Tuesday, March 11, 2008

To GYM or not to gym...


The first step on a track back to a life of fitness is obviously; cute work-out clothes. So where did my ass sit in my sexy yoga pants, Nike shocks and a wife beater for 7 hours, not the fucking gym that's for sure- I sat at the Soy Luck Club and tried, through osmosis to work off the calories of my current sedentary lifestyle by watching the sweaty skinny people busting their asses across the street at Equinox. I figured sitting at a trendy health cafe where people eat handfuls of flax seed, do shots of wheat grass (instead of tequila) and carry their yoga mats like a new appendage on their bodies, would get me all in line with my CHI, which would obviously get me in line with my cravings for apples, spinach and almonds (for snacks instead of Cheez-its) which would lead to my sexy firm, sexalicious body- again.

Since coming to NYC I have treated my body like a trashcan. Consuming a lot of liquid (ahem, liquor calories) and acting like my restaurant reviewing gives free reign to bust ridiculous highs of calorie consumption. I mean, ridiculous highs. Empanadas/mojitos at Cuba on Thompson, sauteed mushrooms in sherry wine and creme brulee at Las Ramblas, a glass of wine here and there just so I can soak in the atmosphere and listen to fancy people talk about their fancy jobs, in fancy places, wearing fancy shoes, talking to their fancy, fancy friends.
I wanna be all, fancy like. I swear New York does that to you.

When I lived in L.A. I spent most of my days doing the same old thing in sweatpants and messy buns, I spent hours upon hours at the gym. My body was ridiculously in shape. I could climb a fucking mountain and not break a sweat. Salads were for lunch and dinner most days sans bread basket, breakfast was a latte with Splenda, and friends would meet and chat over a spinning class or yoga date. I spent hours meditating and creating a "fancy life" in my head, rather than going out and actually living one. I wore my Mala beads and carried my spiritual books because I was desperately looking for something that would show me that living miserably wasn't my inevitable fate, there was light and energy and blaaaah blah. And then I would spend the rest of the hours completely disconnected from myself wishing I could just feel happy, then I'd fall asleep crying.

Friends weren't living in it either and because everyone was so concerned with looking perfect in order to book a job, meals were rarely enjoyed and the stress one would go through before going out to meet (which means network) "friends" would span hours of shopping for the perfect designer top and looking "trendy", while looking so personally stylish and unique of course- under certain guidelines.

EVERYTHING was so contrived, the conversation, the image, the happiness. It was just day-to-day survival and at the time the only way I could get the endorphins necessary to smile meant, going to the gym.

New York isn't a gym city to me. Gyms are for cities where you don't need to tote heavy gym bags, but you can throw them in your huge SUV and hop back into your warm car when you're sweaty, turn up the heat and let your muscles relax, rather than walking through wind chills that freeze the tips of your hair and leave your bones crackling.

I haven't been concerned with my calorie counting because, I haven't been concerned with perfection, rather I've started living IN, my own fanciness, without searching so much for it. With that I suppose has come some imbalance, which has always been somewhat of an issue for me- one extreme or the other. Reckless abandon, or army like militancy. And that is something I'd like to get more of a hold on.

I don't enjoy having that extra little jiggle when I walk at alarming speeds to the subway, and actually today- I was seriously craving a banana, whether that has anything to do with the shape of the banana and some Freudian relationship towards craving sex, I'm not sure, but either way it was a craving for something out of the carb category which is at least a start.

With all that being said, I'm enjoying myself. Greatly. I've never been like many Americans who feel guilt in pleasure. I believe life is MADE for pleasure, not for strife or stress, disappointments and rough skin. Disappointment is all in how your react towards it. I don't buy into the masochistic views that in order to have pleasure you must have pain, bitter with the sweet, life should be work, work then you die. etc...and even if that is the truth, I've had quite a bit of bitter, that when the sweet comes along the laast emotion I'm going to let in is guilt.

I have no problem with eating dessert more than once a day, enjoying a restful nights sleep, listening to music for hours without watching the clock (my favorite right now is DUFFY, check her out, shes about to give Amy Winehouse a run for her money), writing and writing without any purpose, vacationing and the entire art of pleasure-seeking. AFTER ALL, you never know when your last day is.

Though, I'm incredibly motivated, voraciously work towards achieving, and am often so hard on myself to point of paralysis, the only way to start living IN your life is by, doing it. The success I seek in my life never ommits the enjoyment of my life, they go hand in hand for true fulfillment, for me. Planning, counting, outlines and to-do lists are useless until they are done.

