Thursday, June 21, 2007

Working Out Gives Me Hives

I have a treadmill in my bedroom. The only daily use it gets is when my kitten sharpens his claws on the belt. A couple of weeks ago, though, I was foolish enough to stand on my bathroom scale as I waited for the shower to warm up. Never, ever do that! I had been content to notice that my pants were getting tighter without registering anything other than, "Hmm, must be time to go shopping online!" Once the absurd number flashed up at me in red digits I was no longer able to deny that I am getting...well, more Rubenesque, shall we say?

As a general rule, I am opposed to curbing my eating habits. I love to cook and I love to eat my husband's fabulous cooking and chocolate is a staple in my diet like tortillas in Mexico, so I decided to get back on the treadmill. The only problem, I remembered 10 minutes into my exercise routine, is that I find working out excruciatingly BO-RING! No TV in my room. No CD player. Just me and those other red digits ticking away s l o w l y. I did manage to make it through 30 minutes, encouraging myself by visualizing the lines my favorite underwear have begun to carve into my flesh as I expand.

Another plan would have to present itself, though, because this vision cannot sustain me for long. Today, I came up with the brilliant idea to multitask. I adore multitasking, especially when it entails doing two things I'm not especially excited about simultaneously. I borrowed my eldest daughter's CD player and popped in a 'Living Language Spanish Series' disc. I really want to know Spanish. I just don't want to have to learn it. I also really want to be in shape, healthy, not at risk for a heart attack or high blood pressure. I just don't want to have to stop eating chocolate or pasta or bread or drinking wine to do it. Viola! Listening to the CD and repeating the inane sentences after Maria (what else would her name be, after all? Ursula?) distracted me just enough to not notice the time literally flying by. I was so inspired that I even raised the incline and sped up a bit and at the end of 30 minutes I was dripping with sweat.

I have dieted (hate that word) enough in my life to realize that the first several pounds I will lose will be what is known as 'water weight.' I'm okay with that. In fact, if I can sweat like a pig while learning to say, "yo necesito ir al heladeria" a few times a week, I'm all for it. Purge the sweat, er, 'water'!

Unfortunately, within minutes after disembarking from the evil machine of doom I was reminded of something unpleasant: working out gives me hives. No, really. That's not just some lame excuse to avoid exercise altogether - it's actually true. Despite standing in a cool shower for ten minutes and dressing in a tank top and shorts, I found myself blooming. The most obnoxious one sprouted at the base of my neck so that I had to contort my arms to reach it and scratch. Another presented on my upper lip - still more behind my knees and on my lower back. Flapping my still-wet hair and spraying droplets of water on them made no impression.

I cannot sit in a sauna. I do not enjoy lounging in a hot tub. No matter how cold it is outside, taking a long, hot shower is not for me. Heat = itchy, mosquito-bite-like bumps that stay for hours on my skin. This is why I like Pilates and yoga and going for walks outside with my dog. Ben & Jerry's Caramel Sutra does not give me hives. I don't itch when I eat Belgian chocolate. Red wine = no scratching.

WebMD provides all sorts of helpful information on hives, also known as urticaria. Descriptions, possible causes, and treatments. I then went searching for photos to post and realized what a wimp I am. I may get hives from overheating, but I have never experienced anything like the poor people in these photos.

So, I'll go on with my Spanish lesson workouts and suffer the hives afterward as a kind of martyrdom. I suppose I can always use the pint of Ben & Jerry's to help me cool down...


grammer said...

Kari, really fun writing -- "chocolate is a staple in my diet like tortillas in Mexico" -- and what a great solution you found with the Spanish tapes! Buena suerte!! xo t

Deb said...

Wow, hives as a way to not sweat. Way to go! Thanks for the laugh, and the universally apt description of creeping pounds.

Jerri said...

No matter what the question, Ben and Jerry's is the answer. Except when it comes to annoying underwear canyons.

You go, girl. Yo lo tengo. . .I'm out.

Scott from Oregon said...

What a brilliant idea!

Do the mill and learn a new language on tapes!

I got to get me some of that Ben and Jerry's!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for me...

Kim said...

I love your multi-tasking abilities! Seriously, you could teach a class on how to get the most things done in the least amount of time. (You and Carrie could teach it together.)

As a long-time hives sufferer (but nothing like those photos!): I would try hopping in the shower immediately after your workout, in case washing off the sweat can mitigate the hives. Also, I think that if you make this a regular habit, your body may adjust and they'll taper off.

Buena suerte!

Sarah said...

Of course we could all just say screw underwear, buy shares in B&J and prance about in our mumus! Hives are a prickly pain, I suggest I-Poding the spanish and taking that Crazy Boy for longer walks (I'll watch the children!) BTW Can't say I'd noticed the creeping Rubenesque-ness!
I love you any which way!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I did manage to make it through 30 minutes, encouraging myself by visualizing the lines my favorite underwear have begun to carve into my flesh as I expand.

LOVE that!

Coffee Heath Bar Crunch - BTS!!!!

sophie said...

I also get hives from working out. IT SUCKS, but taking an antihistimine before you plan on working out normally does the trick. good luck and i hope that helps! btw a great way to no get bored while working out is to switch it up with some workout dvds, Shape Magazine has this one called total bikini body and it is AMAZING, after i did it the first time i couldnt feel my butt for a week. Thanks for a good laugh!

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