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Thursday, May 6, 2010

How I got here

On Tuesday, I snuck this into my post about The Biggest Loser:

A quick sidebar: I had a similar "new reality" experience last weekend. Usually, when I shop I go straight to the plus-size department and choose from the limited selection offered there. But last weekend at Macy's, I shopped in the "regular" departments. While it was exciting, it was also overwhelming. Still, I'll take the size 14s I bought on Saturday over the size 20s I was busting out of last September any day.

My friend Liz left this comment:

AND AMY!!! SIZE 14!!! WOOT! I think that deserves more than just some little mention in the middle of a blog post about Biggest Loser!! Time for a before and after pic!! Brag on yourself, sister! Talk about what you are doing and the changes you are making! You can seriously inspire others!

I've been thinking about her comment. I am proud of what I've done. And if you missed the recent before/after pics, click here. But I am also cautious.

I've been down this weight loss road before. When Robbie was about a year old, I lost about 40 pounds. I don't remember how low my weight got, but obviously, I didn't stay there. This time in addition to making changes in my eating (card-carrying member of Weight Watchers), I've added a consistent exercise effort. I have the Better U challenge to thank for that.

I could post daily menus and exercise tallies. And some people might copy exactly what I've done and be successful. But I've come to understand that, for me at least, success in this endeavor does not start with what I do or do not put in my mouth or how many days a week I hit the gym. For me, success starts in between my ears.

Amazingly, I can't put my finger on exactly what clicked for me. I do know it was a combination of factors. I started Weight Watchers in September and pretty much floundered for the first 3 months, losing only 8 pounds. Enter the Better U challenge.

Three people involved in that really helped get me on the right track. Dr. Nancy Branyas was encouraging in a matter-of-fact way. She told me I had to exercise and encouraged me to start with just 10 minutes a day and build on that.

Then there were Kyle Heerdink and Kara Wagner, two trainers at Lifetime Fitness. Kyle was my weekly trainer. He pushed me and helped me see that I could do more than I thought I could. Who knew that a high five could be such a powerful reward for effort? But Kyle also respected my limitations. He had a great way of knowing when I was saying "I can't" and when I actually couldn't.

I worked with Kara a handful of times throughout the Better U challenge. She helped introduce me to exercise beyond the treadmill. Every time I get on the bike or the elliptical and I know how to push myself, I thank Kara in my head. Because of basic geography -- I live too far away from Lifetime to make it workable in my daily routine -- I joined a different gym. But Lifetime Fitness laid the foundation for me.

A third -- and probably most important -- element to my success has been an attitude change. For some reason, this time, I believe that I am worth the investment of time and effort. In general, I look forward to my workout time as "me" time. Sometimes I work out with other people and I have fun. And if I'm by myself, I enjoy logging on to Pandora Radio and listening to whatever strikes my fancy for the day.

For all of the changes I've made, I'm still cautious. At 30+ pounds lost, I'm less than halfway to my final goal (I'm hoping to hit a total of 80 pounds). The week Mike was in the hospital, I gained 5 pounds! Old habits die hard and I know that I have to be vigilant and not give in to the emotional eating that I fell into during that week. I get discouraged that I can't run outside as well as I can run on the treadmill. But I have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, not look for perfection, and keep on keeping on.

I'm not sure if this post provided any inspiration, or even an inside look into the brain of a fat woman. But it's been good to take some time to look back and see where I've been and how I might have gotten there. Thanks for the prompt, Liz.


Shelley said...

Awesome. Just....awesome. I am so proud of your effort!

And very inspired too. I am sitting here -- SITTING -- and mulling over the fact that you can start exercising for just ten small minutes a day?

I tend to often feel very sorry for myself because of my handicap, which limits how much I can exercise and also what kind of exercise I can do, and I often feel like I'm in my eighties instead of in my forties.

But I think even I could manage to start out with just ten minutes....

Momza said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing your journey! I've had a little success on my South Beach Diet too--this week I bought a skirt in one size smaller and my jeans are falling off of me! I am thrilled to see and feel the difference!
Whatever works, we'll take it, right?!
Have a super happy mother's day!

Mike Magan said...

"I get discouraged that I can't run outside as well as I can run on the treadmill."

I was expecting to see an underline and link under "I can run on the treadmill"

You need to write a blog post about your near-death experiences on treadmills and nordic-tracs you could call it exercise equipent-FAIL!

But seriously, I am proud of you, you are worth it!

Eternal Lizdom said...

First, LOVE the comment from your hubby. Very sweet.

Second- so glad you took the time to reflect and to write about soemthing that is a very important part of your life- YOU. I often hesitate before sharing pictures or writing about my successes and struggles. I have the fear of failure and all that, too. But there are 2 reasons why I keep putting it out there. 1. It keeps me focused and excited about what I'm doing. 2. I know that there are others who are gaining inspiration, even in small ways.

Love this post, Amy!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that, Amy. I am currently really struggling and there were a few things in your post that really struck a chord in me. I appreciate your honesty and I am very proud of you and your accomplishments. You motivate and inspire so many people. You give so much to those you touch in your daily life as well as those online. I wish I was still one of those daily life people, but I will settle for watching through the web, rejoicing in your successes, and continuing to be inspired by you.

Cat said...

Great effort and a great analysis of why it's working... good for you! I'm down 40 with about 40 left to go, and I know how it feels to just want that MORE loss.

Maribeth C. said...

Amy, I think you are incredibly inspiring! Thank you!

Coby said...

Uhm...WOW! Congratulations! I think you hit on something so important -looking at yourself as worth the time and investment, and just putting one foot in front of the other. I had to gain at least 50 pounds with my twins, and lost 60. It was a great feeling, but I think maintaining a healthy weight was challenging because I kind of thought I had "arrived." ;-) But maintaining is just as hard!

I gained 38 pounds with my second pregnancy, and have a few more to go. Seriously, this post was inspiring - thank you for sharing.