...because I hate women who talk about nothing but diet and exercise. But here goes.
Last winter I bought the Callanetics exercise DVD (it is a copy of the 1986 videotape) after I read positive reviews of it online. I also read the Callanetics book, first from the library and later from a thriftstore-purchased copy. I tried the exercises, and I could do the warm-up and stretches fine and the pelvic and the standing leg exercises without too much difficulty, but the abdomen and the hip exercises were another story. The abdomen ones were even harder than ordinary crunches. The hip exercises were hard to understand and when I got in position to try them, I found myself looking down at my leg, unable to move it at all. I tried the tape a few times, and just kept finding myself staring down at my immovable leg. Until the last time, when I found if I leaned over more than was really right I could just get my leg up and move it, barely. But by that time I was frustrated with the whole thing and gave it up as too difficult for me. (To be fair, I was also entering yet another off phase in my twenty years-long on again/off again relationship to exercise, and everything else got dumped too.)
Fast forward to last week and the beginnings of my annual pre-birthday insanity (an Auntie Suzanne tradition since the age of twelve.) I decided to start my short routine of upper body strength exercises again on MWF, but I need something for TTS. Why not try Callanetics again--when it doesn't work out I can go on to something else.
Since I'd figured out how to lift my leg, I managed to get through the tape--sort of. A day after my first session I was passing the mirror and thought, "something looks different--aah, just my imagination" and kept walking. After the second session, I thought my hips looked smaller, but of course that was impossible, so I told myself I must be imagining it. Still they do look a bit smaller... Immediately after my third session I looked in the mirror, and they were smaller. It seemed unbelievable, but I was sure I wasn't imagining it.
So then I thought, well why not prove it, get the measuring tape; I'd measured myself for a skirt last week, so I had a day or two pre-Callanetics measurement. I put the tape around my hips and it read two inches smaller than last week. I stared in disbelief for a moment. That is utterly impossible, I thought. I must be doing something different, I'm standing funny or holding the tape wrong or unconsciously sucking in or something. I adjusted the tape slightly, slumped slightly, and blew out to make extra sure I wasn't holding in and re-measured. The tape moved a little. It now read almost two inches smaller. Which is still very hard to believe.
The idea that any exercise program could take more than an inch off your hips in only three sessions is amazing. And I can't even do the whole routine! My abdomen is too weak to even think about doing the full number of reps on any of the belly exercises, and although I can do the hip exercises now, I'm not doing them perfectly or doing the full count. So it's doubly amazing.
The Callanetics book and video slogan was "ten years younger in ten hours". That's a pretty silly claim of course, but maybe after I've done ten sessions I'll post again about what it can do in ten hours. (For the record, it doesn't actually take a full hour to do a session.)