Sunday, April 25, 2010

On Goals Accomplished

I am pleased as punch to announce that this week I ran a whole mile without stopping in 11 minutes, 54 seconds. I have maybe once in my entire life ever accomplished that feat. I've never been a runner, but now I really think that I want to try it out. I would love to get into half and full marathon training. I've talked about it in the past, and even started the process, but now that I'm on track, I think I could really be successful. I need to find a race to prepare for, one preferably held on a Saturday. If anyone out there knows of one, let me know!

Next on my list of announcements, I am currently four pounds away from my lowest adult weight, which was 218 pounds. I think I was 20 when I weighed that. I am so looking forward to hitting that mark!

On another note, I would like to talk about some of the weird things I eat now, that a year ago I would have never considered edible. Let's make a list, shall we?
-Almond Butter
-Flax Meal
-Whey Protein
I have to say that I find most of the above quite enjoyable, especially the quinoa (suggested to me by my boss at the district). It helps to make my diet interesting. It's fun to try to find new ways to incorporate different foods into my meal plan, especially foods that combine higher levels of protein with carbohydrates.

Physically, I'm feeling pretty well. I went to the endocrinologist this week and she told me that whatever I'm doing, I need to keep it up. She was very pleased with the progress I've been making. I also did measurements with my trainer this week, and he was pretty happy as well. He took a progress picture of me and showed me the picture he took of me when I first started with him in February. It was a big difference! Over all, it was a pretty awesome week I must say. I can't wait to see what the next one holds for me!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

On reaching 60 pounds

I finally did it this week. I hit the 60 pounds down mark! These last ten pounds have really been a struggle to lose, despite remaining ultra-strict with my diet and exercise regimen.

It's been hard for me to get in to the mentality of losing weight at a normal pace. I freely admit that losing the 50 pounds in two months was very aggressive. I know that what I'm doing now is healthier, but it is frustrating to be moving along so slowly. I'll get over it!

On another note, I did the Pat Tillman run this weekend. It was 4.2 miles long, on a mostly flat course. I went with Rich, a guy that works out at my gym. He wasn't able to run, so we walked the whole thing. I probably would have run every other half mile, but it wasn't too bad just walking it. It took us 1hr and 17mins to finish. Not too shabby! Next year, I'm running the whole thing.

On the running note, I knocked 20 seconds off my mile, I'm now down to 12mins, 25secs. I hope to get down to 12 in the VERY near future. I'm almost there. So close!

On Monday, one of my junior high students came up to me, looking perplexed, and said, "Miss Grow, are you getting shorter?" I just laughed and laughed. Junior high kids are so funny. They really don't pay attention to much.

I also cut my hair this week. It is now just below my shoulders. I really like it. That's what probably put me over the 60lb mark! :c)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Never, Never, Never Give Up! And other motivators

I have certainly had my ups and downs over the last three months. I needed to find motivation that wasn't food to keep my resolve up. My first great find was a little green ceramic plaque that says, "Never, Never, Never Give Up!". I hung it right above my bathroom mirror.

My next discovery was dry erase crayons. These I have used to write all over the same bathroom mirror. I keep track of my weekly weigh ins on the medicine cabinet, and on the main mirror I write more inspirational quotes as well as my goals.

Another motivator is kinda cheesy, but I have this favorite nalgene bottle. It's red with green and yellow spots on it. I put a flow controller in the mouth of it that has a smiley face printed on it. When I know I'm going to have a rough day, I use that bottle.

After I won the contest, I became a mini celebrity at the gym. I'm a tour destination when I'm working out as well. Nothing's more motivating than having random people coming up to you, asking about how much weight you've lost, or being pointed out to new gym clients as the "Fitness Challenge Winner who lost 50 pounds". Everyone has big expectations for me, including myself. It's probably one of the most helpful things I've found.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Fitness Challenge and my Jump Start

A couple weeks in to the year, the gym advertised its yearly Fitness Challenge. It would take place over the next two months, and the top male and female contestants from 11 gyms would each win $1000. I remember thinking to myself, "I could totally win that." I signed myself up, bought 8 personal training sessions, and on January 18th, I was off!

The next two months are somewhat of a blur. I began a meal plan suggested by the gym and modified by my doctor. I am allowed 1200 calories over the course of the day, spread out over 5-6 small meals. On initially hearing the parameters of this plan, I am pretty sure that my jaw dropped. I had never stuck with any diet I'd tried, all of which were much less restrictive. I steeled my resolve and decided to perfectly follow it. This plan also allows me one unrestricted day a week, which I think is part of me being successful with it. I also write down everything that goes in my mouth. It helps keep me on the straight and narrow.

Then came my workout regimen. I had already established a strict workout schedule six days a week, no questions or excuses. Because I was at the gym nearly every day, the staff started to take notice. The other trainers, not just my own, began encouraging me and checking up on me.

