My Mighty Return

Pardon my three month hiatus. With a full schedule and a broken laptop, my blog time has dwindled to nothing.

When I wrote last I was beginning my 90 Day Challenge – three months later and I’m still in the middle of things. You see, “90 days” actually means 90 sessions… I’m not sure if I’ve hit that yet, but it doesn’t really matter. Carey has committed to stick with me until I reach my goal – 17% body fat. If you’re like me, you have no idea what that really means, but I’m told 25% is average. We have yet to do a second weigh in or BMI test, so I can’t even really tell you where I am as far as progress is concerned, but Carey will be reviewing my fit test next week. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the results will be good.

All I can tell you for sure is that I am light years from where I began. Three months and I feel like a completely different person, like when you look at your high school pictures and think, “Man, that was a lifetime ago!” While the things I was struggling with when I walked into her office still peek their ugly heads up on occasion, they mostly stay away these days. I’m far more confident, happy and optimistic than I’ve been in years.

I know my body is improving, but that’s not where these things stem from. As cliche as it sounds, the old “looks don’t matter” thing is mostly true. I won’t deny that looks can get you places in life, but the things you can achieve through looks are temporary and superficial. You’ll never find peace until you can accept who you are – the good and the bad. That’s what I’m coming to realize through this process. No matter how beat down you are, there is good in you. When you see the bad things, take steps to change them. It won’t happen overnight, but that’s okay. Any step forward, no matter how minor, is not moving back. Rejoice in your little victories. Find friends who truly love you. Demand respect that you deserve.

I won’t sit here and tell you I’ve got it figured out. I still have people point out things I still need to work on or behaviors that need to change, but I’m getting there. I’m moving forward.

Enough with that business…
Training is tough. I mostly go in the mornings and if you know me, you know how much I despise mornings. Still, I make my way across town to the gym about three times a week. Carey takes sick pleasure in watching me sweat. I think it’s a trainer thing. Still, she’s been fantastic at pushing me, providing me with supplements and nutritional knowledge and making sure I’m growing mentally and spiritually. I cannot thank her enough for this opportunity. We’re reaching the point where I’ll start being filmed as part of the story that Carey is writing on me. Let’s hope the camera doesn’t really add ten pounds!

I see changes in my body, not just in the way it looks, but the way it feels. And honestly, things haven’t been picture perfect. I’ve “fallen off the wagon.” Not following the program that Carey has laid out for me – eating poorly, not doing my cardio, not tracking my food – but with seven months left for me to hit the goal that I set for myself long before Carey was in the picture, it’s time to get serious. While it’s nice to have someone pushing you, they can’t do the work for you. In the long run, you’ve got to do it for yourself. I’ve hit the point that I have to ask, “How badly do you want this?” And I want it.
I want it bad.


90 Day Challenge

Carey and I at Green & Grilled

If you’ve been following my Facebook account at all, you probably noticed a semi-cryptic message about changes happening in my life. Many have asked me what exactly that entails, so here’s the skinny (That’s a pun. You’ll get it… keep reading):

A few months ago I saw a post on Facebook from Carey Lea (a personal trainer that I had met a couple times, but with whom I share several mutual friends) saying that she was going to be giving away a 90 Day Fitness package. Entry was simple – send her a bit of information about yourself and tell her your story and why you feel you would be a good candidate for the program. I hesitated to participate being as I have already been fairly successful in losing weight and understand that there are plenty of people out there who “need” it more than me. But, with the encouragement of a friend, I decided to at least give it a shot. If I didn’t get it, no harm, no foul.

Much to my surprise, I received an email from Carey saying that I had been chosen as one of three finalist for the program. She asked me to come in for a follow-up interview so she could get a better feel for who I am and my history. I met with her and recounted my success to this point as well as my frustrations with being stuck where I am, even though I’m so close to my goal. We went through my family history, support system, eating habits… you know. That kind of thing. Her final question to me was simple, “Why do you think you should win this package?” The words fell out of my mouth without hesitation. “Because I want to change. No, I need to. I can’t keep living the way I am right now. It’s not an option. I won’t make it unless I change.” Hmm… I was caught off guard by my answer, but I can’t argue it’s validity. That is truth and it’s 100% of the reason winning was important to me.

As I waited for Carey to select her lucky winner, I prayed that if it was going to be something I would fail at, to please let someone else have it. But if it was what I needed to get from where I am to where I want to be as a person in both body and spirit, then select me and give me the strength to follow through.
That afternoon I got a call from Carey asking me if I wanted to accept her help. Full of excitement and fear, I agreed.

The package is pretty extensive – personal training sessions, nutrition and food prep lessons, supplements, counselling and medical care (if needed) and, as the reward for whipping this tired body into shape, a makeover and photo shoot at the end.

I am now 5 days in and still feel the same sense of excitement and fear as when I accepted. So far I have put in the work and completed each workout as scheduled. This means getting up early and driving to the other side of town before work each morning. If you’ve been around me at all, you know this is and will continue to be the most difficult thing for me. I really don’t understand you morning people. It’s terrible.
I have yet to start any real nutrition changes yet, although for my own sake, I’ve been avoiding greasy, delicious foods. Tomorrow night Carey and I will go shopping, so that will all be sorted out.

