to me to use the hula hoop as a piece of exercise equipment. It’s brillilant! I bet my kid would even do it with me.

  10. NFH – Couldn’t do the gym, for reasons stated in post, but also b/c of the time suck. I’m hoping the hooping sort of gets me excited about exercise, period, 10 minutes at a time. We’ll see!

    JessieX – Wow. A hoopioneer! It looks like Mrs. Obama is using an actual kid’s toy hoop in the shot–that is HARD for a grownup! (And I checked out @stevenfisher, but I can’t say as I know him. But thanks, @stevenfisher!)

    Kelly – That is a fine description! And look, we’ve tricked my sis into bringing over the mini-tramp (hi, e.!)

    Joely – Yeah, walking ain’t enough. Just ain’t.

    Jon – You live in a place that’s -100º F, right? AND you’ve just embarked on a solo freelance career? Cut yourself some slack, bro!

    Fionnuala – If I’d had more time, I’d have written a shorter letter, right? Giving up TV made all the difference. I’d like to say I could curtail my Internet time, but I steal all my best stuff from the web, so it’d kill my career. Will just have to find focus another way.

    Alexis – I used to drink coffee regular (in NYC) and used cream for years. I don’t remember when I started taking it black, but once you go black…well, you know.

    Doris – One step at a time (no pun intended). I’m not much for exercise myself; never have been. But I am really not for buying all new clothes. So. You see.

    Amber – Totally! Check out that photo that JessieX linked to, above. It’s the sensation that’s rockin’ the nation!

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