Ups and Downs but Mostly Down: 2011 as Fat Lady Becomes Fit Lady

I’ve struggled with my weight and fitness for many years. In fact, for half of my life. Each year as I aged and didn’t achieve my goal, I banked on time.  “I’m still young. There is still time.” Teenage became early twenties, and soon, early twenties became busy career twenties and before I knew it, late twenties bordering (OMG!) THIRTY.

My goals and dreams where off track with my age. I was to have achieved my goals of fitness and love by 28. And then I was 28 and it was as if I was still 15. A lot happened in those years; I bought a house at 28 (personal), I became a manager at work (26),  I adopted a cat (24) and then 2 kittens (27), and I lost 70 lbs (24) and I gained it back (26-30).

But, I’m still unfulfilled because I haven’t conquered my weight and fitness. My progress this year was much slower than I’d like. I lost 22 lbs overall, with a few periods of gaining and having to lose the same few pounds again. I plateaued for several months at a time. At least I’m moving the right direction, but in 2012 I hope to improve my rate of weight loss (within reason!)

And that’s why in December 2011, though jobless (aka no income streaming in) I decided it was time to contact a personal trainer. There are 2 major things that I did this year that will have a lifelong impact: quitting my job and working with a trainer. (You’ll see me write more about this on Tremendous Blondette.)

I knew my life wasn’t moving toward what really mattered to me in life. I was stagnant just like those months of plateau. And then I quit my job and I woke up. I started to feel like me again, whatever that means. But it was true. I was lighter in spirit, though I gave in to unhealthy foods and stopped exercising regularly. I hibernated. And then I was free.

Having lived through major (healthy) weight loss in the past I learned that it takes a lot of mental, emotional, and physical effort to get healthy. Getting out of a situation that made me feel bad was the first step to true transformation. It gave me the courage to work with a trainer. Working with a trainer means you have someone pushing you to your limits – AND BEYOND. You have someone encouraging you, checking up on you, helping you, and believing in you. It’s exactly what I needed.  [I can already do more push-ups (I struggled to do 3 sets of 8 the first day – yesterday I struggled, but I managed 3 sets of 10). ]

What I believe to be true about living a healthy life focused on losing weight (fat) and getting fit:

  • Work cannot consume you. You must be happy in your work. If you are not, it makes everything else that much harder.
  • People should be kind. I’m leaving it there in those 4 words through there are SO many more I could write on that point. People should be kind.
  • You need an outlet. When I lost 70 lbs 6 years ago, I had an online social network of other people doing the same thing and I had a blog (LiveJournal yo!).
  • Competition helps. I was competing with my friend (though she didn’t know it) those 6 years ago and now I’m competing with myself and my own expectations. See also, seeing other people check-in at the gym or post about working out etc.
  • You need to focus on what you are putting in your body and when you’re putting it in. Don’t starve yourself. Have a cookie if you really, really want one. Eat when you are hungry and not when you are ravenous, but eat mindfully. Eat veggies with at least 2 meals per day (that’s what works for me). Eat fruit, but spread it out during the day – fruit is good for you, but you have to be mindful of the properties. I try to eat it with protein or fat when I do eat it and I make sure I don’t eat a fruit heavy breakfast followed by a fruit heavy snack. (It’s what works for ME. Maybe not for you.) Also, all that stuff about eating protein and fiber is true. You poop better too and that’s VERY rewarding.
  • BUT, DON’T EAT WHEN YOU ARE EMOTIONAL. This is the big one for me right now. I’m becoming more and more aware of the fact that I want less healthy food or food that is quick to prepare (processed, Chipotle, Subway, pizza, ice cream) when I am emotional. And this means happy, sad, unsure of my feelings. I have to consciously tell myself I’m not actually hungry for those things and think about my goals and why I’m wanting whatever it is I’m wanting. I find myself frequently en route to acquire one of these things and change my mind at the last minute and head home and eat what I have. It’s healthier for body and my pocketbook.
  • Move. Exercise is just so crucial to feeling fit and good about myself. I can do some killer squats. Remember when I wrote about wanting an ass more like the CrossFit lady? I’m on my way. I don’t think my glutes have ever been in such good shape.
  • I need support. That’s really where the trainer is helping me. I needed someone else on my side, guiding me, letting me know that what I thought I was doing right I was actually doing right, pushing me. I need to know someone else is cheering me on with my goals and believes I can reach them. This is one of the reasons I post check-ins at the gym on Facebook – just seeing people “like” my check-in or comment on my note gives me a little boost. See also, seeing other people check-in at the gym or post about working out etc.
  • Keep your environment tidy. This is hard for me but extremely effective in keeping me balanced. Housework is good for you and doing the dishes takes a lot less time than feeling bad about not doing the dishes. (I like to do them in the morning when the coffee is brewing. I usually finish the dishes before the coffee is done.)
So, 2011 has really been a life changer for me. I spent NYE feeling good about 2011 and hopeful about 2012. It’s never easy, but it’s doable. When I was doing push-ups the other day I told my trainer that I was looking forward to the day they were easy. Her response, “No! They should never be easy. We’ll just find a way to make them hard again.” Right on. RIGHT on.
2011 Weight Tracker graph with notes
My highest tracked weight of the year was 246. My lowest came in December at 224.8 and on January 1, 2012 I hit 223.4.
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