A Fresh Start

Sometimes I can be a bit impulsive. I often act without considering all of the options. Something will sound like a great idea or like it will be a great amount of fun and the next thing I know I’ve signed up, paid a boat-load of money and now I’m off to farm goats or some such thing. 

Well, ok, not actually goat farming. More often than not it has something to do with either travel, purchasing something large like a car or a house, or starting a new exercise or diet program. Most frequently it is the newest fitness gadget, piece of exercise equipment, diet or training program.

You see, I’ve been obsessed with my weight for about as long as I can remember. Many people who find themselves in my physical condition as an adult also struggled with their weight as a child. I did not. My childhood was filled with lots of activity. I was an average to skinny kid who was great at sports and loved playing outside.

The first time I remember being concerned with my weight at all was one summer in high school—I was probably a sophomore. It wasn’t the great, all-consuming issue that it is for me now. I simply remember that my friend, Stacy, and I ran every morning before work. This was partially due to the fact that we didn’t want to get fat. And when I say “partially” I mean that in the “we may have mentioned it in passing once or twice as a bonus we might achieve by running” way. Our main objective was to stay in shape so that we wouldn’t die with two-a-day practice for volleyball rolled around mid-August.

I did notice that when I was in an off-season with the sports I participated in that I couldn’t eat like I did when I was in training, but it simply didn’t consume a very large part of my thoughts. Not like it does now. On my senior trip I remember standing outside with one of my guy-friends. He was being a bit of an ass-hat and made some comment about my Buddha-belly. That was the first time I ever thought of myself as fat. Certainly if someone else was noticing it and feeling the need to comment about it then there must be something to it, right? Well….that was my first mistake….believing that someone else’s opinion was that important.
That comment didn’t linger with me too long and I was off to college in the fall. I loved that first year away from home. I had a great roommate and we spent a lot of our free time running, playing tennis, riding our bikes and being very active.

The following fall I moved to a new city and started a full-time job. I lived by myself in a part of town that I doubt many would consider safe. Going outside to run, ride my bike or even take a walk left me feeling uneasy about my safety. Getting used to working a full-time job was difficult as well. I didn’t have many outlets for making friends and I got depressed. Within 18 months I found myself clinically depressed and weighing somewhere near 220 pounds—almost 90 pounds heavier than the 135 that had been my norm up to that point.

Luckily I had great parents who also noticed that things were spinning out of control for me and encouraged me to move closer to them. Within a year of moving I had lost 60 of those 90 pounds, joined a gym, had great roommates, worked at a place that I loved (and still do 25 years later) and figured that I had slain the awful dragon of obesity once and for all.

Unfortunately, as it happens for many people, the pressure of working a lot, and dealing with unrealized hopes and dreams found me slowing putting weight back on. It happened gradually at first and before I knew it I had gained that 90 pounds and another 110—yes, at my heaviest I weighed 335 pounds.

Over the past eight years I have attempted to lose the weight, get fit, and improve my health. At one point I had lost 88 pounds and was working out regularly. If you read earlier posts in this blog you will read that I had some things happen with my health that totally stalled and then reversed my weight loss. I found myself struggling with extreme adrenal fatigue and an inability to do much physical activity without being in a lot of pain. I also believe that I struggled for many of those year with depression that led me to make very unwise choices with the food that I eat. I kept trying different things but gradually got to the point where I didn’t go to the gym very often, if at all. I’ve tried to do some home workout programs and while I find that I like the program, I miss the people. I really do best when I workout in a group situation and have people around to support me and who I can support in our combined efforts to challenge our bodies to live up to their potential

You may be wondering what it is that makes me think that I will ever be able to change things now. Why do I keep trying? I have to confess that I wonder that myself frequently. But somewhere—deep inside—I know that I am meant for more.
I made a decision—rather spur of the moment as I am often apt to do—to join yet another weight loss challenge. When I walked through those doors last Friday night for our orientation meeting a peace swept over me. This is my home, I thought. These are my people. This is the situation in which I feel comfortable and alive.

The next three months will be very trying for me, but they will also be very exciting. I know that if I take this opportunity and use it like I know I should I will absolutely FIND MY INNER ATHLETE. I will be a good steward of this body God blessed me with. And I will be able to help others who find themselves where I am now to know that they don’t have to settle for less.
What I’m doing: FreeMotion Fitness Testimonial Program

What that means:
• Group workouts MWF at 6 am
• Ocean Yoga T at 6 p.m
• Frequent educational seminars
• Drop-in classes
• Keeping track of attendance via a point system (points winner wins an incline treadmill)
• Rather than following one specific meal plan and reporting either I did it 100% or not at all, we are allowed to choose 5 healthy nutritional habits we need to work on and we receive a point for each of the 5 that we do. Mine are:
     o 6-8 hours of sleep each night
     o Drink ½ of my body weight in ounces of water each day
     o Eat a balance breakfast every day
     o Eat at least three meals per day
     o Eat at least four servings of vegetables per day

Believe me—until I started reporting on these things I thought that my habits weren’t all that bad. I’m having a hard time doing these things.

My goal isn’t perfection. I’ve been too hung up in the past on doing things perfectly or not at all. My goal is to make progress. Daily progress. Even if I’m turning in a 2 out of 5 right now on my nutritional goals, I can make progress. I can do better today than I did yesterday.

One of my own personal goals is to post here at least twice a week about the workouts and the food and the education seminars as a means of keeping me accountable.

This morning I missed my workout. I set the alarm for 5 am and woke up to the tune of 4 alarms at 7:15. Yes. 7:15. Class was already over.

Tomorrow we have an educational seminar that sounds like it will be right in my wheelhouse. Then I leave on Friday for a week in Oregon with the chicks. I’m excited to take some workouts with me to do there. I’ll hopefully have time during that week to write some more.

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