How public television made me skinnier

About a month ago, a couple in my Life Group at church got married.

And being me, I wanted a new dress.

So, I went shopping. And that shopping trip was a disaster, even if I did come home with two dresses. I felt fat. I was tired. I looked fat. Even though it appeared every dress was on sale, I couldn’t find one I absolutely loved. Except one which was actually a size smaller than I usually wear—but sometimes, especially when I’m more fit, a size I can wear. So I decided to try it on.

And I could wear it, but it took some effort. And I loved the dress. And they didn’t have it in my actual size.

If I were a few pounds lighter, it would fit perfectly, I thought, breaking the advice Stacy and Clinton would give on TLC’s “What Not to Wear.”

So, I bought it.

And it fit OK, but not great. I wore it once, and stuck it in my closet until I pulled it out to wear today.

And it fit better. Probably still not perfectly, but I seemed a bit slimmer and the dress definitely zipped easier.

Mind you, I haven’t really lost any weight. I know. I’ve weighed lately.

But a few things have changed. I’ve gotten back into running three times a week after my long break after the half marathon. And I’ve been doing an exercise show on public television (NPT here in Nashville) every morning for a few weeks.

Yes, a TV exercise program. On public television.

A coworker first told me about the program several years ago and honestly, I thought she was kind of crazy. It’s called “Classical Stretch,” I mean what could be more boring than that? And really, how do you get a workout from 30 minutes of stretching?

But then I actually tried it. And it was deceptively hard. Hosted by Miranda Esmonde-White, a former ballet dancer, the program is really a combination of scientific stretching, tai-chi, yoga, ballet, and a few other things. Miranda is big on working your feet, which she says few people ever strengthen and advocates working the body in context. So if you work out the calf, then you’re also going to stretch out the shin area. If you work out the bicep muscle, then you also need to stretch the triceps. She says the program is about wellness and health, not necessarily burning calories or losing weight, but like Pilates, it stretches and lengthens your muscles, leading to a slimmer look. It also helps with posture, flexibility, and increased range of motion. It’s been helpful to me since running often leaves my calf muscles in knots. Plus, I’ve neglected flexibility exercises since I started running more, and this definitely helps with that.

I’m a Pilates fan, but I honestly don’t love it enough to do it every day. “Classical Stretch” is something I mostly enjoy doing 5 mornings a week, except when she makes you do those tai chi plies forever.

So even though I thought it was kind of lame in the beginning, I’m a big fan of Miranda and “Classical Stretch” these days.

Especially since her promises that these exercises will streamline your body actually seem to work! (Notice: I didn’t say I’d necessarily lost weight. I haven’t. But I am more toned, flexible, and muscular.)

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