August 23, 2010

Buff has started bringing cookies in the house, and Bunny has started grabbing a handful here and there, a couple of times a day (or three).

Mindless eating.

Bunny has Weight Watchers set up on a monthly autopay, but can never get to the meetings because of her job. She used to be able to make it to the Center in time to at least weigh in and maybe catch the last five minutes of the meeting, but she hasn’t even been able to do that for a couple of months. She gets stuck late at work, and traffic is awful.

RaceIt doesn’t help that Weight Watchers, a huge, global corporation, still runs its Centers like a mom and pop organization. They’re open only around meeting time, shutting down very soon thereafter, and there are only a few meetings a week. And only one or two Bunny even has a chance of making.

She tried to do Weight Watcher online, but she needs the forced weigh-in to stay on track. This isn’t working, and at this point Bunny’s not even following the food plan. Especially since the cookies arrived.

So. Bye-bye Weight Watchers, see ya later.

Hello, weekly weigh-in at the gym. This is good. That means she has to go to the gym at least once a week, something she has also not been doing in the last couple of months.

Bunny also commits to following the Weight Watchers food plan, counting her points, renewing her efforts, and keeping a food diary.

So. Let’s review the commitments Bunny makes today:

  • Weekly weigh-in at the gym.
  • Keep food diary.
  • Follow Weight Watchers plan.
  • Refocus and renew effort.
  • No cookies.
  • Make Trudy jealous when she gets on board that ship later this year.

Let’s do it!!!

Bunny has been dutifully reporting to the gym every other day to do the routine prescribed by her physical therapist. Much has been revealed to her in these visits.

Speaking of things being revealed, let’s start in the locker room:

Locker Room Etiquette

Some people are more comfortable than others being naked in public.

Example: When Bunny walked into the locker room one day, she passed a naked lady blow-drying her hair. When Bunny returned to the locker room after her warm-up, the unclad blow-dryer was still at it. Half an hour of naked blow-drying? Half an hour?? What is she, Rapunzel? No, this was a regular woman with regular hair. Seriously, not to be judgmental, but what’s the goal here–blowing, or showing?

Casual conversation is harder when one person is naked.

Don’t forget what locker your stuff is in. Or the combination.

Personal Space

People don’t care what you’re doing. They’re busy worrying about what they’re doing. This is true as long as you don’t invade their personal space. On the other hand, don’t be surprised if they invade yours.

Example 1:  A man stepped over Bunny as she lay on her mat face-down, to fetch a mat of his own. (Didn’t realize stepping over people was OK, but live and learn. HEY! WATCH THE HAND!)

Example 2: A mom and dad brought their toddler to the gym, and before taking him to the day care center, they sat him on a mat and cooed while he played with an exercise ball. Bunny thought that was kind of cute (if a tad noisy)…until the little darling pushed the ball into her face. OW!

Example 3: When Bunny was doing her mat exercises, laying on her side, she heard someone pick up an exercise ball behind her and start to use it. When she turned around, she was somewhat alarmed to discover that the ball was uncomfortably close to her mat. A man in walking shorts, a belt, a polo and walking shoes (read: not a regular gym-goer) was rolling around on the ball like a cat in heat.

As he barely saved himself from falling for the third time, Bunny wondered what would happen if he rolled off that ball on top of Bunny. It seemed like a real possibility. She considered moving, but there were no free mats. Continuing her exercises and hoping for the best, Bunny wondered what would happen if he kicked her and knocked her unconscious.

Bunny is a worrier. She thinks about these things.

Would the health club personnel even know who the unconscious lady bleeding on the mat was? How? No one knows her, her membership card is in her locker, and they have no way to track what locker she’s in.

Would they call Buff? How? If they don’t know who she is, they sure don’t know who he is. Would Buff come looking for her? Sure, eventually, but Buff doesn’t even know she’s here. What would happen then?

You don’t hear about the dangers that lurk at the gym. Clearly, this is a risky place to be. Maybe she should never go to the gym again?

