Monday, September 28, 2009

Stalked by Jillian Michaels

I found this message in my email this morning.

From: Losing It With Jillian Michaels
To: Me

Date: Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 5:36 AM
Subject: Don't Get Frustrated With Your Scale

What the Scale Is Not Telling You
It happens all the time. You've stayed on top of your workouts AND watched your diet every day, but then — Bam! — you hit that dreaded weight-loss plateau and can't get the scale to budge. Instead of getting angry at what the scale is saying, take a minute to think about what the scale is NOT telling you — like what a strong and healthy individual you're becoming. Do you have more endurance? Have you lost inches from your waist? Do you look better in your clothes? Don't be a slave to the scale. Weigh in only once a week, and the rest of the time just take note of the difference in how you're feeling.

Woah. Yes, ma'am.
Although I think forcing myself to stay off the scale for a whole week is a little too hard, I am going to make a conscious effort to weigh just once a day. I'm writing the number in my food journal so I can see it all day to remind myself that I've already stepped on the scale and don't need to do it again.
Thanks for all the encouragement and kind words. My support system is the greatest!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Alweighs on my Mind

I have a problem.

There, I said it. It’s the first step to dealing with it, right?

I am addicted to my scale.

I know that I shouldn’t really weigh myself more than once a week. I know that weighing myself every day is not a good idea. I know that body weight can fluctuate as much as 10 pounds in a single day…I’ve seen it happen.

It’s not just every day, though. It’s every morning. Every night. Before meals. After meals. Before and after working out. Before and after showers. Every time it’s in my sight, I have to step on it. Just to “see.”

I thought it wasn’t a big deal. It couldn’t be a problem because wasn’t making different choices based on the number on the scale. I was just curious.

But it’s become a big deal. It’s become a problem. Do I want seconds? Let me check the scale, first. The number haunts me during my workout, pushing me, taunting me. It can build me up and tear me down several times in a matter of hours. It’s exhausting.

It hit me last week that something has to change. I talked to the Hubster about it and asked if I could hide the bathroom scale and he could use one at the Y for a while. (I could use one at the Y, too, but I don’t like to get on the scale in front of other people—it’s the same reason I won’t use the one at my office, with or without someone standing guard for me.) He agreed, but I still couldn’t bring myself to put it away.

After my Weight Watchers meeting last Sunday morning, I decided I was ready. I’ve been doing very well with my weight loss lately—I’ve lost 9 pounds in the past 3 weeks, bringing my total to 33.8 pounds and I am feeling great. I am SO over the plateau.

So I stashed away my scale and I haven’t weighed myself in a week.

It’s a tough habit to kick. I can’t say how many times I’ve walked into the bathroom, looking for a scale that’s not there anymore. I’ve even eyed the scale at the office and the one on the fitness floor at the Y. It’s killing me. This week, I did a little rearranging in my bathroom, and the scale “just happened” to find its way out of hiding. I did not step on, although I tried really hard to convince myself that no one would ever know since I was home alone. I’ve stood in front of the scale several times, actually, trying to cut deals with myself. Last night, I was in the locker room by myself, eyeing the scale there. I didn’t do it, though.

I decided to wait until my meeting and learn my fate. I figure, if I gain, then I need to step it up and get a better handle on my eating, etcetera. If I lose, then I need to chill out and quit freaking out about weighing myself every two seconds.

Of course, my plan has flaws. Since I haven’t been weighing, I’ve been killing myself with exercise, spending a grand total of eleven hours working out, including Turbo Kicking four times, a three mile Memory Walk for the Alzheimer’s association, and two and a half solid hours of exercise at the Group X Fitness Jam last night. For the most part, I made pretty smart food choices. I did have more than my fair share of tacos….and a woman at my office broke out the candy corn last week. I’ve learned that it’s easier for me to just say NO and not allow myself any than to try to have a little bit. If I have none, I’m okay. But if I have some…I want more. Because I don’t want a little bit. I want the whole damn bag.

When I got up this morning, I eyed the scale, dying to know the number that awaited me. I knew, though, that there was nothing I could do to change it, so I may as well suck it up, head to my meeting, and find out the official number there. I lost…6/10ths of a pound. I won’t lie. I was disappointed. I’m really close to 35 pounds and I was hoping I would see it this week. It took me forever—yes, literally forever—to reach 30 pounds, I know I shouldn’t be chomping at the bit to see 35, but I am. I’m also ready to see 40, 50, 60+ pounds lost.

