Read an Excerpt
The Little Butt & Thighs Workout Book
By Erika Dillman
Warner BooksCopyright © 2005 Erika Dillman
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMY BIG BUTT
I never thought about the size or shape of my butt and thighs until I turned thirty-nine and realized that all of my pants were too tight. I was ten pounds overweight, small patches of rippled skin had mysteriously appeared on my inner thighs, and I had a dimpled ass.
How could this have happened? How could my genes have turned on me in this cruel manner? Why had clothing manufacturers started making such small pants?
My friends had no sympathy for me because I was still on the thin side for my body type, and they thought that I still looked good in my clothes. My doctor was even less concerned. "Buy bigger pants," she said.
Buy bigger pants! What's the point of going on if I can't be a size X, I thought. And what happens when I have to wear shorts or a swimsuit? (I don't mind sharing my actual pants size, but it isn't important; no matter what size or shape we are-we all want to fit into our "thin" pants.)
For the next few months, I complained about my everexpanding butt to everyone I knew, but nobody seemed to care. I'd be waiting in line at the grocery store or watching TV, and I could actually feel my butt getting bigger. Something had to be done.
It's a little embarrassing to admit, but just because I'm a fitness writer and a former athlete doesn't mean my fitness plans don't get sidetracked by injuries, illness, and the chaos of having too much on my plate. And just because I'm on the thin side doesn't mean that I'm immune to cellulite or that it's easy to maintain my weight.
My weight gain was my own fault. After an extended illness, during which I was unable to exercise for several months, I didn't return to my daily routine. I'd started walking two or three times a week, but I hadn't lifted a dumbbell in seven or eight months. My biggest problem: bingeing on crackers, peanuts, and corn chips every night while watching cable TV. I didn't eat much during the day, but I'd eat all night long.
Since my diet was more difficult to change, my first plan of attack was getting my muscles back into shape.
Over three weeks, I gradually increased the number and intensity of my walks until I was walking almost every day for thirty minutes at a brisk pace. (On my low-energy days, I walked slower, but tried to keep moving for forty to forty-five minutes.) I also added three or four lower-body strength training exercises to the middle of my morning yoga routines twice a week. The strengthening exercises really worked my thigh and butt muscles; following them with some yoga stretches helped me improve my flexibility and reduce next-day soreness.
After a month, I could see muscle definition in my thighs. After six to eight weeks, my legs and butt were noticeably firmer, my legs felt stronger and more stable during movement, and my balance had improved.
These changes didn't surprise me; I knew how effective strength training was, and what it felt like to be fit. But I still got a kick out of seeing (and feeling) the results of my training. I was so happy to be active again. My walks cleared my head of stress and worry, leaving me feeling more alert and healthy. The strength training exercises energized me; after each morning workout, I felt stronger, taller, and ready to take on the day.
Increasing my aerobic activity and getting back into regular strength training was fairly easy for me because I enjoy exercising, I know which exercises I need to do, and I love how I feel when I'm fit. Just saying no to all of my high-fat snacks was much more difficult. So I asked for help.
I visited a registered dietitian who gave me a food plan based on my health, activity level, and caloric needs. Instead of eating most of my calories at night, I switched to eating a good breakfast in the morning and several small meals throughout the day. As for the bingeing, I followed the advice of another dietitian I know who promotes the 80/20 principle: I eat healthy foods 80 percent of the time, and I don't beat myself up for succumbing to less healthy foods (or overeating) 20 percent of the time. I've already replaced my high-fat snacks with healthier, low-calorie alternatives like fruit and air-popped popcorn. Most important, I've learned how to readjust my portion sizes to actual serving sizes, which for many foods is only onehalf to one cup.
BACK ON TRACK
Between exercising and eating the correct amount of calories for my body and activity level (not to mention watching less TV), I'm starting to lose those extra pounds I've been carrying and I'm right on track to be a size X again by the time I turn forty!
Excerpted from The Little Butt & Thighs Workout Book by Erika Dillman Copyright © 2005 by Erika Dillman. Excerpted by permission.
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