So as I sit here in this Internet cafe writing my articles, drinking my green tea latte and staring at the model outside without incredibly small thighs, I mentally say thanks to God for putting my NEW APARTMENT on the 6th floor, for forgetting to put in an elevator and for technically being "at work" right now (ah the life of a writer, sigh.)....

Climbing six flights a few times a day is enough exercise for me now, until I get my penthouse with it's own elevator and a built in exersize room, stair stepping outside the gym will have to do.

52 comments:

Tia said...

i agree with everything you said except i feel like gyms out here on the west coast are such judgement-barns, while in NYC at least people are judging you while you're actually wearing real clothes.

i'd rather be judged in my cute-butt jeans and stilettos than my too clingy yoga pants and baggy tshirt.

but that would require me actually GOING to a gym...so...haha. =)

nicoleantoinette said...

I absolutely loved this post Chelsea. That's how NYC vs. LA is for me too (although I've never, ever spent more than an hour at the gym), and I have a really hard time finding balance with it all.

Soy Luck Club is yummy- enjoy it! And if you're craving something sweet, head over to 8th and Jane and hit up Lilac. Also right in that area is dell'anima, the restaurant my friend Joey owns. That's totally where we should go when I come into town, or Spring Street Natural. Or Chikalicious. Hehe, gym.. what? :)

tipptalk said...

I feel better when I actually get dressed to work out too. It makes me feel as though I am taking baby steps to the real deal. You must have a cute outfit or it is just not worth doing. It keeps me motivated if not for the right reasons.

And the 6th floor? You will burn off tons of drinks doing just that.

lspoon said...

New apartment? Yay! Go you! :)

Katelin said...

Yay for getting an apartment!

And I love this post. Granted I don't know the NYC life really, but I do know the LA life and I am definitely a gym goer these days. However I know that not everything I do is not as contrived as what you may have experienced, and I freaking thank jeebus for it.

Dolce said...

Chels-I'm happy to hear you're finally happy. I've been to LA and NY and the difference is incredible! I haven't said this before, but I hate LA and hated myself in it. It's hard not to be unhappy and self conscious in a place where everyone is competing with everyone. NY isn't for the weak of heart either, but at least NY gives you the opporunity to prove yourself after a first glance.

Sizzle said...

I'm liking Duffy. Thanks for the linkage! I'm so glad I have stairs in my apartment and am forced to vacuum 4 carpeted floors weekly.

Karmen said...

i LOVE the way you write.
it reminds me that i need to get my ass in gear and start writing again too.

Britt said...

yay for an apartment!! (High calorie food just tastes so good!!!)

Mike said...

Life might be made for pleasure, but pleasure is NOTHING without pain.

How can you know how good pleasure is without feeling the opposite?

'course, some people thrive on pain, it is their pleasure.

To each their own.

Also, large thighs contain more muscle for stair climbing. FYI.

just me said...

the gym is overrated.

I only go to quell these sexual urges that are starting to make previously normal looking guys HOT.

...this is trouble.

distractedspunk said...

It's funny, because I was thinking the exact opposite. I went to the gym so much more consistently and regularly and was in the best shape of my life when I left New York, more or less. Here, in the Bay Area, I'm a little lenient with my food intake and gym habits. My body? Does not like it.

One thing that I liked about my gym in NY was that I spent extra on my own locker. Could leave gym clothes and a towel there - worked wonders because if I ever got the impulse to go, I didn't have to think "Oh crap, but I don't have my bag." Sometimes, it's such a hassle carrying the bag everywhere.

Chele said...

well you could look at it this way.
In LA you eat healthy but drive EVEREYWHERE, in New York you may eat a bit unhealthy but you WALK all day everywhere.

Starlet aka Minutestar said...

So you got a new apartment!! YAY! YAY! YAY!

twentysomethingandclueless said...

Dunno if you're looking for a good workout program, but the Self Challenge is actually not so bad - cardio + strength combined only takes like 50 mins once you've got the strength exercises down! Check out the self.com website for it. (keep in mind that I totally hate cardio. and so far I've actually gone to the gym 3 times in the past week. crazy!)

And congrats on the new apt!!

MsPuddin said...

that's the way you gotta do it, take the stairs instead of the elevator...I can't remember the last time I went to the gym. I live off cheese pizza and I seem to be doing just fine ;p

Vanessa said...

