This is Post 33 of my fitness/weight loss journey blogging.
Today marks The End to something that has been very significant to me: My weight loss journey.
Just under two years ago, I weighed almost 160 pounds and was chubby and pretty lazy. Today, I am smaller than I’ve been since high school and yet stronger and more capable than ever. I weigh 129 and am not soft or lazy anymore.
My trainer and I recorded data during the journey. Here’s the proof in numbers:
What a difference 22 months and a bunch of hard work, sacrifices and commitment make.
Near the end of March 2009 – 22 months ago – I found myself in the office of friend and personal trainer Steve Bechtel, at his Elemental Training Center, in my hometown of Lander, Wyoming.
I was at the end of my rope. In a health and fitness rut, I weighed almost 160 pounds and had just ordered a pair of size 12 pants from the Eddie Bauer catalog. The first time I ever did that.
Every night for about three years, I would retire to bed with this same, deep, nagging feeling – let’s call it what it was, REGRET – that didn’t just speak to me, it yelled, angrily at me: “Another day went by and you did nothing about it. You didn’t exercise. You didn’t eat the right things and you ate too much. You’re lazy. You feel like crap. You have young children. You’re operating a business and trying to expand it. You need more energy. You have to change things. As soon as possible. But another day went by and you, well, once again did nothing to change things.” Self-talk like this went on probably every night for three years. It was ugly.
In fairness, I should point out that I did have a lot going on in my life. My husband, Jerry, and I had two young sons at the time, and a third on the way, we owned a business, of which I was the CEO. The business was going great and I was busy innovating and capitalizing on what was abundant opportunity. I loved my work and was passionate about our business’ potential. At the same time, I was pursuing prospective partners to help put wheels on the company’s expansion plans. I was probably investing 75 hours a week toward work, plus trying to be a great mother and wife.
So if I needed excuses for my getting soft, chubby and lazy, I didn’t have to look very hard to find them. And they felt like plausible excuses, until each night when that nagging regret kicked in.
I should also point out that most of my life, up until the space between March 2006 and March 2009, I was probably in above-average health. I played basketball in college, and after that, got into mountain biking, snowboarding, snowshoeing, backpacking, trail running, distance day hiking and cross country skiing.
Hell fire, even while I weighed almost 160, I hiked the Shoshone Lake hike above Lander, which is a difficult, 21-mile hike. But I paid dearly for it for days following and certainly it was not the fantastic experience it is when I’m fit and have energy to spare and a “lighter load” to carry.
Outside of operating our business, I was no longer confident either. I was chubby and felt lazy, because, well, physically I was. My self-esteem tanked. We’d take family trips and I wouldn’t swim with Jerry and the boys at the hotel pool because I didn’t want to put a swimming suit on. I found myself turning down speaking invitations. I didn’t “go out” as much – meaning even to make simple trips to the grocery store, etc. I “hid” myself as much as possible while focusing on business and trying my best to be a good mom and wife.
So, in March 2009, shortly after I ordered the size 12 pants, and upon encouragement from my friend, Sharon, there I sat on Steve’s couch in his office at Elemental Training Center.
I won’t rehash everything here because I’ve covered my weight loss and fitness journey pretty thoroughly right here on this blog. (I’ve compiled a list containing all 33 posts with links to each here. Please check them out and feel free to share them if you think they’ll inspire others to get off the couch and add vitality and years to their lives.)
But let me say this. Basically I let three years, at least, slip by in my life that – from a vitality and health quality standpoint – were less than extraordinary. Frankly, from a health standpoint, those three years were, at best, mediocre, and it bothered me then, and now, that I can’t get that time back to do over in a more healthy body and mind.
So as I sat on the couch confronting my overweight and sloth-like status with Steve, I committed to losing weight and getting in excellent health.
One of the most important realizations I had early on that was probably more instrumental than any other thing in my weight loss journey’s success, is that there is a (huge) difference between deciding and committing.)
I have a poignant memory from that day that marked The Start of my weight loss journey: I was on my way home from my meeting with Steve and I was at a red light on Main Street waiting to turn left on S. 5th Street to head home. I thought first of the brevity of life. How short of time we have and all that’s important to me and how best can I live it to the fullest while honoring those I love so much and who love me. I realized at that time that the changes I was about to make were gigantic. They would be changes I would make for life. For eternity.
