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Inspiration and Perspiration

Inspiration of the Poet, Nicolas Poussin. Oil on Canvas, The Louvre

I’ve always found this time of year inspiring. I’ve spent a large part of my life as either a student or a teacher, so fall has always been the real start of a new year for me. January? Forget January. Nothing starts in January except diets and Christmas bill payments.

I’m feeling inspired creatively and personally these days. I’m dabbling in writing poetry for the first time in years, I’m getting to the fun stuff in Shattered, and I’ve made a resolution to get myself into better physical shape over the next few months. OK, I’ll put a number on it – I want to lose twenty pounds by March Break.

I know how to do it. I’ve done it before. Being hypothyroid as well as vertically challenged, weight control is a life-long issue for me. It doesn’t help that all the things I love to do most – writing, reading, painting, playing guitar, cooking and eating – are either sedentary or fattening. I’ve accepted the fact that for me, exercise will always be something of a chore. Not an unpleasant chore, but a chore nonetheless.

About four years ago, it started to hit home that the big 50 was edging ever closer, and I didn’t like what I saw ahead for my health or my self-esteem. I looked in the mirror, said ‘enough’ and joined Curves. It worked. I built muscle, cut back drastically on sugar and starches, and watched the weight melt off. Six months took me from a size 14 to a size 6.

For two years I kept working out and kept the pounds at bay. Then my teaching job ended and I spent a year on the road selling insurance. Hours sitting in the car every day, stopping for junk food on top of the lunch I took with me, getting home at eight or nine o’clock at night, eating supper and falling into bed. When I wasn’t working I was writing. That year was plain hell on my body. Relentlessly the weight crept back.

For me, exercise has to be a no-brainer, a part of my routine. No fixed routine, no workouts. Now I’m teaching again, with a regular schedule, and it’s time to get back on track. This will be my third three-workout week, and I’m seeing the results already.

One of the things I appreciate about circuit training is that I don’t have to think. I change machines on cue, my muscles working hard while my mind is elsewhere. Not bad for the creative juices. Neither is having more energy and focus.
I’m taking it slower this time. Instead of dieting, I’m focusing on the exercise and trying to eat sensibly and sustainably. After all, for me, there is no life worth living without chocolate and cheesecake, or even better, chocolate cheesecake. All things in moderation, including moderation itself. I’ve lost five pounds and a size so far, so I’m moving in the right direction. I’ll update my progress here as part of Folk Friday, starting next week.

Inspiration? Right now I’ve got it.


  1. Anne MacFarlane
    October 8, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Finding that balance between healthy and enjoyable is always a challenge. And I find as I get older, keeping the pounds at bay is hard work. Good Luck.

  2. Kelly Boyce
    October 8, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Good luck! I'm sure you can do it. I just started an 8 week strength training / healthy diet program (over Thanksgiving and the Retreat..hmm…maybe I'll make that a 10 wk program) to get back on track after a bit of a lazy summer.

  3. Jennie Marsland
    October 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Amen, Anne. Gone are the days when I could lose five pounds at the drop of a hat.

    Kelly, I can't wait for the retreat! I plan to enjoy all the goodies, in moderation (if I can). If not, there's always extra workouts.

  4. Julia Smith
    October 8, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Very inspirational (she says as she happily polishes off some chocolate-covered raisins.)