Or maybe she should have a T-shirt made with her name, locker number and emergency contact information clearly displayed on her chest, just in case she loses consciousness due to an injury inflicted by a clueless fellow exerciser?

No, other people don’t do that…that would be weird. What to do? hmmmmm.

What rep am I on?

You Can Do It!

Every workout is different, even if you’re doing the same routine.

Keep breathing. For some reason, Bunny catches herself holding her breath while doing mat exercises. Breathing is a good idea.

Put a towel over the mat. Lord knows how many sweaty people have been there before you, and they probably don’t clean those things very often. And what about the floor? How often do they shampoo the carpet? This is actually pretty unsanitary. Ewww…. What rep am I on?

It’s easier than you’d think to fall off a treadmill. ‘Nuf said.

Did we mention hydrating?

Tucking an iPhone into the water bottle holder on a bike can wreak (reek? wreek?) havoc with the heart monitor on the machine, potentially sending someone of the worrywort (worrywart?) persuasion into a fit of hypochondria. Leave the phone in the car.

Spin classes are noisy and distracting.

It’s better to go than to not go.

Even if you want to slash your wrists in mid-workout, you’ll feel good about going once you get out of there.

If Bunny can do it, so can you!

Darn You, Slowly!

March 9, 2010

When we last saw Bunny, she was at the gym for the first time in some time, and she was feeling uncomfortable, out of place, lost (literally) , incompetent, insecure, stupid and conspicuous.

And fat.

After completing her 10-minute warm-up on a recumbent bike, she was ready to attempt to do the exercises her physical therapist had prescribed. After asking the front desk for directions 9 or 10 times (well, maybe 3), and walking up and down stairs from this building to that (does this count as part of the workout?), Bunny finally settled on a mat that suited her fancy.

Well, at least she didn’t hate it.

The mat was quite small and had a hole in one end. For a moment, she wasn’t sure it was a mat. The mats at the other gym she went to were 2 inches thick and 3 times this size. Maybe it’s a pad for a treadmill? or one of those things the Mythbusters use to protect themselves from explosions? or one of those things they drape across you when you’re getting an X-ray? No, there’s a guy doing leg extensions on one. OK, it’s either a mat, or if it’s not, at least she won’t be the only idiot.

There weren’t many people in the general area, which pleased her. Her ideal would have been to have the building evacuated so that her improper form and inevitable huffing would go unobserved, but she thought this was the best she could do.

She draped her towel over the mat and lay down on her back. Happily noting that the fish was now out of sight, she pulled out her exercise cheat sheet and reviewed the instructions for–


1. Lie on back with ___ knee straight and the other knee bent as shown. (Bunny is very literal, and doesn’t much like blank lines in instructions, but this one was pretty obviously left or right. She knew she was supposed to do both. 15 reps on each leg.)

2. Keep the leg completely straight, then raise it about ___ inches. (Another blank line. Now she had to guess. 2 inches? 22 inches? She decided to do what was in the picture and straighten her leg in the air.)

3. Hold ___ seconds and slowly lower. (Oh, poo. How the heck did she know how long to hold it? 2 seconds?)

Oh, look, there are 2 notes in the margin:  “L’s” and “up down in out.”

Bunny had done these exercises in the therapist’s office, but she didn’t remember every detail. She remembered the therapist counseling her to keep her leg very low to the mat on the “in and out” part. The purpose of this was clearly to make the exercise even more difficult and unpleasant.

She made her best guess at what she was supposed to do, assumed the position, and did it.


She tried to hold the position for 2 seconds when she reached the “up” and “out” points. That didn’t go well, and by rep 3 it was down to one second.

She considered doing the whole thing faster, but she knew how she was supposed to do it.


That’s what really gets you.

It would be easy to do it fast.

Slowly makes you feel the stretch, feel the burn, feel the weight of your leg, feel hatred for the jerk who is making you do this, feel everything.

Bunny’s muscles were burning, and her leg was not happy when she completed the 15 reps. The other leg didn’t like it much either.

She knew that would make her therapist happy. When she had told him her muscles were burning, he had said “you’re welcome.”



