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Making exercise routine

WEIGHING IN: 218.5

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published November 22, 2005


Since Tuesday, I have been a semiregular at the gym. Lifting one day, cardio the next, to the point where I'm on the verge of buying a tank top and spandex shorts.

I'd like to say I've found my second wind, but truth is it's more like my fifth or sixth wind.

For those keeping count at home - and I sure wish you'd stop - I took up walking outdoors, took up walking indoors, took one Ab Blast class at the Y, signed up for a strength and conditioning class that I paid for but never showed up for, signed up with a computerized online personal trainer that was a real hoot for the one day I did it, borrowed my brother-in-law's bike for one ride, flirted with my inline skates in the garage, walked away a few pounds with a workout DVD, tried some exercises with some workout bands, played in an adult baseball league and fell off my Swedish ball a few times.

Whew.

See how exhausting that is?

Of course, spread out over six months, that's not much.

Am I ashamed? No. It was fun. All of it.

Even if it was typical me: all over the place.

But I have really made an effort to focus this week (and the coming weeks) on exercise.

I feel that I have solved many of my poor eating habits, and now think nothing of passing on dessert or the leftover treats Joe Blow brought in from home. I took the kids to a local Italian restaurant over the weekend and was content to pass the stuffed mushrooms and shrimp artichoke dip around the table and feed my son macaroni and cheese without diving in, enjoying my side salad and iced tea.

Despite all the poking and prodding to get exercising, changing some really bad eating habits has been my primary focus. It was a battle that took five months to win, though the war still rages on. I still slip, especially when faced with stress (and a pocketful of change and a vending machine), but for the first time in forever I feel in control.

In my humble opinion, completely changing a sedentary decade of bad eating in one fell swoop is a recipe for disaster. I needed to figure out how to stop jamming chocolate and burritos (yes, sometimes in the same sitting) into my mouth.

I think I have.

Time to move on to that same consistency in my workouts.

It wasn't easy last week. Did my first workout at 6:30 a.m., but not before I decided to walk outside instead of driving to the Y, only to change my mind about 500 yards in, only to change it again one minute later. Honest to God, had the family six houses down been looking out the window, they would have thought I was lost.

The next day I worked out at 11:30 a.m. and the day after at 1 p.m.

After missing two straight days, I skipped the Bucs game, replacing the couch and chips with a bench and metal plates (though, sadly, those metal plates aren't much bigger than your average potato chip . . . for now).

Monday, I had no choice but to schedule a nighttime workout.

I'm getting there, even if I never know what time it will be.

But I'm getting there.

At this rate, I'll be in spandex by Christmas.

FOLLOW THE PROGRESS

Weighing In, John C. Cotey's column about his effort to lose weight, appears Tuesdays in Floridian. His starting weight on July 1 was 250 pounds. To read previous columns and his Web log, The Skinny, please go to www.sptimes.com/skinny