Forty-one pounds gone. It feels amazing. I think the six hours of Zumba I did this week helped :)
I know I've talked a lot about Zumba this week, but I'm not done yet.
I wish I could explain it all for you better. The point I want to get across to you is that I have hated exercise all my life and now I don't.
I was never good at sports. I played volleyball for a couple of years in grade school and we were the team that always got beat. I played a few weeks of kickball which stopped promptly after I broke my wrist trying to catch a ball.
Once I got to high school I wasn't good enough to play organized sports. I still wanted my JV letter for my school jacket and I still wanted to feel like I belonged to a group so I was a "manager" for several teams. I was the swim team manager my Freshman year (this is where I talked to Jim, my now husband, for the first time. He was sitting out from practice and he was telling me about his shoes. I was so terribly shy I don't think I said two words back to him.). Man, my memory is fuzzy - I know I was also the manager of the varsity boys basketball team and then I went back to being a manager of the swim team my Senior year? Regardless. I was always on the sidelines.
The last few weeks at Zumba I've tried to think about why I like it so much. A big part of it is the feeling of belonging. There are a lot of ladies at Zumba that I can call my friends. But there are also the ladies who's names I don't know but will chat with in the hallway before class. There are the smiles and "hellos" you get in the parking lot from others in the class that recognize you.
I also love when I'm in the hallway before class and someone will say "have you taken this class before?" I love newbies. I get really excited telling them about the class. Telling them how long I've taken it and how much weight I've lost from doing it. I give them tips about watching the front row to follow the moves. To get your feet down first before you get your arms. How if you come back a couple you'll start to memorize the moves.
There's a woman in class (I need to find out her name) that I can tell loves Zumba as much as I do. She's been going as long, if not longer than I have, but she still stays towards the back of class. I'll be in the middle of a song, concentrating on the next series of moves, looking in the mirror with a determined look on my face and I'll catch her reflection in the mirror from the back of class. It never fails that when I look at her I smile. She always has a huge smile on her face and is bouncing along to the moves. I know which songs are her favorites and even which moves she likes the best, I know when to expect her to shout out a "woo hoo."
These are not the things you get from going on a walk or doing the elliptical machine. And these are the things that I've always felt like I missed out on. Being a part of a team and being good at it. I'm good at Zumba. I've never admitted that before, but I am. I wear freaking two pound weights on each of my hands while I'm doing it. I've got the hips to shake along to the belly dance songs. I have the coordination (maybe not the rhythm) to get the moves right 99% of the time. I like being good at things.
I go because I miss it if I don't. I go because I don't want to get called out by my friends for not showing up. I go because I feel great while I'm there and even better when I leave. I go because to me it's not exercise, it's dancing. I go because it's a part of me now and it's what I do.
And I know that some of you can feel this same way if you try it. I know it's not for everyone (my sister-n-law Kim isn't drinking the Zumba kool-aid, but at least she tried it :) but my favorite Liz is a Zumba convert and fellow 2-pound weight wearer, my mom is also taking Zumba at her office and she just posted how she's starting to really like the music and the moves. If you can relate to anything I've written above and you're not currently exercising, but you want to - I challenge you to take three Zumba classes and see if you love it. It might just change the way you think about exercise.