1. Lie on back with __ leg bent as shown.

2. Tighten buttocks and raise them (them? buttocks is a them? aren’t they an it? maybe not) off floor as high as you can.

3. Keep pelvis level. (Huh? What does that mean? Does she raise it/them as high as she can, or keep her pelvis level? Which is it? Level with what?)

4. Hold ___ seconds (Bunny decided to try 2 seconds again), then slowly relax (slowly even makes relaxing harder).

Darn you, slowly!

This one was not too terrible. She wasn’t 100% sure she was doing it correctly (that level pelvis thing threw her), but she tried to imitate the drawing, and then again, how far off could she be? Her muscles were surely feeling something.


1. Lie on belly (uh-oh, fish up) with pillow positioned as shown (what pillow? she was supposed to bring a pillow?)

2. Raise ___ leg off floor (left, right, got it).

3. Hold ___ seconds, slowly relax. (Let’s be bold and try 3 seconds.)

The note in the margin said “don’t roll hips.” Bunny remembered that she was to raise her leg without bending the knee, and that she wasn’t to raise it more than a few inches. But she was to keep her hips in place. She could see that it would be quite easy to roll her hips, so she attempted not to do so. She was confident she knew what to do here.

This one wasn’t so horrible either, but by this time she was pretty perspiry. She made a mental note to bring a bottle of water next time.

Now what?


1. Lie on side with __ leg on top. (Hey, left side of the room, look at the stupid fish on that fat lady’s T-shirt!)

2. Bend lower leg slightly.

3. Raise top leg straight up, without letting it come forward.

4. Hold ___ seconds, slowly relax. (2 seconds again. Whatever.)

Notes in the margin said “keep leg back behind you, hips rolled forward.” Another obvious attempt to make it more difficult. (It worked.)

Bunny remembered her therapist showed her how to “roll” her hips forward and make sure the leg she was raising and lowering stayed behind her. She did the first 2 reps, didn’t feel anything, readjusted, and obviously found the correct position, because she felt it. Oh boy, did she feel it.


Not an injury ow, more of a I-hate-you-for-making-me-do-this-and-if-I-have-to-do-one-more-rep-my-leg-will-fall-off kind of an ow. Her leg was screaming for mercy by rep 15.

Then she flipped and did it on the other side.



Is this going to be over soon? PLEASE????


1. Lie on back holding ___ leg with hands as shown.

2. Straighten the knee as far as you can, keeping your other leg straight on the floor.

3. Hold 1-2 seconds (sure, NOW he tells her how long to hold it).

Back on her back, tired, sore, sweaty and just wanting to get out of this godless, soulless torture chamber go home, Bunny grabbed her thigh. This was not as easy as it sounds, because she’s only incrementally more flexible than a wooden board.

Bunny raised her leg to the sky (more or less, so to speak, sort of) and held it for 1-2 seconds. By the 8th rep, her leg was fine but her arms were screaming for mercy. By rep 12 she couldn’t hold on anymore.

Was this an exercise for her legs or her arms? Is this a trick?

She let go and finished the leg extensions or whatever they were with her arms at her side.


Now back to the bike!!

Noooo…can’t we just go home? Please….???

Bunny traipsed back to the room with the bikes, dragged herself onto one that was next to a lady who was reading a book, and started her 10-minute “cool down.” She needed to cool down, all right, and she felt strongly that it made much more sense to do it at the juice bar than on the bike, but she did as she was told.

She turned on the TV bolted to the bike and started channel-flipping in an attempt to find the basketball game she had been watching during her warm-up. After changing 10 or 12 channels, Bunny started to wonder if the lady with her nose in the book was secretly annoyed by her channel surfing. So, she stopped, and stared at a silent infomercial until her 10 minutes were up and she was free to escape back to the real world.

Bunny needs to worry less, get some cojones, and realize that the people at the gym aren’t paying attention to her. If we can get that through her head, we’ll have accomplished something.

Bunny came back two days later to repeat the routine. She was much more comfortable, partly because she knew where to go, and partly because she left the the fish at home. It went reasonably well. She was sore and achy after both sessions, but, well, that’s the point, isn’t it?

