Middle Age Boot Camp, Because

gratuitous prairie photo for calm and internal retreat

When I aged to Middling, God bequeathed my form with scaffolding, an onboard shelving system running the length of my sides between ribs and butt that was not drawn into the original blueprint.
It… appeared. Window washers could stand upon these flesh brackets for easy reach.
It’s not pretty and it’s certainly unwelcome.
Thus, do I Boot Camp. Bootcamping is difficult, exhausting, humbling, and sad, but because I want to disband the mounds of newly formed flesh from off my person — like lichen on a rock, it’s stuck — I endure outdoor workouts in late-fall temps to be social and allow a trainer to help me heave heavy things while squatting and lunging and all other forms of ignominious behavior for neighbors to see as they drive by because I want to throw the extra luggage overboard. Lost and never found again, please, because I didn’t check this baggage, it was abandoned upon my person and I want to discard it like last decade’s newspaper.
On the other hand, the Eat part of the plan, I cook, with so much protein that the cattle industry sent me a Christmas card. Beef out the wazoo because I am ignoring all the documentaries I’ve seen videographing reasons I should eschew all meat products.
Trainer says the protein will aid in ridding the carbs that have glued the shelving unit firmly in place for far too long.
And eggs! My diet consists of many too many chicken leavings.
High protein, big sweats, tons of cursing, three days a week. I’ve made a life of this four weeks, and Thanksgiving — the day in which we eat en masse, eyes averted, no judgment — was thrown into the mix, through unfortunate timing.
And I’ve been good, mostly. Perhaps a bauble here and there, but overall, not bad. I drank the requisite 72 ounces of water daily, cooked the menu items in assigned order, cleaned enough cookware to stock an Applebee’s, and then came the fateful evening when the trainer ordered, “Twenty-five jumping jacks, ladies!”
Well. As a Middlin’, I can EITHER drink the 72 ounces, OR I can jump 25 jacks. As Depends were not installed, I had a choice to make.
I chose mutiny and a sudden need to grab tissues from my car, High winds, chilly air, need for avoidance equals Trifecta.
When it came down to it, I caved. “Got a [fake] text from my son, haha,” Point to the fake phone in my hand. “Imagine the timing, so unfortunate, haha, gotta go!” Grabbed all accoutrements of activity and bolted.
Yet, I’m going to attend another class tonight.
What is this pull from a Boot Camp train that’s run me over, cleaved me in two, and left my upper half crawling the ground in search of low-lying M&Ms?

Middle Aging Camp, Day 4

I missed the big workout with the other Boot Campers last night because of a work board meeting I couldn’t escape.
I mean, I probably could have left earlier than I did, if I’d only stopped inciting more conversation so that the minutes would tick away. There’s that.
It was a chilly, dark night in the park where my buddies were squatting and lunging and making all sorts of grunting noises, though I’ve heard the muscle aches are creating bigger groans of pain today than last evening.
I’m scheduled to work out this evening with the same said individuals, also in the dark, around 7:30 this evening. I’ve packed warm leggings, scarf, mittens, hat, layers and layers of fleece, so that I may start warm and covered but finish sweating and cold beneath a steamy fog lifting from my skin.
Love exercising, I do.
But no, I don’t.
Days three and four have been the most challenging so far of this elongated attempt at bettering myself. The idea of eight weeks of , watching what you eat, exercising occasionally seems so doable on Day 1. Anticipation runs deep, especially when you’ve organized your efforts from the start gate with a hole punch and three-ring binder. All things are possible with proper office supplies.
Then reality sets in — flour powders the recipe pages within your binder, ink pens push a bit forcefully through the printed boxes on the To Do list when checking things off, vanilla extract flows into the back pocket of the binder leaving a delightful scent but oddly sticky puddle for future things to cling to; I’m spit balling on items that could happen to one doing all the exercising/logging/begging for two months to pass. These are possible setbacks.
I’m on Meal Four with a taco soup — did I mention it at some time previous, how delicious this particular stew was but ask me again on Leftover Day?
Yes, I may have foreshadowed my own displeasure with leftovers and I was not wrong.
Especially since this is Meal Four with an entree I plan to never ever create again. One, because of the mess — I’m not sure I’ve yet fully repositioned all the items in the kitchen that I used to concoct such a monstrous amount of Cuisine Today-ready food ( six large plastic containers of this stuff sat in my fridge after the debacle of “cooking”, six; that’s too many) — but I sallied forth and created other dishes for consumption, adding to the mountain of dirty spoons (I did not know I did not have enough spoons in my life) and measuring cups, more spoons, and Pyrex ware of undeterminable origin. Really, I need a housekeeper every Friday for the next…twenty weeks, to cover the ensuing 8 weeks but also for insurance that I don’t lapse into this world of cuisine preparation. Chefs are underpaid, but dishwashers are undervalued.
Fortunately our trainer has emailed us the next week’s delights: a new menu, a new set of exercise options, a new grouping of uplinks to inspirational quotes.
Which means I’m headed back to the grocery store to buy unheard of items in order to envelop them into delightful items within my kitchen to eat and clean up afterward.
I feel like I’m one step away from wearing dresses and pearl necklaces, what with all this new found domesticity. Sadly, though, I don’t think the Cleavers had dogs. They add a new level of danger to the homemaker mix.

