Wednesday, February 10, 2010

mirror, mirror on the wall...

I forced myself to the gym the other day. In the winter the gym is just what I do. On this particular day at the gym I was slow jogging on the treadmill and despising every minute of it. I couldn't help but think about all the great things about life I was missing out on because I was trapped at the gym. It got me thinking, which is one thing I can say about the treadmill- it is good for serious thinking.

I was thinking about my relationship with the gym. The gym has always been my free ticket to eat what I want. Meaning, I can cancel out calories consumed by logging gym hours. In my past life this was a pretty fair trade because I had time to kill. Why not have an extra glass of wine or a big fat slice of cake if I am just going to burn it off later? In fact it was a perfect system. I could eat what I want and avoid being bored during daylight hours. The gym gave me a purpose and a place I needed to be. Plus, the gym was a good place to impress hot men with how tight my shorts were. I won't pretend that the gym is not a great place to flaunt ones sexuality... because that would be a farce. I even scored a date with a personal trainer for that crazy bike race guy Lance Armstrong. See? The gym really did work for me.

Now I am a mom and wife. Definitely not looking to pick up men (one is plenty for me- thank you very much), my stretch marks are not exactly something I want to flaunt and most importantly, I don't have the luxury of being selfish with my time anymore. A trip to the gym simply takes time away from a multitude of other things I would rather be doing.

It is time to face my new reality: Two hours a day at the gym is just not practical nor desirable. This leaves me with a couple of options. Option #1: be okay with carrying around extra weight. Or, option #2: figure out a way of eating that is healthy and negates the need for a whole lotta gym time. Anyone who knows me well would tell you that option one isn't really an option at all.

I suppose this is one reason why the vegan lifestyle has become more attractive to me. As much as I would like to lose weight and get back into my old jeans I am just not as motivated by my vanity as I used to be. The idea of looking a certain way no longer propels me to restrict foods or slave away at the gym. I am much more motivated by healthy, sustainable living. Having a husband and family has altered my body image and the way I view food and exercise. In short, it has changed my priorities.

I want to eat to live, not workout to eat. It is a whole paradigm shift for me. Wanting food to be a sense of nourishment and pleasure is a far cry from my old attitude that food is nothing more than a bunch of calories that need to be counted and then burned. The past month and a half of vegan living has been one of my most peaceful periods of time, in terms of my relationship with food. I firmly believe that this is due in great part to the fact that my personal beliefs about food are now congruent with how I am actually eating. Eating healthy has become a whole lot simpler now that I am at peace with what I eat.

I am discovering that when I stop battling calories, my need for the gym decreases. Oh, I still will go... because a part of me enjoys the challenge and a good sweat. Plus, I fully believe in the benefits of exercise and having an hour to myself while my boys socialize with other kids in the daycare is a good way to keep my sanity. But I strive now to go to build fitness, not to justify a second serving of extra cheese pizza.


  1. Well said I am on a spin bike right after a quick vegan family dinner!! Not for sake of working off the calories, but enjoying "away from the kiddos" time. One of the few selfish yet productive things I can think of. Plus it is nice to be vegan, in decent shape, and thinner than many of the other gym member that are 10 years younger.

  2. Away from the kiddos time is the most precious time of my day. Not because I am "away" but because it helps me recharge and be a much better parent over the course of the day. And how great is spinning class? A great way to get out of your head and totally focused on the physical tast at hand. Yay you!

  3. I commend you both. I despise spinning!