Next time, she has to up it to two sets of the exercises on the mat instead of just one.

Oh boy! We’re really looking forward to that!

The Damned Gym. Again.

March 3, 2010

Bunny has been having some problems with her knee. About a week ago, it decided to start generating fluid.

Swollen knees and ankles is not a feeling Bunny enjoys. And, since she couldn’t connect it to any specific event, her hypochondria kicked in. As more and more hideous maladies hopped in and out of her fertile imagination, she decided to pay a visit to her friendly neighborhood orthopedist.

She thought about going to her regular doctor, but decided on the orthopedist based on very logical and scientific reasoning. Her orthopedist wouldn’t weigh her.

Bunny’s diagnosis was a garden-variety inflammation, caused by any combination of new shoes, a lot of walking on her vacation, her weight (doctors always have to bring it back to that!), weak knees, an unidentified injury, Obama’s health care plan, the California budgetary crisis, and the coming of the vernal equinox.

At the orthopedist’s behest, she went to physical therapy, where the nice man advised her that she has insufficient strength in her knees (and pretty much everywhere else). She was not surprised.

He prescribed a course of exercises.

Guess where she has to do them?

Yep, you guessed it.

Bunny’s going back to her favorite place.

The Damned Gym.

Bunny does not like going to the gym. Her favorite exercise is Gym Avoidance.

We’ve been through this before. Last time it was the other knee. As a lazy woman of a certain age who is overweight and uses her gym membership approximately once per millenium, of COURSE she has some issues with her knees. They’re working really hard. Who can blame them for complaining once in a while?

Bunny is scheduled to report back to therapy in two weeks. In the interim, her assignment is to hit the gym and do a very specific course of exercises. She is to try very hard to do this seven times.

That’s every other day. Ugh.

The routine starts with ten minutes on the recumbent bike, followed by one set of six exercises (15 reps each) designed to strengthen the areas that directly affect her injured knee. Then ten more minutes on the bike. After two sessions, she is to up it to two sets. After two more sessions, it goes to three sets.

An injured knee. Ice, she thought. Advil. Rest. Perhaps elevation. Maybe a nice massage?

What did she get?

The gym. Ugh.

OK, let’s see how this goes.

Saving Bunny’s Knees

October 7, 2009


Hey, Bunny! What’s up?

Well, you know, today’s the day I’m supposed to go to the gym.

Yep, it’s today. When are you going? Before or after work?



Well, I’m just a little concerned. My knee kind of hurts.

Please don’t tell us you’re going to give us another excuse for not going to the gym.

Oh, I’m not trying to get out of it, I just don’t want to aggravate my knee injury. I usually do the stationary bike, since you know the orthopedist told me not to use the treadmill, but the bike could still…

Bunny, your injury was two years ago, and it wasn’t even that bad. We’re sure the doctor didn’t mean you couldn’t use the treadmill for the rest of your life.

Well, I’m just not sure…

OK, hold it right there, Miss Medial Meniscus. Be right back.Googling

  <google google google google google>

OK, Bunny, you’re correct, the bike and the treadmill can be hard on your knee, and we know you did have a legitimate injury (2 years ago, you big baby!), but the elliptical puts far less pressure on it. Just hop on that elliptical, burn 100 calories, weigh yourself, and you’re done. Easy peasy.

Oh, no. I tried the elliptical once, and it was so hard on my legs, I couldn’t do it. I need to build up strength in my legs before I can do that.

OK, let’s work on that. <google google google> Exercises to strengthen your legs, right here. What else?

Well, but I’d have to…I can’t just hop on and…

Bunny. Dear Bunny. You’re a hot mess, you know that? We’ll start slow. This is a process, but we need to get the ball rolling. The longest journey begins with a single step, right? Do you need more cliches, or is that enough?

I just…

OK, look. You’ll go to the gym. We’ll go with you. We’ll figure it out. We’ll ask for help, and we’ll find exercises that you can do that won’t hurt your knee or back or anything. We’ll…

A trainer? I’m not ready for a trainer, I just need to get in and get started on my own. You don’t have to go with me.

