Skinny Daily Post


I long ago recognized that I take a certain amount of pleasure from routines — the ‘known quantity’ that makes me feel safe and secure. Ironically, however, living in my comfort zone can lead to complacency, boredom and as a result, overeating.

Unfortunately, the same routines which give me a sense of predictability and stability are also the ones that can lead me to a false sense of satisfaction. Particularly in eating and exercise, I have the tendency to get so used to the ‘same old, same old’ that I can begin to lose momentum and interest. When I lived in Washington, DC for years I used to walk along the exact same route to work every single day. When a friend suggested I vary that pattern, I found it almost shockingly difficult. Nonetheless, once I tried it I began to relish my walks — what new things would I see? what streets had I not yet tried? which walks were faster? which more pleasing?

I know for some people like my partner, spontaneity is natural, pleasurable and enticing. For me, however, its always a little anxiety producing. Change routes? Try new foods? Yikes!

This week I not only started a new job, but I changed health clubs. I’m all about convenience, and there’s a very nice gym right up the street from my new office, which means I can go before, during or after work.

Yesterday at the new gym, I decided to try out an abs class. It was ‘spontaneous’ (I had been planning to lift weights) and I felt a little nervous and shy as I took my place in the room and watched people set up their spaces and socialize. The instructor turned out to be from the ‘drill sargeant’ school of coaching, and it was a music-less, cheer-less half hour of barked orders. We were told to work with a partner and early on I said to mine, ‘this reminds me too much of high school gym class.’ She just smiled and kept pumping out the reps.

I was proud of myself for finishing, but I won’t be doing that one again. When I work out it has to put a smile on my face. Either while I’m doing it or as soon as I’m done.

Fortunately, I previously discovered that my new gym has a kickboxing class taught by an instructor whose classes I took for years at an earlier club. So when I took that class over the weekend, it was a nice combination — new surroundings and people, but a teacher and a set of exercises that I felt confident about.

Finding a mix between patterns that make me feel comfortable and opportunities to try new things will always be one of life’s challenges for me. I like knowing what works and what doesn’t. Its just that the answers keep changing, especially when I’m not paying attention.

So, this week a new gym. Maybe next week I’ll try planning some new menus. Ultimately, the comfort I’m seeking is going to come from fitting into my clothes, eating foods I love, and being happily active. One step at a time.

5 thoughts on “Discomfort Zone

  1. Mercury says:

    I have this weird love/hate thing with routines too. It seems like I spend all my time trying to get my time organized, and then as soon as I do, I feel stiffled. I really wish I understood this about myself.

    I know also when I was really in the hard grind of losing weight, I felt like I was working so hard to keep my calories low and my exercise high that trying new things was very risky. What if I tried that new food, and I didn’t like it, or it didn’t fill me up? What if a different exercise class wasn’t rigorous enough? I’d never be able to stay on track!

    I really hope I’ll understand this about myself some day, because it’s pretty frustrating.

  2. stretchy says:

    Many of us lost the weight by changing one small thing at a time,
    not being wildly spontaneous.
    there is a time for spontaneity and a time for routines. We all have different personalities, levels of each that make sense for us as individuals.

    I’m going to try a new dance class. If I don’t like it, that’s OK. My routine workouts are fine too. Shake it up? yeah…sometimes you need to!

  3. Tracy says:

    I too am a creature of habit. Same thing for breakfast, same thing for lunch, same handful of dinners and same order at every restaurant. Why would I ever order something that wasn’t what I considered the best the restaurant had to offer? Why *waste* the calories. I need to break out of my rut.

    I commend you for trying new things. I did try some new restaurants lately. They were okay–maybe even better than that–but mostly I was just proud of myself for trying something new.

  4. LA says:

    i remember one time I went to get my drink at the espresso stand with a friend. they were out of hazelnut. I thought I was going to have a breakdown. I could not contemplate getting another flavor. I have hazelnut everyday, I could not switch now. that is definitley something I need to work on.

  5. Concerned Boyfriend says:

    Not sure how to start this but here it goes. My girlfriend has lost alot of weight, mostly before I even met her over a year ago. She lived half her life “overweight” and had all the verbal abuse that goes along with it with family and those around her. I know she knows there is a difference but of course there is the mental part that needs to kick in. I know it is a self-conscious thing, but what is the healthiest way to start dealing with being “skinny”? She looks great and she should be able to feel good in say a swimsuit or dress. I don’t want to push the issue but we have begun traveling together and I would like her to feel more comfortable when we participate in outings that require her to be a little more comfortable in bikinis and dresses. Again, I am all for her taking her time with this, but I don’t want it to become an issue time and again because this does get emotional for her.

    Concerned boyfriend

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