The good news is that I’m thissssssssssssssss close to being down 10 pounds. The bad news is I’ve never worked this hard and waited so long to get results.
At the start of the year, I accepted an invitation to run on a relay team for the Frederick Marathon this May. I figured that was all that I needed to do to lose weight. I started my training not by running or jogging but by literally “lifting both feet” for 15 minutes. By the time I was up to actually jogging a mile three times a week I jumped on the scale only to be completely disappointed.
Rather than giving up, I made an appointment with Eva Rosvold, owner of Fundamental Fitness, to test my resting metabolic rate. I basically sat in a chair and breathed into a tube with my nose plugged up for fifteen minutes while thinking about how poor Eva was going to have to break the news to me that my metabolism is similar to that of a comatose patient.
So when Eva plopped down and very happily announced that my metabolism was in the very high range, I wanted to shoot myself. I thought, WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?! I’m running. I’m sweating. I’m doing more than I’ve ever done before!!!!!
Unless of course, I wasn’t.
I moved to Frederick and gained 26 pounds in three years and then for the next three years although I’ve maintained and not gained I can’t lose it no matter what I try, and trust me, I’ve been trying! So Eva asked about my fitness regimen prior to packing on the pounds.
For two years I lived an urban lifestyle which meant that I walked everywhere and if I did need to drive it was at least a five minute walk to get to my car. Everything I did involved walking with purpose because with 2 kids I was often late or trying to catch a bus or a subway. I walked EVERYWHERE – to the park, the pharmacy, the YMCA, to rent a video, to grab a Starbucks and to go to the doctor. Unless I was going to Target, Whole Foods or dropping my kids off to school, I was getting there by foot. So although I wasn’t jogging and sweating, I was probably logging at least 4-6 miles of walking per day. Therefore, when I moved to the Burbs, overnight, my functional daily movement disappeared.
Eva explained to me that even though I was currently sweating and sucking wind, I was only logging a mile or two of exercise each day. I assumed that turning red in the face meant that I was really working hard. But truth be told, strolling around a city had ensured that I got about triple the movement back then. Basically she told me to get over myself and my 1-mile jog and start moving even more. So I bought a pedometer and began walking or jogging 10,000 steps a day.
So that’s what did it, right?
Even walking/running 5 miles a day wasn’t doing it, but I couldn’t quit out of frustration like I wanted to because I had this damn marathon relay to do. I didn’t want to be able to run five miles and not have anything to show for it, so my relay friends all agreed to give up sugar. With the exception of my morning coffee, and one treat a week, I’m sugar free. If we cheat, we have to pay $10, which keeps me on track because no cookie, M&M, or brownie is worth ten bucks. I’ve slipped up twice, licking icing off my fingers and not reading a label properly so I’m down twenty dollars. It sounds harsh but trust me, when you have to pay $10 for not reading a label, you never make that mistake again.
So did the no-sugar piece of the weight loss pie tip the scales in my favor? Not exactly. I lost a few more pounds but it was nothing to write home about, so me and my sugar-free friends added weight lifting to our regimen. I am now following the Body For Life For Women program which means that I will alternate cardio and lifting 6 days a week for 12 weeks.
So that should do it, right? You would think, but who the hell knows. Although I’ve been lifting willy-nilly for a few weeks now, the BFLW program is an intense 12-week regimen that I officially started on Monday so I’ll post and let you know my progress. However so far – here’s what I know for sure.
- The longer you wait to get in shape, the harder it is. If you are in your 20s or 30s and want to shape up, do it now. No shit. Get off your ass. And by the way, how you look right now is fabulous. If you do nothing, in about 10 years you’ll kill to be at your current weight so shut up and enjoy it. Seriously.
- If you do wait until your 40s or later to lose weight plan on working hard. You need to sweat and lift and no you can’t eat sugar all day long. It just doesn’t work that way.
- Take your measurements, weigh yourself and use your clothes to judge your progress. The scale is not your friend if you are lifting so either buy one that measures body fat percentage as well or only weigh yourself monthly. Take your measurements weekly instead.
- If you’re not fit, exercising sucks. I have come up with EVERY excuse possible to quit this marathon. By having to run it anyway and not wanting to embarrass myself it forced me to keep going. After 3 months I actually started to enjoy working out, so plan on hating it at first and eventually you’ll turn the corner.
- Money is a good motivator. If you have to pay $10 every time you miss a workout or cheat on your diet you’ll think twice before abandoning your program. Pick an amount that will really hurt, not something lame like 25 cents. Of course a cookie is worth a quarter.
- Join forces with people that are already doing what you’re trying to do. This tip is very important. Your friend that has gotten fat with you, doesn’t like to workout and loves any excuse to eat fudge, SHOULD NOT BE YOUR WEIGHT LOSS BUDDY. The second you call her and say, lets eat ice cream instead of running, she’s going to say, “Sounds great, I’ll grab my coat!” Buddy up with the gal that’s been working out for that past five years. She’s the one that will say to you, “Then let’s jog the 3 miles to the ice cream shop and get a small, low-fat frozen yogurt.” My relay race team consists of three other people that have been running for years so I couldn’t quit because they wouldn’t quit. Hell, one even runs injured – how sick is that?
- Be a Scientist. If something doesn’t work, do some investigating and figure out what else you need to do then like those Nike folks say, just do it!