Sunday, February 3, 2013

My weight loss story

Well it's a new year and the gym is crowded! I remember last year, being annoyed with all the newcomers to the gym.  Feeling miffed when I couldn't find an open treadmill or the weights I needed. But I feel like this year, I'm seeing things differently.  Each time I see a new person at the gym (yes, I know the new from the regulars) I want to congratulate them. I want to encourage them. I want to show them the benefits of not just making a resolution, but sticking to it!

A year and a half ago, I came home from work and told the husband that I needed to join the gym. I spent most of my day either sitting in my car or at my desk and I was having back pain.  I knew I was out of shape and over weight and I thought that perhaps if I could fix those problems then some of my pain and discomfort would go away.

That afternoon we went to the gym and both got memberships.  We started out going together. I would do 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer (usually at level 1, while watching an episode of The Office) and then I'd be done.  After about a month I decided to try a class. My first class was a step class. I still remember it.  It was a Saturday morning and we were doing double step. The class was packed and I shared my two steps with another woman. I was totally out of my league but it was the most fun I had had in a long time. I knew I'd be coming back!  After step, I tried a body works class (an hour-long class that uses low weights and high reps). It was taught by the same instructor who taught the step class I had been to. She mentioned at the beginning of the class that she had a Facebook page and that she was going to be starting a "take the weight off challenge" for anyone who was interested.  All I could think was, "sign me up"!!!

Over the next few weeks, Kelly taught me how to count calories and how to balance what I put in my body with what my body expelled as energy.  She had me start a food journal to document every calorie I put in and every calorie I worked out. I attended her classes religiously and she worked us HARD! And yet, I still didn't loose any weight. In fact, I GAINED a few pounds! I was beyond frustrated and ready to throw in the towel.  But Kelly spoke words of encouragement to me and kept me on track.

Eventually Kelly took me out onto the weight floor and introduced me to a free weights program.  She showed me several different exercises to do for each muscle group (shoulders, chest, back, biceps, triceps, and legs) and for a few weeks she guided me through these workouts. It was so helpful to have someone to workout with.  Where before I was shy and timid about venturing out onto the weight floor (with, let's face it, all those beefy guys!!), now I felt confident. I actually felt like I knew what I was doing!

And then the weight started to come off. As I built up lean muscle, my body was suddenly better equipped to burn off the fat.  I started to see (and feel!) muscles I didn't even know were there. Before I knew it I was lifting heavier weights and trying out new exercises. I felt AMAZING!!!

I continued this way for almost a year. Yes. The weight didn't come off in a month. I didn't loose 10 pounds in 2 weeks. It came off slowly, but it came off for good! This wasn't a crash diet with quick results. This was a lifestyle change.

Then, back in August, I read an article about Clean Eating.  I thought I would give it a try and see how it would change the way we ate. I wasn't going into this with any expectations other than to try to improve the way we ate.  You can see my original post about clean eating here.

Since then I've been putting less processed food in my body, and more clean, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.  And the great thing is that I no longer have to count calories! I know that what I'm putting in my body is good for me. Yes, I might eat a meal that is high in fat every now and then. But because of all the hard work I put in, my body is equipped to handle it.  And there are so many foods that used to be common to my diet that I literally can't eat anymore (that's a good thing)!

I couldn't be happier about the changes I've made to my body and my life.  I look and feel better than I have since high school.  I feel like I'm setting a good example for my children.  I feel sexy for my husband. These are all things that I didn't even know were missing! I've made a lifestyle change and know that the habits I've formed will stick with me for the rest of my life. THAT feels good!

And now, all I want to do is to pass the knowledge I've gained on to others.  I would like to eventually become certified as a personal trainer and perhaps even get a degree in nutrition.  I want to open peoples eyes to what they are putting in their bodies and prove to them that they can do things they never thought possible...just like I did!

The before picture here is from May of 2011, about a month before I decided it was time for a change!
The after shot if from April of 2012, right before I ran my first Warrior Dash!