Boot Camping: Day 3

I am in new territory.
I don’t cook. Not because I don’t want to, because I don’t, but because I feel like it’s time I’m constantly trying to use in other ways. Protein shake, dry cereal, bit of fruit, that’s all food, and it’s adequate to me.
Enter this two month challenge to better myself and on the third day, I find myself compiling a taco soup for lunch. Finding spice packets before noon is not in my wheelhouse, yet I have glass to-go containers cooling with portioned scoops of soup awaiting transport to the fridge or work, whichever comes first.
I actually have lunch ready for today. Like…a LUNCH, not a pre-packaged item from within a tiny big box store cardboard box.
And now the word “lunch” doesn’t look right. Lunch. Ha! Weird word, lunch. Did I spell it right?
Yesterday was officially a Rest Day for the boot campers. No exercise mandates and I was relieved because frankly, Monday was a bit much. Things like Stations, and Repetitions, Assessment Base Levels, Measurements, Sprints. Whew.  Arms are sore, ego’s bruised, thighs still slap together; not terribly successful as I can see and it’s been a FULL two days.
But for some reason, on the second evening of self-imposed improvement methods, fearing I wasn’t trusting the process enough but still restless, like I was cheating the program.
I wouldn’t call what I did strenuous, but I practiced yoga for a full half hour and grabbed my kid’s Beat Saber goggles so I could feel cool for ten minutes or so. It’s a great game and strangely magnetic. My Bubs won’t play it for days on end until I pop in to ask its whereabouts, and suddenly he’s all in on together-with-Mom time, though it’s a solitary endeavor.
We’re in the  same room, I take it as a win.
My point: even when I’d been given down time, Day Two felt too soon for that. I mean, I’d cooked, TWICE, in one day, so exercise seemed like the lesser of the two evils.
Here it is Day Three, still an hour to go before I need to hit the office, my kitchen still smells like taco seasoning, the counters are buried beneath a dozen cooling bowls of various shapes full of soup I’m not sure I want to eat — except for the first portion, of course, I’ve earned that — and I’ll be cleaning dishes for an hour, and I’m stupidly proud of myself.
People can change. For two and a half days. I’ll check in with myself again this evening, see if the transformation is going to stick until morning, especially considering I have an outdoor workout with the rest of the boot campers this evening…in the dark, drizzly, forty degree weather.
Middle-aged but willing to try new things. Feels like an accomplishment, yet I won’t go so far as to establish myself in the Old Dog/New Tricks category.

8-Week Challenge, 1st Attempt

Day 1, Middle-aged-Woman Boot Camp, eight long weeks as a run-up and push-through for the holiday season.! So unlike me! — by spending a ridiculous amount of dollars on fresh fruits and vegetables — including cauliflower and broccoli, EGADS! I hate those so much — at an actual grocery establishment (no Amazon delivery for this girl!). I printed things like menus, and recipes, and instructions — instructions! I was prepared prepared, a week ahead of the game with Halloween looming and still I was good. No s’mores last night, no bite-size chocolate bits, none of that. Mentally honed, I would say.
Cut to today, Go Time: I’ve been on this ride four hours and I need a re-do.
At six this morning, my phone subtly woke me with pinging tones, alerting me to positive, uplifting, inspirational notes from the trainer, the one leading us into a no-guilt Christmas. I was all in, roused and ready to hit the tile with a tentative unsocked foot and a full-on desire to do well today.
Plus, the other impetus for getting up before the sun even titillated the horizon, it was time to get the Bubs to school, so I knew coffee — black coffee, two tablespoons of sugar-free creamer (shudder) — was nigh.
Last night I prepped breakfast with a thing called overnight oatmeal: dry oats, skim milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. To which I was to add plain greek yogurt, peanut butter, strawberries, and blueberries.
I was looking forward to the fruit portion.
But first, I dropped the Bubs in his hall of learning before dashing to the kitchen for coffee, for which I promptly ignored the mandate of sugar-free things and temperance in measure.. Hey, a jug of Stokes iced coffee in the fridge, I could NOT let that go to waste, though it doesn’t strenuously follow my new eating lifestyle.
Toes on the starting line and I’d already cheated.
Next came actual caloric ingestion, an oaty sludge covered in fruit that I choked down by the light of the televised morning news.
Breakfast was a gray color, of thick, not-enough-moisture wallpaper glue consistency, and oatmeal was already not my favorite food, so yeah, I didn’t look at it, just ate. It was a paste, a horrible gelatinous rubbery taste sandwiched between fruit that didn’t deserve this ignominious fate.
It was only after contemplating a new tack — for instance, punting the boot camp entirely — that I realized I had forgotten to add yogurt. And peanut butter. You know, the stuff that would have been a tremendous asset in forcing breakfast.
Now I’m on my second cup of coffee, no judgment, and twenty-fourth ounce of refreshing cool water and I have yet to get ten feet away from a restroom.
Here’s another funny: Day One of New Life, and today happens to be Book Club Day, which is more “Foodies who Read” than “Book Nerds who Eat.” It’s a monthly meet-up at restaurants on Memorial Road — ten years of club meetings and I can’t think of more than 2 held anywhere other than Memorial Road — and this time the selected locale is a Dog Park/Human Cafe. Well. Who wouldn’t punt a Diet — Excuse me, Improved Way of Eating Lifestyle Change — on Day One in favor of eating nachos with a poodle looking on??
I’m all in for Book Club, can’t let that opportunity down. I’ll have water with whatever delight the menu allows in the 400 calorie range; sounds like fruit cup and a single cracker, one that a beagle will salivate near, hoping I’ll toss it to him, but sorry, pooch, with only a 400 calorie allowance, I’ll need every morsel. Though, now that I consider it, I believe I have a bit of leeway, seeing as how I ate only half of the prescribed morning meal…