I’ve had a lot of people comment to me that they’re jealous… and they should be. I’ve been blessed with an amazing opportunity. This is nothing I could afford on my own and I never dreamed I would be able to work with a personal trainer. But wait until you see me limping around sore and tired. Wait until we’re at a restaurant and I’m eating a salad while you enjoy your tasty burger and Coke. This gift comes with a price. I’m under no illusion that this will be a cake walk. At some point, I’m going to want to quit. But, all I have to do is convince myself to do what I have to do. If that means taking an hour or two out of my day to put my body through hell, that’s what I have to do. It’s only an hour or two. If that means turning down something that will taste better compared to something that will still fill me up, that’s what I have to do. If that means setting 15 alarms to make sure I’m up at sunrise, that’s what I have to do. For now, the important thing is to focus on daily goals instead of the big picture. You reach a destination one step at a time.

Okay, I’ve talked your ear off (err.. typed your… eyes off. Is that a thing?), but I’ll leave you with this – I hope this will inspire some of you. That’s honestly a lot of my motivation in doing it. Yes, it’s an awesome opportunity, but it’s not like Carey is offering me liposuction, she’s offering me a chance to change my life through hard work and dedication. You may not get to have someone training you, but if you commit to work hard, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. As I learn more, I plan to share tips that have helped me with you and I plan on being pretty transparent through this whole journey. I hope that you’ll follow along.

For daily updates, you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
For more information about Carey, you can check out her Facebook, Twitter or website.

The Paper Anniversary

Today (…or maybe it was last Sunday like I wrote in my previous entry. I have different dates written down everywhere.) marks my one-year weight loss anniversary.

My total weight loss to date is 62.3 lbs. Leaving me with only 35.4 lbs. to lose by my 30th birthday – June 30, 2013.
(Yep, I’m giving myself plenty of time. It seemed like a reasonable goal when I started with 98 lbs. to lose.)
I’ve gone down 2-3 pant and shirt sizes. I wish I would’ve kept track of my inches, but I never could seem to get the tape in the right places for it to be accurate. Here’s the best visual I have for you:

Any person that’s lost a reasonable amount of weight will tell you that it’s life changing, and it is. Everything you’ve heard is true – you feel physically better and have more energy, your health problem decrease and your confidence grows.

What a general audience doesn’t hear about is the small victories, that honestly, if you’re not overweight, you won’t understand.
– Your hips not catching on the arms of chairs.
– Being able to take a decent photo without making it an aerial shot.
– Crossing your legs without feeling like it a strength exercise keeping one over the other.
– A defined clavicle. (Okay, this may only be a big deal to me, but I love it.)

My biggest accomplishment thus far is fitting into my formal from my senior year (2001) to watch my friend, Jessi, dance at a charity event.

If you’ve followed my journey at all or even just scroll through the posts on this blog, you’ll see that I’ve used various methods to lose the weight from juicing to HCG to the Insanity workout program and have had varied results.
Here’s the deal guys, one diet may work for you that doesn’t work for someone else. Some people love to exercise; for others it’s easier to watch what they eat. Every person’s body works differently – only you know what works best for you. It’s a trial and error process, so don’t be discouraged. We’ve all been there. If you’re determined to do it, you can.

The two biggest tips I have for you are these: educate yourself and surround yourself with encouraging people.
It confuses me when people make an effort to “eat better” when they don’t research any of the foods they put in their body. Just because you’re ordering a salad does not necessarily mean you’re eating healthy. Learn about foods. Research  exercise programs before starting them to make sure you’re doing what’s most effective to reach your goal. If you choose to take a supplement or medication, make sure you know the risks and that your body will not react badly to them. Whatever it is, be knowledgeable.
I cannot over-stress the importance of a support system. I already wrote an entry on it, so I won’t linger, but for those who want the cliff notes, there’s is absolutely no way I could’ve done this without the people in my life telling me daily (literally) that I could do it. If you don’t have anyone like that around you, contact me. I’m an excellent cheerleader.

One thing I never expected from this experience is people I love coming to me and telling me that I’m an inspiration to them. Until now, I don’t know that I’d ever inspired anyone to do anything.
The bitter truth of it is that a year ago, I hated what I had let myself become. I hated looking in the mirror and I very literally had a meltdown, sobbing in the bathroom when forced to take pictures for one of my jobs. (The before picture at the top of the page was taken that day, actually.) What I’m saying is that I get it. I really do. You may think, “Even before you were still smaller than me,” but it’s all about mentality. And, my friends, I was about as depressed as you can get.
Honestly, it’s not all peaches and cream, but you can do it. You’ll mess up. You’ll get discouraged. It’ll suck some days… but it’s so worth it.
Your health is worth it. The people you love are worth it. Your happiness is worth it.
Do it.