Bunny, you’re a lovely person. You’re honest, trustworthy, true-blue, loyal, patriotic, all that good stuff. We’d trust you with our lives. However, when it comes to losing weight and going to the gym, you start dancing like a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance? You spin, you bob, you weave, you dodge, you expend enough energy to light Paris for a week in a mind-boggling effort to avoid going to the gym.

You have an addictive personality. That monster of yours takes over your self-control, you start acting like a completely different person, and we’ve learned that we can’t trust you as far as we can throw you. 

Well, I don’t know if I’d say that…

So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to take your little worrywort, hypochondriacal self, meniscus and all, to that gym after work today. You’re going to put on your tennis shoes and your stretchy pants and your big T-shirt, grab your water bottle, hop on that elliptical, and do what you can do. We don’t care if you go half a mile an hour. You just need to get in there and get started.  Next time, you’ll be able to do a little more, and the time after that a little more. We’ll keep track of it, and you’ll see that if you just get into a habit of going to the gym regularly, even three times a week, you’ll see how quickly you’ll be able to do more and more. And then you know what will happen, right? You’ll start Shrinking Bunny’s Buns!

But I just don’t know how to…

We know this is hard, but you can do it. We’ll  help you.

Maybe we can wait until my knee…

Tonight. After work. Be there.


uh-oh, guys? I just got to work, and realized I walked out of the house without my gym bag.grrrrrrrOh, my God, this woman is going to be the death of me! Is she kidding??? How many flipping excuses can she come up with? I’m gonna throw her freaking gym bag at her if she tries one more… *HEAVY SIGH*

That’s OK, Bunny, we’ll go pick it up for you, and we’ll give it to you when we meet you at the gym.

Oh, that’s a lot of bother. Maybe we should go tomorrow or…

No trouble at all, Bunny. Happy to do it. See you at 5:30.

oh…ok. Thanks.

Gym–or House of Horrors?

September 30, 2009

Bunny seems to be on the mend from her latest attempt to avoid going to the gym bout with the flu.  Clearly we’re going to have to extend our get-to-the-gym-or-else deadline.

Bunny’s husband, Buff, goes to the gym when he has the flu. He swears it makes him feel better. Buff doesn’t miss the gym for anything. There’s a certain level of addiction there.

These people have issues.

Let’s face it–who doesn’t?

So let’s spend a minute considering why Bunny hates going to the gym.

It requires organization, especially if you have a job. If you go on the way to or from work, you have to figure out what to do with your clothes. If you’re a girl, you have to take makeup and goop with which to make your hair all nice and fluffy (or straight or spiked, or whatever you do with it). You must remember your gym card, your bag, your water, your iPod and your headphones. You must figure out how and when to squeeze the visit in to your day, especially if you’re attending a class. You may have to plan to get up early, in which case, how does breakfast fit in? And coffee? So many considerations. Clearly, going to the gym is an organizational nightmare.

You have to wear gym clothes in front of people. That’s great if you’re a size 6. Not the case here. Oh, and shower in front of perky young women who go to the gym every day? With this body? I don’t THINK so. (It’s a fact, you know, that everyone else in the gym with you comes every single day. You’re the only slacker.)They're laughing at Bunny!!!

And what about those other people? What does that ridiculously buff chick on the next treadmill who’s running 400 mph at maximum elevation think about your 2.8 mph at elevation 1? She’s burning 94,000 calories a second while it takes you 20 minutes to burn 100.  Is she mocking you? Is she wondering why you’re bothering? Does she think you’re going to fall off the treadmill? These possibilities are quite stressful.

What to do when you get there? A class is not a great choice because it’s hard to stop in the middle. Machines are good because you can completely control your activity level, and whenever you want you can pretend that you’ve completed an exhaustive workout. But make sure to watch the people who were there when you sat down. You can always pretend that your 10 minutes on the treadmill were just the warm-up for your “real” exercise program. Just say something to yourself (but loud enough to be heard) along the lines of, “Ah, that’s a great start. On to the elliptical!” Then walk in the general direction of the ellipticals. If you’re afraid they’re still watching, mumble something about going to the restroom, walk that way, then run toward the exit. They’ll never be the wiser!

