My husband Seth and were recently reminded that we are middle-aged (if we live to be 100 years old) and overweight.
We obviously can't do much about the middle-aged part except complain about it all the time and muse about "how quickly time flies." But what about our waistlines? Well...the bulging bellies in the Timmons house are a completely different story, according to the well-built enthusiastic man on the television infomercial. He claimed that if we did everything he told us for 25 minutes each day, the results would be astounding. Twenty-five measly minutes of exercise.
Well what middle-aged overweight couple wouldn't sign up for a deal like that? How hard could it be really — a mere 25 minutes? We could practically hold our breath for 25 minutes.
So after the Fed Ex guy threw the "FOCUS T25" DVD box on my front porch, I immediately tore into it.
That evening when Seth walked through the door my first words were "go get into your workout clothes."
Five minutes later he stood beside me in front of the television. His workout clothes from 1987 — which back in those days were stain free, loose-fitting, gray cotton gym shorts — had morphed into something else entirely. They were still cotton. And gray. But they were stretched so tight across his backside, they looked more like spandex-wanna-be gym shorts. Plus they had a hole in the crotch.
He plucked at his wedgie, yanked at the legs, grunted and did a half squat. The elastic waistband disappeared and I heard the stressed crotch seam groan and give. His tee shirt hugged his girth, puckering the fabric and pulling it up short. His slightly sagging hairy belly peeked at me below the hem.
"You look nice," I said.
And of course I stood proudly beside him in all my feminine 50-year-old glory. My sweat shorts waistband had rolled down lower on my hips (seeking the relief of a smaller circumference) and settled comfortably about four inches below my natural waistline, where I cinched the tattered drawstring. My sports bra from perkier days was holding everything nice and tight — so tight that my lady pendulums had retreated to a safe place somewhere under my armpits. Or slid around to my back. It was hard to be sure, really. And I hadn't shaved my legs since blue jean weather started, so speaking strictly from the leg angle, Seth and I were indistinguishable.
Overall, it was a fairly disgusting picture. At least we didn't stink. Yet.
Shawn T was on the television. Suddenly we were warming up, marching. "Bring those knees up high," he encouraged.
Seth marched, each leg rising and falling on the hardwood floor like a battering ram. Thud, thud, thud. A table lamp in the living room vibrated.
Fifteen minutes later, we were on the floor. "Work that core," said Shawn T.
I noticed Seth seemed to have pooped out and was lying perfectly still. "You are supposed to be flexing and lifting stuff," I said.
"You're not even moving!" I insisted.
"You just can't see it. It's all internal." He had sweat on his forehead, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
Five minutes later Shawn T had us in yet another position. "Theresa, I can feel something wiggling in my back," Seth said.
I tried to reassure him. "It's not a tumor. It's just fat jiggling." I was having my own troubles, since every muscle in my stomach had apparently atrophied at some point in the last 25 years and any work that involved 'the core' was being forcibly assumed by the muscles in my neck. Which made my face turn red. Plus my head seemed unnaturally heavy.
When the countdown clock on the TV screen ran out of seconds, Shawn T said the magic word. "TIME!" (For the record, 25 minutes with Shawn T was a lot longer than your generic 25 minutes.)
Seth flopped into his recliner. I collapsed in a heap on the floor. We were a middle-aged couple whose muscles were made of mashed potatoes and Klondike Bars.
A couple of weeks have passed since that first workout. I would like to tell you that Seth's belly is flat and my head is skinnier. Or that our 25-minute workout has become a breeze. But that wouldn't be the truth. We have a lot more weeks of "Focus" ahead of us.
Humor aside...we can't fight aging. But maybe we can do our part in 2014 to make growing older a little more comfortable, as much as is within our control?
I'll keep you posted...
Theresa Timmons’ column appears every first and third Sunday. She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at email@example.com.