There have been plenty of non-scale victories. Smaller clothes, compliments, more energy, higher self esteem…the list goes on. It’s harder to appreciate those things, though, when the number is still so high. If I was struggling to lose my last five, ten, or even twenty pounds, I would feel better about the sluggish pace at which I’ve been losing. But, people, I still have at least another 65 pounds to lose. I’m not even halfway there. It’s frustrating.

During the Memory Walk yesterday, I was discussing weight loss with one of my teammates and I told her I wanted to lose about 100 pounds.
She laughed, “You don’t need to lose a hundred pounds!”
I smiled and told her, “Not anymore.”

I know that I’m on my way. I know that I can do it. (Do I sound convincing enough?) I’m suddenly feeling awful about myself. I was making dinner tonight and the Fat Lady inside of me was screaming at me to use more cheese. (I didn’t, although I did indulge in 6 ounces of delicious ice cream later.)

So, what have I decided about my little scale experiment? Like everything else, the scale is okay for me in moderation. I will allow myself to weigh in just once a day, not every time I think about it. I put a new shelf in my bathroom this week, so I think I will put a notebook there so I can keep track of how I’m doing.

34.4 pounds gone. While I’m secretly hoping for a 5.6 pound weight loss next Sunday so I can jump right to 40 pounds lost, I would be happy losing another .6 to get me to 35. At least it’s something.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Success Stories

Our YMCA has a bulletin board by the front desk, highlighting members. Recently, they've changed it to showcase members who have found success with the Group Fitness classes offered. This month, the Hubster and I were asked to write something for the board, along with another woman from our Turbo Kick class. It's exciting for me to be considered a success story and I wanted to share what we wrote.

My husband and I joined the YMCA in March of 2008. Both of us were overweight and out of shape; something needed to change. We picked the Y because there are so many different things to do and it is so family friendly. We were excited about all the different machines, a welcome sight after using our apartment building’s pitiful excuse for a workout room for almost two years. (An elliptical, a treadmill, and a big, scary weight setup.)

For three months, we barely made our minimum visit requirement to continue getting the discount through our insurance company. We came, walked the track a couple of times, looked around, maybe swam a bit with the kids…but we weren’t doing anything…and nothing was changing.

Last July, while leaving the Y after our daughter’s swim lesson, we ran into friends of ours who invited us to come to Turbo Kick. I laughed, thinking she was kidding. “We’re not exactly in the same shape,” I told her. She said it would be fun.

Fun? I had my doubts. I looked for excuses. But I went anyway, scared out of my mind.

Within minutes (or was it seconds?) I was huffing and puffing and bright red, too embarrassed to leave my position and grab a much needed gulp of water. I still don’t know how I ever made it through that first class. J was just as beat as I was afterwards. He said he would like to do it again, though.

And so we went back. Again, and again.

I never thought I would be one of those gym people who schedules her life around exercise classes. I’ll never forget that first class. The first time we Turbo Kicked twice in one week. Three times in one week. My first Body Pump. The first Turbo/Pump “Double Header.” I couldn’t get enough. No more excuses. That first night opened the door to Group Fitness classes for me. I scoured the schedule with a highlighter, marking classes I wanted to try. Body Step, Body Flow, Fitness Yoga, Mat Pilates…later, Body Pump, Zumba, Hip Hop Hustle, PiYo. I’ve tried (almost) all of them. I love (almost) all of them! I have hundreds of dollars in workout videos at home on a shelf, but I’ve discovered I need someone I can’t fast forward through standing in front of me for an hour, telling me what to do, encouraging, pushing. Telling me I can do it. (Because now I know I CAN!)

I think it’s great the instructors offer options for different skill levels. I admit, though, that I found myself staying on the easier side of things for a long time. One night in Turbo Kick, Jennie told the class, “If you’re new, do this,” demonstrating the lower impact move I was working. “Hey,” I thought, “I’m not new anymore.” It was an epiphany and all that I needed to step things up.