So glad you found a place! And yes, living in your own skin and being happy there is a fabulous place to be, not waiting for life to begin in five pounds less. I think NYC has it made because it has what I call a built in exercise system, the walking!

NYCPonderings Chick said...

eeekkk six flights a day IS A WORKOUT!

Amber T. said...

This reminds me that I could really benefit from pulling my ass out of this chair once in a while and exercising...

sequined said...

Being able to relax in your car after a work out IS really nice, now that you mention it. I used to do Bikram yoga (the hot kind), and woohoo endorphins have never been so dramatic as when I roused myself from my much-needed corpse pose after a 90 minute class, climbed into my car, and chugged water on my way home. It was the drive from heaven. And I usually don't like driving.

new york dactyl said...

agreed... i felt the same way about living in LA. and now similarly about living in NY as well.

my negative view of LA was due to it's fakeness - people caring about what you looked like.
my negative view of NY is due to it's pretension - people caring about what you do and did.

good luck w/ the six flights of stairs.

jessica maria said...

as a fellow new yorker, i love that my work out basically consists of my daily commute. i slimmed down a bit when i first moved to new york because of that very fact...woo!

DJSassafrass said...

You just made me feel so much better about not being able to button my jeans last night. I agree--life is for living, granted I wish I could live it in my skinnier clothes, but they are in a box marked "Shauna's skinny clothes." Hopefully I will get back to them soon!

Raven said...

Hooray for a NEW APARTMENT!

I have a hard time going to a gym because I'd have to load up in the car and drive so far to get there. With all the traffic, I'd be so pissed by the time I got there and then again once I got home-it'd waste any relaxing benefit I'd get from it. If I had a work out partner I might be more apt to go through with it, though. In the meantime I'll just wait for Wii-fit to come out already and continue to do nothing :)

ChasingParadise said...

I'm so glad you're enjoying life in NYC. LA was wonderful when I visited, but it would be super stressful to live there, I must agree. Keep in mind: people won't remember you by how skinny or fit you were...they'll remember you by how much you loved life and living it.

brookem said...

I loved this. All of it. Everything.

Rebecca said...

For more yummy calorie consumption hit up Good for brunch. It is right next to that equinox. It is fucking amazing.

I work at home but I only have on flight of stairs - so I am off to the gym now. But I don't have an extra jiggle like you. I have a couple mountains. Whatever though.

I am seriously glad to hear you are enjoying yourself in this city though.

JD said...

Try living in the Detroit area... Here it is the opposite, people look at you weird when you DO go to the gym. Try ordering a salad, and you get laughed at. This is defintely an area where healthfulness is not a priority to many people. I imagine it is the same in NYC. It must have something to do with being able to jog in park in January or something.

Summer said...

Thanks for this post... sometimes our lives get in the way of living and we forget what this whole thing is about. We should enjoy our own existence here while we have time...

BV said...

Cute workout clothes are a must.

I own them...now what to do with them?!?!?

Just Jamie said...

Life IS made for pleasure!

I'm glad your enjoying it! I am too, less gym, more fun:)

heidikins said...

Great post, easy to relate to.

xox

Mel Heth said...

As someone who was born, raised and still lives in the suburbs of LA, I have to disagree with your assessment of the city. I think a lot of transplants get sucked into the yoga-doing, veggie-eating vortex out here - but it is completely possible to live a life of hedonism on the west coast. I pride myself on regularly indulging in cheese and relaxation at local wine bars (Bottle Rock in Culver City is my current fave). I've never had a gym membership and certainly don't feel the need to be perfect (plastic surgery makes me want to puke). I love New York, too, but I don't think it is superior in its ability to facilitate "enjoyment of life." You can find all the same gratification out west, you just have to know where to look and who to look with.

Miss Adventurous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
So@24 said...

I imagine you living in a place that looks like the Huxtables.

Jay said...

When I first came to New York, I gained like 15 pounds from eating out, drinking, repeat ad nauseum. It took me a year worth of running in Central Park to take it (and an additional ten pounds, thank you very much) off. There's just too much good food in this city though - temptations simply run amok 24/7.

