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I decided I want to get back in shape. I have been kind of sedentary over the last year, with the chronic shoulder pain acting up. When your upper body is throbbing, the last thing you want to do is breathe hard and exert yourself. So I started Physical Therapy to get to the bottom of the pathology, which it turns out was tendonitis and an impingement. Ice, heat, massage, stretching, exercises, all helping. So then I decided I wanted to get moving again and get back to my old self. My old self, meaning the way I see myself, is basically an Energizer Bunny. I was the 15-year-old who marched in the school band with a sousaphone- a marching tuba. I was 4 foot eleven and a half and playing the biggest instrument in the band. I did an aerobics record every day, and i got in such good shape that it wasn't hard enough, so I would do it twice in a row every day. I played 5 instruments (clarinet, flute, piano, guitar, tuba) and practiced them all every day, and I made great grades in school. That's the energy level I want to get back to. That is my yardstick. I could focus on the fact that I was a size 5 and weighed 110 pounds, but those measurements, i've decided, tell you very little, because since developing illnesses, I've gotten both smaller than I ever imagined i'd be as an adult (80 pounds) and heavier than I ever imagined (pick a number, I'm not tellin'). A week ago, I stepped on the scale at my gym, after not weighing myself for a year. I was surpirsed to see I had gained 6 pounds. A week later, after walking 2 miles every day on the treadmill, with a few intervals of jogging, and cutting back on some fo my fatty foods (hummus, cashews), I was exactly the same weight. Then I went home and weighed myself and I was 5 pounds lighter than at the gym. What?! Yes it was the same time of day, same day of week, same clothes, same scale at the gym. One of the other gym members says that 1) there are other gym members constantly fiddling with the thing that calibrates the scale. 2) his weight is different by 6 pounds on the same scale depending on where he puts the bottom weight (he is either 300 even or 306 if he does 250 on bottom part of scale + 56 on top). most of the gym equipment is old and run down, doesn't surprise me that the scale would be as well. This is why I decided bout a year ago not to weigh myself anymore. It doesn't measure health. I changed my diet, eliminating gluten (wheat, barley, rye) and artificial sweeteners, and eating a lot more greens (salad). Sure I'd love to lose some weight, but it's far more important that I build some health. Anyhow, every house in America has a scale, and we're the fattest nation on Earth. I don't think the sale is helping. The scale is a very crude measurement of only one facet of one's fitness. You can be fat and in good aerobic shape. You can be skinny and have hardened arteries and not be able to make it up a set of stairs. I get really annoyed when I see book titles like "Fit or Fat?" Too simplistic. I know we have an obesity epidemic in America, but focusing on weight or lack of weight is not going to fix the problem. The real issue is: do you have a body that will do what you want it to do? Is it holding you back? Is it dragging you down? Are you fit? Do you have the energy to do what you'd like to? I decided a while back it's more important to have a fitness goal than a weight goal. as in "be able to run x miles in y minutes" for example). I haven't quite pinned down my goal. A goal needs to be specific and measurable, with a deadline. Which brings up another problem with weight goals. Once you reach your goal weight, then what? Go back to eating junk food and sitting on the couch? If your goal is fitness, then you can just set a new fitness goal. You can bump up from running a 5K to a goal of running a 10K, for example. I hate running, so I need a different goal, but since I haven't nailed that goal down yet, I'm just using running as an example for purposes of discussion. I think I'll end up doing something like aerobics again (I always liked that), once I"m in good enough shape to tolerate the class without ending up feeling worse the next day. So for now, i'll just be using the treadmill, elliptical, and outdoor walking with intervals of 30 seconds of jogging in order to get in good enough shape to do something I enjoy and will stick to because I enjoy it. ANd then i will have reached my vision, which is to have great energy, be able to do whatever I like in a given day, and get up again the next day and still feel great. Maybe even march with a tuba, if I feel like it.

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