Zumba! Watch Out! Cause I’m Dancing Your Way

Zumba! Watch Out! Cause I’m Dancing Your Way

Remember when it was fun to dance? Do you even remember a time when you didn’t feel the least bit self conscience about “shaking a tail feather,”  letting loose and just having fun?  Me neither. Until I discovered ZUMBA.

 

Recently, I realized that I had Spin class fatigue, and was really tired of it being my only source of recreation.  It was time  to mix this physical fitness thing up a little bit.  As luck would have it, I ran into Melissa Kerpel, one of the Northshore’s most renowned Zumba instructors at the Highland Park Fashion show. I asked her if it was true that a little Jewish woman with absolutely NO RHYTHM, and responsible for a 9 year old girl (i.e. I couldn’t get a sitter) could actually get a great workout if she attended a ZUMBA class.  Melissa insisted that (a) having “white man’s rhythm” (MY WORDS, not hers) was not a good enough excuse to miss out on the fun (b) I could bring my 9 year old with me and (c) the class was about having fun, not following the steps perfectly.  I was convinced.

 

What did I have to lose?  The first class was free and K and I didn’t have any plans.  We decided to give it a try.

 

Tonight K and I put on our dancing shoes, grabbed some water bottles and drove the .2 miles to the child care center by day/Zumba instruction facility by night.  Note: it’s only taken me 3 years to muster up the bravery to go to one of these classes and even now I need to hide behind my child!   Anyway, the first thing that I noticed?  I was one of the youngest women in the room and (thankfully) I knew absolutely no one!  So, I relaxed a bit, did a few warm up stretches and tossed as basketball around with my daughter while we waited for class to start.

 

Once it began, it started with a bang!  I mean literally A BANG! Melissa and another instructor, Kate Wettergren, kicked the dance class off with a combination of Samba/Afrikana music and the class started moving!  Forget my initial impression that ladies older than me couldn’t bust a move!  There were moves busting all over the place!  I could not keep up with the more veteran Zumba dancers.  That room was rocking & hot.  And I can honestly say that the hour FLEW by.

 

It wasn’t always easy to keep up with the class but both instructors were energetic, funny (yes, facial expressions count) and encouraging.  They looked like they were having a great time and as a result, I had a great time too!  By the end of the class I was sweating (that’s a good thing), a bit out of breath and K had not started wandering the halls of her old pre-school out of boredom.  She got in on the dancing too and even, at one point, told me that I was not “thrusting my butt enough!”  Hmm… not sure how I feel about that. I didn’t even worry that someone would see that I was making tons of mistakes.  I don’t think that anyone noticed or cared.  Everyone seemed to be doing their own thing anyway.

 

So will I take another class again?  Absolutely!  It was so liberating to just let loose and dance my heart away without concern that I wasn’t doing the steps properly or following the class perfectly because I was just having fun!  So I encourage you to give this Zumba thing a try.  I promise that it’s not the old aerobics class you remember from the 80’s.  This class is actually a workout masquerading as a PARTY!  And that, in my opinion, is the best kind of workout, don’t you agree?

Photo courtesy of http://www.plumdistrict.com

Binge Eating: Not Just for Women

Binge Eating: Not Just for Women

Binge eating isn’t just a “woman’s” problem: both women and men struggle with emotional issues that can lead them to “stuff” their feelings by grabbing food.  Personally, I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember.  Some people have said, “Well, no wonder you have a hard time staying skinny, you’re a foodie!”  But being a “Foodie” and being “Obese” do not have to be “siblings.”  Yes, it is possible to enjoy food without being overweight or obese.  (Just look at my husband as proof.) But for those of us who turn to food for emotional support, obesity is an eventuality.

My friend, Andrew Walen, a psychologist in MD, was recently featured on the Today Show because of his willingness to share his struggle with food and with weight.  Because I know quite a few people who struggle with this challenge, I  decided to share his segment:

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I am back on track today (Monday) and have started tracking my food and exercise.  Seeing Andrew was a good reminder for me of the things that I must to do combat my emotional eating: like taking a break from the computer and going for a bike ride with my daughter.  And that is what I am about to do right now! 

What do you do to avoid “Emotional Eating?”