Quitting the Gym Was One of the Smartest Decisions I’ve Made

Unfortunately, I’ve never been one of those people who could just eat whatever I wanted. As a result, I’m always in some phase of a diet and exercise plan, whether it’s the hard-core commitment stage, or the “Screw it, have a cupcake!” stage. And yes, that has led to a lot of yo-yo-ing over the last, well, 20 years.

Since having kids though, it’s been even harder to keep my weight down, especially when peanut butter crackers have a sneaky way of getting into my house…probably through the doggy door. And since my toddler twins don’t finish their food, grilled cheese and noodles somehow find their way into my mouth. It’s a mystery. It’s also hard to find the time or energy to exercise, which you think would be easier since I’m pretty much dressed for the gym, 24/7. At the same time, yoga pants are extremely forgiving, weakening my motivation.

At the beginning of the year though, I made a resolution to lose weight (shocker!) but this time, this time, things were going to be different. I started using the Lose It! app on my iPhone, which includes a food and exercise log that calculates calories consumed and calories burned. In addition to dieting, I started hitting the gym at least three times a week, and was really working out, not just sashaying on the elliptical machine. I was sticking to the plan, but after a few months, I still hadn’t lost any weight. Not one pound.

So, I went to see my doctor. We discussed my diet and exercise plan, specifically looking at what I was eating, how many calories I was consuming, and how much I was exercising. Because I have a hormonal imbalance, PCOS, losing weight is tougher for me. Still, with everything that I was doing, I should have dropped at least a few pounds.

He decided to do blood work to check for any fat-retaining culprit, but everything came back totally normal. At that point, he explained that, unfortunately, I clearly just have a slow metabolism and, to lose weight, I’m going to have to work that much harder. He suggested that instead of hitting the gym for an hour, a few days a week, I should work out most days, if not every day, for about 30-40 minutes. Uh, whaaaaa?! I’m a SAHM with toddlers! How am I going to get to the gym everyday, Dr. Kookoo Bananas?

Around the same time, a friend of mine mentioned these workout DVDs that she was doing at home. Each workout was just 30-minutes long, and each focused on a different series of muscle groups. I was a little skeptical about whether I could really get a strenuous workout at home. Then, a couple of moms from my boys’ preschool, both in fantastic shape, told me that they only exercise at home. Well, if they could look that good after sweating it out in their living rooms, maybe I could make this work too!

So I bought the DVDs that my friend recommended, borrowed some free weights, and I’ve been doing them every single day for the last three months. Well, I can honestly say that I’m probably in some of the best shape of my life, with more strength and stamina and muscle tone than I’ve had since my wedding. I’ve lost about 15 pounds too and I’m even wearing shorts. Shorts, people!

I’m really enjoying the variation in my workouts and, at just half an hour, each session is over in a flash. There’s always, always time and space in the day to exercise, so I have no excuses. I’ve been up sweating it out at 7 a.m on the weekends or even at 9:30 at night, which is most impressive since that’s usually when I’m passed out on the couch. My point being, it’s easy to fit at-home workouts into your day, if you have the motivation.

So, a few weeks ago, I walked into my gym and broke up with it. Cold-hearted, no remorse, just said, “See ya, sucker!” I actually think it was more like, “It’s not you, it’s me, and me can’t get to the gym very often with young kids.” Why would I shell out big bucks for a gym membership I barely have a chance to use? Now, I’m exploring new fitness DVDs, looking into streaming workouts, and researching various apps. It’s mind-boggling how many trainers and trends and exercise opportunities are out there. I’m hoping with the multitude of workout options, I won’t ever get bored. Could it be that I’ve finally found a plan that works? I think so.

Photo: Getty