Zumba: It’s Not You, It’s Me

I have never felt more white and nerdy than the time I attended a family member’s wedding with my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time. This family member was marrying a man of Cuban descent, who had a big family full of beautiful women in it. As I stood there in my pale, shapeless sundress, I looked at their tan skin, shapely bodies in low-cut dresses and their moves on the dance floor and sighed. I was angular and awkward to their sultry and confident.

I haven’t felt that way too often in the years since then. Maybe having three little kids around me hasn’t given me the time to obsess over how goofy I may be, at least in my mind’s eye.

Until today.

I recently joined a gym, and with the kids in day camp, I have been able to try out some classes. This morning, I decided to try out a Zumba class, having heard all about this new workout craze from friends.

I knew I was in trouble approximately .00002 seconds into it, when the instructor stuck her hip out in a way that my hip does not move. And, for the next hour, I tried in vain to imitate the gyrations, shimmies and booty shakes I saw in front of me.

(I’m feeling a bit guilty about borrowing a video clip that isn’t mine, so if you want to see Zumba in action, check out one of these vids on You Tube)

At first, it was all I could do not to laugh. The class went left–I went right. They shook their booty and my booty said, “no”. I felt like a newborn fawn—all new, stumbling legs. I rolled my eyes and soldiered on, giggling at the absurdity of it all.

But, after 15 minutes of this, I felt embarrassed and ashamed of my lack of coordination. It stopped being funny when not one person caught my eye during the quick water break. Not one person said, “oh, don’t worry, it took my months to get the hang of it”. By the time the music started up again, I had to bite my lip to hold back tears.

Somehow I made it through the hour by basically making up my own steps. If I saw her do “cha, cha, ball change, cha”, I did “step, step, step, step”. And forget about the arms.

Sure, if I went another 20 or 30 times, I might get good enough to keep up with the class. But, when I have one hour to do a workout, I don’t want to have to learn an entire choreographed dance routine in order to work up a sweat.

This is probably why I still love Jillian’s 30-Day Shred: no coordination necessary. Perfect.

Do You See What I See?

It’s been two-and-a-half months since I became a Shredhead, completed the 30 Day Shred in 40 days, and then joined up with Team Bob for continued motivation.

And, while many of my former Shredders have moved on to training for a 5K, I have soldiered on with the videos, trying as many different ones as I can about 4-5 times a week.

Results? You want results? Well, I’m not taking any half-naked shots right now, but I’ve got something to look at anyway. I started at 138, went up to 140 pounds and am now at my Holy Grail number: 130.

(ignore my unmanicured toes, please)

I even fit back into my size 4 skinny jeans, although they really are a second skin. That’s good though, because if they ever got baggy. . . yeesh—that’s a little too much weight loss for me. I start to look like a stick figure when size 4’s don’t fit.


The good news is that I haven’t been dieting, I’ve just been more conscious of what I’m eating and why. When I find myself reaching for a snack because I’m stressed or the kids are eating or “just because”, I check in with myself and ask if that’s what I really want. Sometimes it is, so I eat, or sometimes I just need a drink or a break or bed. I also haven’t been eating after 8pm (except for a few times) and keep a glass of water nearby at all times.

So, yeah for the Shred! Jillian (and Kristen who started this whole bloggy thing) is my hero(ine).

Keeping It Going

I’m a reluctant exerciser.

I understand why I do it: I like how I feel after I finish.

But, man, I hate to think about it, especially on a Friday morning when all I want to do is get about six more hours of sleep.

This is how it’s been since I finished the 30-day Shred Challenge with a bunch of my fellow bloggers. It was fun to think that we were all doing this together, and while I know that many have pledge to continue on in either “Team Bob” or “Team Jillian”, this maintenance stuff kind of sucks.

You mean I have to exercise forever? And ever?

I hate when I start an On Demand (Comcast cable) video and realize, about 10 minutes into it, that I can’t stand the voice (or routine, or pace, or music). I hate finishing 20 minutes of exercising and not feeling as spent as with the Shred. And, yeah, I have gone back to the Shred a few times and then I remember why I was so glad to finish.

So, I’ve been sort of cobbling things together with a little of Jillian, a little of Bob and a daily dose of Elise. If you don’t know who she is, you must try her 10 minute “Straight to the Core” ab workout. Whoa nelly.

It’s nice to know that it actually may be worth it too. Two days after Easter, that festival of chocolate bunnies and eggs and jelly beans, I got on the scale and saw that the needle had moved down.

136. Two pounds gone.

Yeah baby. That’ll keep me moving.