Lately I have been really focused on stability; physically, mentally, and financially. What better way to roll those three goals in to one challenge than Windsor Pilates. I already had the DVD so it wouldn’t cost anything, I thought the Pilates breathing would clear my mind, and the workout is definitely physically beneficial.
I was about 14 when I was first suckered into buying something from an infomercial, and in that Summer when I couldn’t sleep and would torture myself into being up at 5 am to “be a better person”, the Windsor Pilates commercials were all over our satellite TV channels. I was sleep deprived and a teenager, so my susceptibility to anything beauty or fitness related was inevitable. Remembering this makes me realize that instagram is kind of today’s platform for infomercials; think skinny teas full of bloat causing senna and waist trainers that are guaranteed to make you look like a busted can of biscuits. The packaging is shiny, but the results are not typical.
My thoughts have always been saturated with this gnawing needing to change my body. Maybe one day I’ll be at peace, it feels closer and closer, but I’m just not there yet. Years before I bought the Windsor Pilates program, when I must have been around 7 or 8, I found an old dusty VHS tape in the TV cabinet that had some skinny as fuck neon pink leotard wearing woman. It was a tape for a high impact cardio workout. It changed my life in the sense that I discovered I could just watch this woman and copy what she does and I would lose all of my excess body weight. Copying people who have what I want must be the key. I could also follow the dieting and food suggestions in my mom’s magazines and boom. If they look this good they must be following their own advice 24/7, and there is no way that they were paid to say such things or have such things written for them for money. The idea never every came to my young mind, it just must be facts. And I sure absorbed it all.
The first time I was ever home alone I did the tape, and afterward laying in a pile of sweat on the lint coated carpet at the end of the “high impact cardio workout” I felt such a change mentally. Looking back it may have been high endorphins, low oxygenation, and the skewed vision of a chubby child trying to be likeable but the bubbling hope and sparkling possibilities of such a realization that “this method could change MY body because it said so” was a glorious feeling; and it is a feeling that would continue to find me throughout my adolescence, and sometimes even still.
I had two jobs the day that I turned 14, because I was very sure that I needed to be able to take care of myself. My parents were not reliable, but that’s a whole extra story for another time, maybe. So because I was 14 and had a little bit of money, I had my own cell phone and I had my own checks. After calling the infomercial number for the company selling the Windsor Pilates box set and sending off who knows how much, I got my package a few weeks later.
Despite most infomercials turning out to be cheap scams, this was and still is such a good workout. At this moment in time, I have very little core strength. I am super weak and just putting a case of water in the bottom of the shopping cart at Costco last night was awkward and embarrassing. I am bound to hurt myself eventually, and I am so lucky that I have still at this size and weight somehow missed out on any serious health concerns, illness, or injury. That’s not to say that it’s a comfortable body to live in, but I haven’t had any major diagnosis and my blood pressure is good. I think it’s easy to hide behind “normal” vital signs though and it doesn’t necessarily mean I am out of the woods. I know that it must be hard for my body to perfuse efficiently and to keep going with this much salt, sugar, and fat intake, and low activity output. It’s only a matter of time before I am sick and wishing I would have made a change sooner, so here I am. Trying to keep making a change. Even if I get off track, I think they key is to keep trying. There is no one track to anywhere. It’s the little things and the constant process that is what equates to better health. I am so thankful to realize such a thing, before I’ve gotten to a point where it’s to late and I have had a stroke or heart attack.
I remember putting in that Windsor Pilates DVD for the first time and going through my first at home Pilates routine with Mari Windsor instructing me and I was stretching, and breathing, and feeling like a fucking hot as fuck stretchy limber goddess. I swear there could have been glitter dripping off my sweaty head, it felt so good and I felt like I was on a good path. It sparked inspiration to follow other teen aged brained beauty routines though, which weren’t so good. This included squeezing sticky lemons into my hair to lighten it and slathering myself with cooking oil to darken my skin by laying outside, copying DOs and DON’Ts from teen magazines, making vats of the Mayo Clinic Cabbage Soup, and biking 26 miles in one day because I was bound and determined to not be the fat girl. You know, kid things. I also found EDspace that Summer, which opened my eyes up to a whole other community of like-minded, frustrated, disordered, parent-ally unsupported, depressed girls. That too is a whole ‘nother story, friend.
So today at the age of 27, I decided to give Windsor Pilates another go. It gave me the only abs I’ve ever had in my life, and although layered under a soft padding of subcutaneous fat, it was great to feel so strong. Truly strong. Physically able to run in the event that I need to in an apocalypse and able to pull myself up from falling off a cliff and only having a ledge or a branch to hold on to. I have my original Windsor Pilates DVD still, but I no longer have a DVD player. I can’t even remember the last time I had one or where it went. It maybe would play in my laptop but luckily it does not matter because YouTube exists, and it is fantastic.
Let me tell you what isn’t fantastic though. Feeling the effects of time, age, and inactivity smacking you right in the head; sort of like the way my boobs smashed up into my neck and face when I was crunched forward and up into “table top position” before doing the 100s. A real, squished, wake up call. My boobs are pretty good for being this size and for the lack of body strength and muscle that I have, but still. Laying on my side to do triangles (or pyramids) and not being able to lift my damn leg more than 6 times without gravity winning hard was a bitter taste to swallow. This is hard when I haven’t worked out more than doing incline treadmill routines in the last year plus.
Today though, I’m thankful for this struggle. I’ve been on this struggle bus for a long time and I feel like my stop is coming up soon. I didn’t realize how hard a 20-30 minute floor workout was. I truly believe that to get to this weight though, there is a significant amount of denial and ignorance that has to occur. I know that it is lazy, but I would never want to admit that I am lazy. I know that it is unhealthy. I know that my HR should not shoot up so high for such minimal activity. But here I am, eyes open, and I’m learning every day. I’m going to try this workout again, as I know it will get easier with consistency. Consistency is literally only possible if I keep going; and you can’t move ahead unless your eyes are open.