Take Me to (Dance) Church

Anyone who has been around this blog knows that one of my favorite hobbies/passions is dance fitness. Eleven years ago, my coworker invited me to a Zumba class and that class changed me forever. I was instantly hooked, and found myself rearranging my schedule and making Zumba a big priority in my life. Even when I was living and working 30+ miles away, I would still make the drive so that I could attend, and when the classes ended forever a few years ago I felt like a big piece of me was missing.

I tried a couple of different Zumba classes at different gyms, but nothing filled the void like that first class did. I missed the music, the routines, my friends, everything. But I found a new home at the Red Hot Dance classes when I joined Harbor Square Athletic Club here in Edmonds, and as I became a regular and made friends I felt less sad over the loss of my beloved Zumba class (though I will miss it forever).

Of course, then the pandemic shut things down and now I don’t have a gym membership anymore. I work out pretty much exclusively from home and although I like my at-home workouts, they just aren’t the same high that I get from dance. So when my friend Kate invited me to a Dance Church class on Tuesday night, I was excited to say yes!

I’d been to an outdoor Dance Church event with Kate over the summer and had enjoyed it. They’re a dance fitness platform with both streaming and live class options, including events at venues in Seattle. Attendees are required to be vaccinated and to pre-register, so the classes are never overcrowded, and masks must be worn throughout class. Even though I am extremely cautious due to Covid, the extra precautions helped me feel confident about attending.

The class was so much fun! It was held at Washington Hall, a historic landmark building in Seattle that turned out to be a really beautiful venue for a dance class. Everyone with Dance Church was extremely kind and positive, and the enthusiasm in the room was definitely contagious. I found myself swept up in the music and the movement, and it felt like only about ten minutes had passed when the hour was up and class started winding down.

I had a blast at Dance Church and will definitely be attending more classes in the future.

Working Out with the Peloton App

Over the last year and a half, Bill and I have been working out pretty much exclusively from home. Our gym was shut down during the beginning of the pandemic, and even when it reopened in summer 2020 neither of us felt ready to go back to that environment. We decided to cancel our membership and restart it when things felt more normal, which sadly hasn’t happened yet. Although the gym we went to is taking Covid extremely seriously and has implemented a lot of great safety protocols, the idea of being around sweaty people who are breathing heavy just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me just yet.

We kept ourselves active with home workouts from our Beachbody on Demand subscription, but over the last couple of months I think both of us have grown bored with our exercise routine and found ourselves craving something new. Although BoD does have a robust library of different exercise programs to follow, I don’t really want to work out six or seven days a week and I’m generally happy to keep my home workouts to around 30 minutes, and not a lot of the Beachbody workouts fit those parameters.

A couple of weeks ago I was lamenting to a friend that I was bored with my workout routine and having a hard time making myself exercise, and she enthusiastically told me about the Peloton app. Although I do not live under a rock and know all about the extremely-popular Peloton spin bikes, what I didn’t know was that there is also an on-demand library of other types of workouts. I get a free trial of the Peloton app with my credit card, so I was able to sign up with zero commitment.

My first impression as we explored the different available workouts is that there are a LOT to pick from in different categories. And since there are some that are as short as ten minutes, we’re able to stack multiple workouts. Today, for example, we did a 20-minute strength training workout and a 10-minute cardio one. There are also longer videos to pick from, but something about doing multiple different ones makes me happy.

Using the Peloton workouts has been such a great change for us. Different trainers always work you out differently and the app has plenty of different people to choose from, and just mixing up our routine has made me more excited to work out again.

Back to Calorie Counting

Well, I threw in the towel on the Space Food Diet in the middle of last week. The processed food was wreaking havoc on my body and even though I was losing weight, it wasn’t worth continuing. Not only did I continue to have problems with my stomach, but I had zero energy and I was feeling anxious and depressed.

Now that I’m eating a balance of whole foods again, I’m feeling a lot better and I’m still losing weight! I’m not exactly sure how much I’ve lost in pounds – I weighed myself on October 1st, then again on the 9th when I started the Space Food Diet, and according to the scale I had gained four pounds in between those two weigh-ins. But since we’d been on vacation, I know that most of those four pounds were not actual weight gain. If I go by my October 1st weight, I’ve lost 1.6lbs, but if I use my October 9th weigh-in as my starting weight then I’ve lost 5.5lbs. Either way, I’m much more interested in inches lost, so we re-took measurements on Saturday and I was down another 2.75 inches. That’s 8 inches total lost in two weeks. I’m feeling pretty happy with that!

So now I’m back to calorie counting, with goals of 1200 calories six days a week and 1500 calories one day per week. The higher calorie day lets me have a nice meal if I want to, while the lower days continue to help me normalize eating less food. It’s a steeper calorie deficit than I’ll probably set for myself long-term, but at least for right now it’s been plenty of calories to eat the way I want to.

We had a really productive and enjoyable weekend. Yesterday, we rented a Uhaul and cleaned out our storage unit, taking several unused and rather worn-out items to the transfer station. It’s nice to have our storage cleaned out and organized! Today was pretty stormy, so we spent the afternoon carving the fake pumpkins I got at craft stores. I’ve wanted to carve pumpkins every year since Bill and I first got together, but it always feels like October gets away from me and before I have time to even stop and buy the supplies Halloween has come and gone. I’m so happy we got to carve them this year! I feel good about finding new things to do that are fun (or that yield results that make me happy, like organizing our storage unit) and I feel like these activities were made possible by our commitment to eating better and spending our time differently.

Day Ten

Today is day ten of the Space Food Diet. After not seeing a lot of movement on the scale, Bill and I re-took measurements last Saturday and in the first week I’m down 5.25 inches. Hooray!

Although I’m super happy with the loss of inches, I’m even more happy that I’ve been able to resist temptation and actually stick to a plan. Even though it’s not really that long a time, ten days is by far the longest I’ve stuck with any eating plan in a LONG time. I’ve noticed that my appetite isn’t raging all the time and on the few occasions when I have had cravings, I’ve been able to acknowledge them and then move on. On Friday night I was especially food-lusty, but when I told Bill how I was feeling he agreed to do a dance workout with me (something he has never done before!) and by the time we finished exercising I was in a much better mood and able to enjoy my healthy dinner.

Although the diet is giving me the reset I wanted, the space food has proven to be incredibly hard on my stomach. I’ve never experienced this before, on any diet or eating plan, and it was the last thing I was expecting. For the first few days, I accepted it as part of my body adjusting to a new style of eating, but by last weekend I was getting annoyed by how I was feeling and by today I’m considering going off of the space food and designing my own daily meal plan. I’m going to give it a couple more days before I make a decision, but I believe it’s important to listen to my body and so far it has been screaming at me that it is not happy being fed this way and it wants its whole foods back.

No matter which direction I decide to go in, I’m happy that I embarked on this diet because it really did break the cycle of poor eating that I’ve been stuck in for awhile now. Even though eating the way I am now is not something I intend to do forever, it helped me remember that a “lifestyle change” truly means that you have to make changes to your life to see results. And I know that I really do want to live a healthy lifestyle, one that I can be proud of.