Sure, I would have to eat more vegetables. Drink more water. Eat less junk food. Exercise harder and on a regular basis. (I eventually made the decision, on my own, to give up all grains/complex carbohydrates, which for the first few weeks required monumental will power.) I would have to get up super early in the morning.
As I sat there at that red light thinking about all this, it may sound cheesy – and extreme – but I remember thinking: I am giving up frozen pizza not for a month or a year but probably for the rest of my life. The commitment was that big. I was signing up for changes that were to last a lifetime.
The change I was committing to meant more than taking a few difficult-but-temporary steps.
And, I was all in.
So, in a nutshell, yesterday, Jan. 31, 2011, The End of my weight loss journey was met. On March 20, I weighed 158 pounds and my body fat was about 27 percent. Today, I weigh 129 pounds and have 10.9% body fat.
More significantly, though, my life has gotten so much fuller and richer – on all fronts. I’m a better mother. I can not only play and romp with our three young sons, I have a fighting chance of keeping up with them on the slopes, in our wrestling matches and in foot races. I’m a better, happier, more loving wife. I am more confident in my work. I have enjoyed countless, awe-inspiring outdoor experiences during the last 22 months that I would have absolutely missed out on had I not embarked on my weight loss/fitness journey.
Among other things, I climbed the Grand Teton, completed a Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim in a less than 24 hours, I placed third in my age group in the Rendezvous 25k Ski Race last year, I went on a dozen or more “epic” day hikes in my beloved Wind River Range that were 21-32 miles each.
I also learned a lot about fitness and training. Steve Bechtel is a brilliant trainer who knows his stuff. As many would agree, he could be “a trainer for the stars.” He set the bar high and drove me hard, both things I required in order to push myself. He introduced me to high intensity and metabolic training. He helped get me strong without “bulking up.” The latter is proven by the reality that while I’m significantly smaller than I’ve been since I was in high school, I’m stronger than ever. I did 21 consecutive pull-ups, 30 dips, bench-pressed 132 pounds five times, dead-lifted 135 pounds 39 times, did 26 back squats of 135 pounds, and did 16 front squats of 135 pounds.
Today, I often find myself close to (happy) tears when I think about how full and rich my life is. This is in very, very large part the result of my weight loss and fitness accomplishments.
My weight loss journey has ended, but my pursuit of staying in great fitness will never end. I have arrived at a particular weight but I know it’s an ongoing effort to stay healthy. I can say this: I’ve tasted the Koolaid and I’m never going back. I’m saying yes to vitality, great health and a full life. I’m saying no to mediocrity and to just getting by when it comes to my health. Life is too short. And I love it too much.
As some of you are aware, I am training to become a life and leadership coach, and was also recently certified by the American Fitness Professionals and Associates as a nutrition consultant. Many of my coaching clients have weight loss as a major goal in their life.
I, for one, don’t underestimate weight loss as being something that’s of significant importance in one’s life. It’s not something to toss aside as a vanity item – quite the contrary. Everything in my life is better as a result of weighing less and being more “able” to live my life to the fullest. Being the best person I can be for those who love me and for those I love is absolutely related to the condition of my health and well being. (And okay, sure, it’s also great to fit into my designer jeans.)
During the last 22 months I’ve often told people I was reinventing myself. But what happened during the last 22 months was a transformation.
My sincere thanks to my husband, Jerry, and our sons, Wolf, Hayden and Fin, who were especially important in this journey; to my parents and other family members, to my close friends, to Steve Bechtel and his team at Elemental Training Center, and to all of you who have read this blog and/or support me with your friendship and positivity. I don’t take any of it lightly, and I am grateful to all of you.
Thanks for following this journey. I will be happy to share any specifics about what I did during my weight loss journey with you, including tips and tricks. If you wish, I will also light a fire under you, if that’s what you’re needing.
Elemental Gym has a fantastic gym, some terrific programs and classes that will help you achieve better fitness. And, I might add, some great personal trainers: Steve Bechtel, Ellen Bechtel, Jagoe Reid, Sophie Mosemann and Lee Brown.