Very neat blog, BTW.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Mel heth- I have to say, this was my personal experience, but I do have some VERY good friends who I know outside of l.a. who grew up there who are some of the best people I know. And I don't thinkg that EVERYONE has the experience I had, just like not everyone enjoys NYC as much as I do...we all go through different things. I do think being FROM la would make YOUR experience worlds different from mine as well, I moved there away from family who I'm very close with and I was working in the entertainment industry....I loved L.A. the food and the city, the beach and hiking and relaxing and what not, unfortunately I didn't like the PEOPLE I was interacting with in my circles...or the cirlces I encourntered mostly...

Ashley said...

I am so glad you are so happy.

This post was so motivating for me, and my favorite line, "the only way to start living IN your life is by, doing it"

So perfect...so true.
Thanks for this! :-)

WendyB said...

I'm glad you're loving New York! For gyms, I suggest finding one REALLY close to home and going before or after work so you don't have to lug stuff around.

A Wanderer's Heart said...

I'm glad that you aren't homeless!

And if you live somewhere where there is weather... winter is for eating and padding. Spring will come soon enough and you'll probably find a burgeoning motivation to become more lively as it progresses.

At least that's what I'm counting on. Don't burst my bubble if you know I've got it wrong. ;)

Nico said...

@Mel Heth (and subsequently, Chelsea herself): These are both good points; you do need to fall into the right crowd to enjoy yourself in the hedonistic sense - and as someone who also grew up in the weird world that is Los Angeles, I have to support the idea that the entertainment industry and a lot of the people who work in it are all about fa├žades. This is why I never worked in the entertainment industry as one of the figureheads in front. I always hung out in the background behind the scenes, with the people who made things work and weren't concerned about how the camera would add 10 pounds.

Gym people are definitely a different species out here, though. I don't quite get them.

Chelsea: You're a writer now? How'd you land that gig? Is this a story for another time?

Jill said...

I know exactly what you mean when you talk about searching for fancy instead of living it. Sometimes I get caught up in trying to have all these 'fun' times set up, instead of just having fun with what I'm doing in my daily life. Loved this post.

Mel Heth said...

Thanks for replying, Chelsea - I can completely understand how it could be hard to live here - especially in certain parts of the city. Just wanted to make sure all your readers knew there were a few down to earth natives in the area. :) And that it's possible to live a gym-free life of leisure here.

Valerie said...

I think this warrants a YOU GO GIRL!

I STILL have a problem not feeling guilty when I actually attempt to ENJOY myself. This includes bread, dessert, and alcohol.

Buffy said...

I very rarely read long posts on new-to-me blogs....but this one was great. Really hit home. And I was just reading about Duffy in UK Glamour.

Will have to check her out - I rarely ever listen to music. I mean, I listen, but I never 'hear' because my mind is off in a thousand different directions.

Here's dessert two times a day!

Lizzie M said...

There is a happy place (happy medium!) between NY and LA, and it's called CO :) I know you know this!

Good luck with the age old debate of "to gym or not to gym." If you do decide you want to try to hit the gym in a healthful, non-obsessive way, the SELF Challenge has worked for me for over a year now: http://www.self.com/challenge/welcome

It's more a way of life than a diet. I do think it's okay to still splurge now and then, though (hello beer and ice cream last night!).

And now I see I'm the second person to recommend the Challenge :)

Jessica said...

Great post. Never have done the LA life, but my jiggly butt misses NYC. At least I walked a ton there! I can see the difference though, and it sounds like NY might be a bit healthier to you in the long run maybe. You'll settle in to your spot. :) Thanks for the post......

Larissa said...

Six flights? That's a really great workout!

Yay for the new place!

Aisha said...

awesome post.
I work out daily (ok, almost daily) and also went to a nutritionist who made an eating plan for me, which is pretty easy to keep. I've gained a lot of weight in the last year (first year of college, i guess too much freedom to buy yummy junk food whenever i am at the university). Dah, I'm not doing that again, loosing weight is costing me a lot.

Ha.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

I defintiely have to check out this self.com thing....FUN FUN thanks guys!

it's not a gravy train said...

This is AWESOME. I am a california Gym rat and also a crazy foody, but the more i work out the less I enjoy the incredible restaurants I eat at rather frequently. I need to look over my priorities again.

Mood Indigo said...

from what little I've read of your thoughts and meanderings - I don't see you ever being that far from "living," no matter where you are. I got stuck in similar mechanics in Orange County - but once you make the move, take the steps - you realize you'll recognize when the living stops and the motions begin - and so you take a small step back, assess, and make the changes you need to feel present once again. You appear to be kicking royal ass on that front right now - Maya Angelou would be so proud :)

 
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