This is not the first time I’ve tried to lose weight. In 2003, I tried a new diet plan and did walking videos in my living room. I lost 50 pounds in six months…I actually weighed 30 pounds less than I weigh now. I went off the diet, gained all of my weight back, plus an extra 25 pounds or so. I was miserable.

I didn’t take a serious “before” picture because I didn’t think there would really be an “after.” This time, I’m doing it for good, though. I’m eating right and moving more than I’ve ever moved in my life. I don’t get winded walking up stairs anymore. I’m wearing clothes that I couldn’t wear even when I weighed less. The scale isn’t moving so quickly these days, but I am okay with that for the most part—a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat, but it sure looks different! In the year since we’ve started Group Fitness classes at the Y, I’ve lost 30 pounds and more than 14 inches. I feel incredible. And while this is more of an “In progress” picture than an “After” one, I definitely consider myself a success story!

~The Hubster~
The Group Fitness classes at the Y have helped me on many levels. First, they have given my fitness plan a sense of direction. Before doing classes like Turbo Kick and Body Pump, my fitness plan was nonexistent. I would come and ride the bike or lift weights or run on the treadmill. But I had no real sense of direction, no end purpose or goals.

After doing my first Turbo Kick class, I was definitely hooked. Even though I was making a lot of mistakes, I was having a good time. Then I ventured into Body Pump. I had done some power lifting in high school, so I had the basic idea of what I was doing there. It was just a matter of regaining proper form and getting my strength back.

Which leads me into another thing that the Group Fitness classes have done for me; they taught me that I have the capacity to learn new things. They may not sink in right away, but I’ll get it over time. What I really appreciate is that the instructors take time to make sure that you are doing things the right way. They do it even if it means taking time after class to answer your questions and walk you through things so you understand them.

The one side benefit of the group classes is the camaraderie. Even though you are all in class working and sweating your way to a new you, there are really cool people there to encourage you. Both my wife and I have made many new friends since joining the classes.

If you would’ve told me a year ago that I’d be leaner, stronger, more confident and in the best shape I’ve been in since college, I probably would’ve laughed. But here I am now, stronger both physically and emotionally. My clothes also fit me a lot better. And yes, I am in the best shape I’ve been in since college, which was about 20 years ago.

In fact, if you would’ve told me a year ago that I would’ve completed a sprint triathlon, chances are that I would’ve questioned your sanity. But guess what? Not only did I complete my first triathlon, I’m looking forward to doing more of them in the future! In fact, I’m actually looking forward to training for the next triathlon season.

The Group Fitness classes have also shown me that a new body doesn’t just happen by snapping my fingers and hoping a genie will come out and grant me a wish for a leaner, stronger body. I actually had to work for it. And so far, the work is paying off. In the last year I have lost close to 20 pounds. I’m not quite where I want to be, but I’m well on my way. And thanks to the guidance of instructors like Jennie, Beth, Julie, and Sarah, I know the direction that will get me there.


Sunday, September 13, 2009


I went to a park this weekend with a girlfriend of mine from high school. We've been chatting on Facebook and we have a standing Biggest Loser Date every Tuesday during the season--FYI, it starts again this Tuesday! We've been meaning to get together, but kids and life often get in the way and we usually end up just talking about how we should get together. (I'm not the only one who does this, am I?) She sent me a message on Friday, wanting to know what we were doing this weekend. I had a million plans and wasn't thrilled at the idea of trying to cram in even one extra thing.

Saturday morning, we hit the Y for Turbo Kick and Body Pump--it's my favorite way to start the weekend! Came home and made my Gramma's dip for a party that night and started reviewing exactly what I needed to do that day. I didn't feel like doing any of it, though, so I picked up the phone and called my Biggest Loser Date, asking if she was still in town, and if she still wanted to get together.

An hour later, we met up at a park. (It was just that easy! Why on earth didn't we do it sooner???) We had a great time chatting and catching up on the last ten years while the kids played. Before we left, I handed Big Sister my camera to take a picture of the two of us. She got a pretty good one, along with a few not-so-good ones...and she somehow snapped this completely random picture of, what else? The back of my arm.

I was surprised to see it, but even more shocked when I compared it to another picture of the back of my arm. So, it's not perfect. I'm not winning any contests. But it's something. And it thrills me.

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