Anyone For Tennis?

One of my Christmas gifts this year from my beloved Chico was tennis lessons.

That’s right! I haven’t played since senior year in high school, and yet here I am, new tennis racket in hand and hitting the courts…


Now I do like a lie-in, and my Chico, being a morning person, very generously lets me laze about on the weekends.

But now I’m having to haul my lazy self out of bed bright and early on these cold winter Saturday mornings to go chase down some tennis balls.

And you know what?

I’m Loving It!

Sure, it’s not easy to get up and out, but once I do, it’s so much fun.

There are three other adults in my class: a young couple and another lady. The other lady has played before and she’s definitely the strongest of the four of us.

It wasn’t long before we all exchanged numbers, realizing (as one does) that playing for one hour a week isn’t enough for us to really improve.

This week we met up for the first time outside of tennis lessons.

Not Feeling It At First…

I was half-tempted to bail. I’d done my workout this morning and wasn’t feeling up to much this evening.

But Chico wasn’t going to let me bail. He was almost more excited than I was about my going to play!

So I kitted up, put on my tennis shoes and headed over to the courts.

Boy I’m Glad I Did

Exercise always makes me feel better! And doing something socially like playing tennis doubles? It’s the best.

Not only did I get my exercise-induced endorphin rush, but I also got my fix of social(ly distanced) interaction!

My doubles partner warned me: “You get addicted to tennis doubles!” and I can really see why that happens.

You have the fun of playing tennis without killing yourself trying to cover the entire court. And you can meet some cool people! Playing at the HOA sports pavilion allows me to meet people who live locally.

Here’s To More Tennis!

My Chico just loves tennis, and our boys are getting into it, too. The Bug takes lessons with the same teacher as me later on Saturday mornings.

I’d love for this to become another activity that we all share, like bike riding. So here’s to more tennis!

Image sourced from the Washington Post

Making A Decision

Earlier this year, towards the beginning of the pandemic, I made a decision.

I decided I would write every day. As regular readers know, it started off as a creative writing challenge. I did many, many posts based off of some creative writing prompts I found online.

Lately, it’s evolved from that. It’s just become a habit. Instead of following the creative writing prompts, though, I’ve gotten into a groove of coming up with my own topics and writing (if not daily) pretty regularly.

Another Decision

A couple of months after making my first decision, I made another.

This time, I decided I would exercise. At first I said daily, but knowing myself I knew that wasn’t sustainable. So I set myself a goal of 4 times a week.

Seeing as the first decision I’d made had worked out so well, I was optimistic about this. It helped that Chico got us an exercise bike!

Sticking to It

I’m proud to tell you that (so far) I’m sticking to both these decisions.

Some days are better than others, but on the whole I’ve written and I’ve exercised on average four days a week for a few months now.

Each time I hit “publish” or get off the exercise bike, I feel proud. I feel like I’m doing something positive for myself, and it feels great.

I decided to do both of these activities (writing and exercise) for my own mental and physical wellbeing. Writing challenges my brain, and cycling pushes my body.

And I feel their positive effects daily.

Time to Make a Third Decision?

But now I think it’s time to make another decision.

I’m a bit nervous about writing this here, to be honest. It feels risky. I could be setting myself up to potentially feel very crappy about this if I fail.

And by telling you all about it, you’ll all know if I fail!

Oh well. Here goes…

I’ve decided to change my eating habits.

Breaking it Down

That’s a huge thing. So I’m breaking it down into one key element:

I’ve started (ugh, I shudder to think of it!) to count calories. Specifically, to use a free food tracking app called MyFitnessPal.

If writing is a pleasure, and exercising is a challenge, calorie counting is (let’s face it) a bit of a chore.

I have come to the conclusion, however, that this one act, this practice of tracking what I eat, will significantly contribute to both my mental and physical wellbing.

When I Look In the Mirror

Now, when I look in the mirror, or when I see photos of myself, I shudder. I am heavier than I’ve ever been (aside from the end of my pregnancies, but that doesn’t count).

The image I have in my own mind of myself does not match what I see in the mirror or in photos. And it’s jarring every time I’m faced with the reality of how I actually look.

Also, despite increased exercise, my weight has not budged. That means that the pressure on my back is the same.

While I am stronger and my heart and lungs are definitely healthier, I can still feel the stress that my excess weight puts on my lower back.

Realistic Expectations

I’m not trying to look good in a bikini. I’m not even trying to weigh as little as I did in college. My goal is modest, and is really based on a feeling more than a number.

Writing makes me feel more creative, more observant and sharper. Exercising makes my lungs and heart feel stronger, and I don’t feel winded walking up the stairs, or chasing after my boys.

By counting calories (and watching how I eat), I hope to improve my digestive health, feel even more energetic, and feel good about the way I look.

Now I’ve Told You

So now you know. I’ve made this decision. And by telling you all, I hope to hold myself accountable.

If you want to join in, you can look up thebraininjane on MyFitnessPal. Or you can just get in touch and swap stories, share encouragement, ask questions, whatever!

(Now I know that there are programs like Weight Watchers, Noom, etc., and I’ve previously tried them to various levels of success. Maybe I’ll write an article about why these haven’t worked for me.)

A Balancing Act

So yesterday I wrote a list of the sweet treats that I’ve been baking in lockdown. Just writing the list had me craving a treat.

I love sweets. Not just any sweets. Gourmet sweets.

Candy? Meh.

I can do without M&Ms, Mars bars, or candy of any kind, really. I don’t care for soft drinks and I can pass on ice cream and even chocolate.

But OH. EM. GEE. You put a plate of cookies, muffins, scones or cakes in front of me? And I am a GONER.

The combination of sweet and bready makes my head spin. I am physically incapable of resisting. Such things have to either be hidden from me or kept in the house without my knowledge (hard, since I’m usually the one baking them).

Attempted Moderation

I’ve managed to moderate my intake of delicious baked treats by imposing a rule that I only eat the things I make. Great. That should slow me down, right?

Wrong. I bake them. I research and practice to perfect baking recipes. I tweak and modify so that they’re as tasty as I want them. While I’m pretty good at limiting myself to one helping a day, I sometimes can’t help myself.


Balancing Attempt

Having used calorie tracking apps before, I’ve come to the conclusion that despite my love of baked treats, my eating habits are actually quite healthy.

What I cook and eat on a daily basis is good for me. But those things I do indulge in, I want to enjoy. I want to be able to have a couple glasses of wine in the week. I want to enjoy a cookie, piece of pie or slice of cake after my dinner a few times a week.

And so, I have made a decision.

I am now a person who exercises daily.

“How can you NOT be a person who exercises daily?!” Some people need to exercise, they need to sweat and exert themselves.

I, dear reader, was not one of those people. I did not feel the need to make myself uncomfortable.

For most of my life, this wasn’t a big deal. I’m naturally very strong and though I could wish my cardio was better, I never felt incapable of doing the things I wanted to do. I could hike a mountain on a Saturday in May after sitting on my backside from November through April.

Age Sucks

But now, I’m feeling my years. Cycling with the boys has become more difficult. A weekend hike is now hard because my breathing is labored.

And so, a new habit begins. Just as I have become a person who writes every day, I am now a person who exercises every day.

(I hope.)

Send encouragement! Tell me your favorite exercise routines! We have a stationary bike which came with a one year iFit subscription and I’ve been enjoying the workouts which take you on a virtual ride in a cool place somewhere in the world.