And the worst is Buff’s friends. He’s there every morning. He teaches classes there. He practically owns the place! They’re there every morning. They all know Bunny, and they’re all very nice people. But if she’s in the gym, it’s a major event. “Hey, look, Bunny’s in the gym! It must be a blue moon! Buff’s tubby wife actually got her butt to the gym! Wow!” It’s a bigger deal than when Britney shows up. Last time she was there in the morning, about 5 of them commented that she looked like she was treadmilling in her sleep.

Great way to fade into the wordwork.Embarassed

OK, so we’ve confirmed that Bunny has issues. She’s disorganized, embarrassed and intimidated. Maybe a bit lazy. And possibly paranoid, but we’re not mental health professionals.

How do we fight all that?

The funny thing is, she knows very well that when she does go, she feels great about it. It helps with her diet, because she doesn’t want to blow the effort on unnecessary calories. She feels productive. She feels healthier. She feels, yes, good about herself!

So why does she fight it like a mama bear defending her cub from a  mountain lion?

We have no idea.

Do you?

Bunny and the Gym

September 10, 2009

Bunny’s first-week efforts are starting to pay off! She excitedly reported that shrinking has occurred in the area below her boobs. This is where it begins.

Bunny stood in front of a mirror and drew a sketch of her general shape, from the front and from the side. She didn’t like any of it, but what bothers her the most is the fact that in silhouette, her stomach sticks farther out than her boobs. Changing this has become one of her early goals.

Bunny has found that she does well with weight loss if she sets small goals and establishes progress points. A small goal may be to lose 10 lbs. or 5 lbs. or to reach a certain weight. A progress point might be to fit into a certain pair of pants or blouse that has been hanging in her closet unworn because she likes it but no longer fits into it. In this case, a progress point will be to change her silhouette so that her boobs stick out farther than her stomach.

Inspired by her reduction in inches, Bunny did the unthinkable and went to the gym on the way home from work. She weighed herself, hopped onto a stationary bike, burned 100 calories, weighed herself again (just in case that effort made a dramatic difference), and left.On the Scale at the Gym

So now we have a number we can use to quantify Bunny’s weight loss. Unfortunately, she won’t tell us what it is.

This doesn’t surprise us. This is a woman who went to Weight Watchers for months and never let them tell her how much she weighed. She only wants to know how much she is losing, fearing that if she knows her actual weight, she will be so depressed by the daunting task before her that it will quash her motiviation.

Once Bunny is well down her weight-loss path and feels better about herself, we feel certain that she’ll give up the number, but for the moment, we’ll humor her and simply report how much she is losing.

For Bunny, going to the gym is kind of a big deal. It’s not as easy as it used to be, and she didn’t like it then. She’s in her 50’s and out of shape, and so it’s easy for her to get injured. (She’s also a klutz, and that doesn’t help.) She tore (well, frayed) a rotator cuff doing a strength workout a few years ago. She used to do yoga, and liked it a lot, but she has had back problems and was told not to hyperextend her back. Bye-bye yoga. She injured her medial meniscus and was told not to go within 40 miles of a treadmill.

So, Bunny is honestly a little fearful of injuring herself at the gym, and it has been easy for her to use that as an excuse not to go. Add to that the fact that she doesn’t know how to use some of the machines, she’s not comfortable asking the trainers, she’s not at ease with all those skinny people running 4000 miles an hour on the treadmill next to her, and she generally feels out of place. She also doesn’t like the parking lot, and she keeps forgetting her gym bag. And she’s worried that she’ll forget what locker she’s using. Oops, the bikes are all in use, I’d better go home and try again next year. This is what we’re dealing with.

But she knows that even working out for 30 minutes three times a week will make a positive difference in her health, and will speed up her weight loss. She thinks she can do it. She has set a goal to work out for 30 minutes, three times a week.

Bunny’s making progress.