I am not kidding when I say that the owner of the gym, Jose, actually walked up to me one day after I had been working out and was completely sweaty and gross and gave me a big hug. He said, "I notice what you are doing, and think you are the hardest-working person in my gym. I want to give you a big hug every month to recognize your hard work."

Things got pretty competitive the last three weeks of the challenge. I had started taunting one of the other trainers, telling him that his client (who was my closest competition) had next to no chance of beating me. In reality, I wasn't so certain. I panicked several times over the course of those last couple weeks, sure that all my hard work wouldn't be enough. Sure, I knew that weight loss in itself was a great reward, but I had told myself and everyone else who would listen that I was going to win.

The final weekend was not pretty. I told everyone that I felt like a drunk zombie. I had started 2-a-days two weeks before, and had cut my calories down to heaven knows how little. It's a good thing my family and friends love me, I can't even begin to imagine what they thought of me. I think that the only way I was able to survive was through prayers and the intense understanding of my loved ones.

March 15th was the day of my final weigh in, and people from the gym gathered around, eager to see what my final number would be. I thought I might hit 48 pounds, but when it came up fifty, I pretty much freaked out and shouted for joy.

I found out the results of the challenge on March 18th. Everyone who participated in the challenge gathered at the gym to hear the results for the contest both at the gym and between the other gyms. I was confident that I placed in the top two at my gym, and hoped that I would place with the other gyms. They announced the guys top three first, and I was a nervous wreck. Then they announced third place for the girls, and it wasn't me. Jose took a dramatic pause and announced second place, which ended up being the girl who was my closest competitor. I was elated! Jose then said, "And, there's no first place for the women this year." I shouted, "Come on!" and jumped up and down. He announced me as the winner and I was so happy! People came up and clapped me on the back and hugged me. It was amazing.

Then came the conference call with all the other gyms to get the results of the inter-gym competition. They announced all the teams who lost the most weight, which took forever! I paced and bounced, waiting for the results. Finally, the moment of truth. They announced the women, and announced the winner first. I'm pretty sure that all I heard was Sarah.... and then the gym went completely wild. I jumped up and down (my pants nearly fell off, they were too loose!), people yelled and clapped and hugged. I was completely beside myself. I just kept saying, "I won! I can't believe I won!"

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Beginning of the Middle

This is my first attempt at a blog. I am several months into the life-changing experience of weight loss and switching to a healthy lifestyle. In this inaugural post, I will write about what brought me to this point in my life, and a bit about my accomplishments with my lifestyle change.

The first thing you should know about me, is that I've been chubby and overweight my entire life. My mother was so proud of me the day I was born, a pudgy, wonderfully plump baby. Fast forward several years to elementary school where being plump is no longer cute, but invites teasing and taunting, especially by a kid named Ned, who suffered the same fate as I, but who I now know was trying to deflect attention away from himself and on to me.

Middle school is where I discovered my athletic strength in swimming, although even being on the swim team throughout middle and high school didn't keep my weight down. I always felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb, but I was good for what I was. I eventually became a lifeguard and swim lesson instructor, both occupations that you don't normally associate with someone who is overweight. I am sure people wondered what I was doing, did I have any business protecting people at the pool or teaching them to swim when I couldn't even control my weight? I didn't think of it that often. I knew who and what I was, and just accepted that I was fat, that it was all I'd ever been, and it was too far out of my expertise to change.

I first attempted to lose weight when I was 19, and joined Weight Watchers for the first of many times. I lost in the neighborhood of 30 pounds, but my resolve eventually petered out. That is the pattern I followed time and again, until I eventually weighed nearly 300 pounds when I was 27. It was then that I joined a gym for the first time. I worked out on my own, making up my own workouts, pretty much fumbling around, but stayed pretty consistent. I lost 40 pounds, but life gets in the way as it always does.

In December of 2009, my best friend Whitney bought me a starter membership at Pure Fitness. I didn't have high hopes. Nearly 30 years of experience told me that I was as close to a helpless case as I thought I could be. I was 286 pounds.

This time is different. For some reason, the fates have decided to give me every tool I need to be successful. Perhaps they've been there all along and I wasn't aware, or maybe now is just my time. I feel different this time.

In the past, dieting has felt like holding my breath, like I could only do it for a little bit and then give up, then try again until I couldn't handle it anymore and then give up once more. That mentality isn't happening to me this time.

One reason I think this is is that the gym that I joined is extremely supportive and interested in what I am doing. They start you out at my gym with two free personal training sessions, which was so helpful to me. It gave me a starting point for working out and helped me know what I needed to do. Because of that I have been (mostly) injury free, and have been able to consistently work out six days a week since the first week of January of this year.