Monday, November 26, 2007

How This All Got Started

Current Weight: 155
Total Weight Loss To Date:
~ 105 pounds from pregnancy
~ 45 pounds from pre-pregnancy

It's been almost two years since I got this idea that I would walk 1000 miles in a year. It was my 2006 New Year's Resolution. I figured if I planned it out right, and was consistent, I was looking at about 4 miles a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks out of the year. That seemed pretty doable, so on January 1, 2006, I started walking. At first, I was walking 4 miles at a time, and that took about an hour. Soon, I could breeze through 4 miles and was walking 5 or 6 miles at a day. I had become a great walker.

It was March when I realized I hadn't lost a pound. For all that walking, I was still almost 200 pounds. Sure, I was fitter than I had been at the start of the year, but my weight hadn't changed. I hadn't set out to lose weight per se, but when I realized I'd been walking 6 miles a day for weeks and hadn't seen any change on the scale, I felt a little screwed.

So, I realized I was basically eating whatever I wanted, in whatever quantity I wanted, and if weight loss was my new goal, I'd need to take a look at what I put into my mouth. I started recording what I ate and how many calories I was taking in. I used the CalorieKing pocket book to look up my food and wrote it all down in a milage-tracking journal that I converted into my calorie log book. (Now, two years later and almost 50 pounds lighter, I use the related CalorieKing Software for weight maintenance and exercise tracking and recommend it highly.)

I kept at the walking, though not with the same dedication I had had before. I tried to keep my calorie intake around 1800 per day, and the weight started to come off. My original goal had been to weigh 175 pounds. I was consistent and kept a food log and after a few months, I was at 175 and decided to just keep doing what I was doing. I was eating really good, healthy food, in reasonable quantities, so I wasn't really hungry and I didn't see any reason to change the way I was eating. More weight kept coming off, until I hit 165 pounds and stabilized. A lot of women out there might be horrified to be 165 pounds, but I looked and felt great. I'm 5'9", and was wearing a size 8 pants for the first time ever, so 165 felt pretty good to me, and it seemed like that was where my body wanted to be.

I was so pleased with my weight loss success I eventually felt emboldened to try out a Pilates-based fitness class at my local rec center. I went twice a week, really liked the instructor, and started to see some real changes in the shape of my body, especially around my core. I started to get nice abs! Not a six pack, but some good definition. I didn't lose much weight with this class, but the Pilates principles really helped me get to know my body from a fitness perspective. I was also successful in the class, eventually getting to the point where I could do some of the more advanced moves, so that boosted my athletic ego.

I began talking to my Pilates instructor about taking my Pilates to the next level, and she referred me to a local gym that had a full roster of group classes, including Pilates. As much as I loved her instruction, I had "outgrown" the rec center environment, and my instructor told me I needed to move on. She basically kicked me out of the fitness nest, and I went down and joined the gym she recommended. I took the Pilates-based classes the new gym offered, and did not care for the instructional style of the teacher. I stuck with it because I was comfortable with my roll-ups and 100's and teasers, but I was more and more aggravated with the teacher, and missed my old instructor.

I was fortunate that, around this time, I ran into a mom I had known through a toddler class our kids attended. This mom, Hesper, has always been into fitness. She's done triathlons, and is a certifiable gym rat. Honestly, back when our kids were in toddler class together, I saw her in her matching workout outfits with her jogging stroller and thought she was pretty intense and maybe a little crazy (why would anyone push their kid somewhere--at a run--when they owned a car and were not being chased by rabid dogs?). With my newfound respect for fitness, her crazy ways didn't seem so crazy anymore.

It turned out that Hesper had just finished a certification in Personal Training and was willing to take me on as Client #1. I would be her test case, and in turn she would give me about 85% off her regular rate. Hesper was a great trainer, and she turned into a really great friend too. Working with her, I dropped five more pounds and started to really tone up through the arms, legs, and back. I was really getting quite fit, and with the motivation of a good friend who was even more gung-ho than I was, it was easy to view the gym as a fun break from the rest of my life.

Over the past six months, I've moved to a plant-based diet, cutting most meat and dairy from my everyday consumption, and have dropped another five to ten pounds. I now hold pretty steady between 153-156 pounds, down from a pre-baby high of over 200 and a pregnancy high of 260. More importantly, I feel really good about my fitness and my physique, and I have come to view myself as a sporty person.