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Post-workout

I could dwell on the negatives. Instead I’ll give myself a bravo.

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It’s time to get serious with my workouts. I’ve got another 15-20 pounds of fat to burn, and I want to burn it off by the end of June. I know I can do it, but I have to work hard to do it. There are  some general rules to keep if I’m to be successful:

1) Weigh, measure, track: every bite and morsel needs to be tracked. I’ll stay within my points, aiming for average days of 1,300 calories.

2) Eat mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans & lentils. Meat, sweets and alcohol will be consumed sparingly.

3) Be dedicated to exercise and strength training. That means running, abdominal work, and getting to the gym daily.

Here’s my workout plan for this week, Week 1:

Sunday
Jog 2 miles (20 minutes)
Legs:

Plie dumbbell squat, 3 sets of 15 reps, 45lb weight
Alternated with Dumbbell lunges, 12 reps, 15lb weights
Leg press, 3 sets of 12 reps, 100lbs
Leg curls (machine), 3 sets of 12 reps, 70lbs, alternating “toe positions”
Standing calf raises, 3 sets of 15 reps, 70lbs

Abs: Day 1

Monday
Jog 2 miles (20 minutes)
Chest, Triceps:

Pushups, 2 sets of 15 reps
Machine bench press, 3 x 12-15*
Incline dumbbell press, 3 x 12-15*
Butterfly machine, 3 x 12-15*
Tricep dips, 3 x 12-15*
Stability ball overhead tricep extensions, dumbbell, 3 x 12-15*

Abs: Day 2

Tuesday
Jog 2 miles (20 minutes)
Back, Biceps:

Prone trunk extensions, 2 x 15
Floor bridges, 2 x 15
Wide-grip lateral pulldown: 3 x 12-15*
Assisted chinups: 3 x 12-15*
One-arm dumbbell row: 3 x 12-15, 20lb weight
Lying T-bar row: 3 x 12-15*
Back extension: 3 x 12-15
Alternating dumbbell curl: 3 x 12-15*

Abs: Day 3

Wednesday
Jog 2 miles (20 minutes)
Shoulders: ….I need to work out this routine.

Abs: Day 4


Thursday

Jog 2 miles (20 minutes)
Legs:

Plie dumbbell squat, 3 sets of 15 reps, 45lb weight
Alternated with Dumbbell lunges, 12 reps, 15lb weights
Leg press, 3 sets of 12 reps, 110lbs
Leg curls (machine), 3 sets of 12 reps, 70lbs, alternating “toe positions”
Standing calf raises, 3 sets of 15 reps, 75lbs

Abs: Day 5

Friday
Meet with Trainer Paul

Abs: Day 6

Saturday
Jog 2 miles (20 minutes)
Depends on what I do on Friday.

Abs: Day 7

Yesterday I celebrated losing 95 pounds at my Weight Watchers weigh-in. The road has been long, filled with sweat and cravings, false modesty and humiliation, pizza and pudding. The group cheered, which I thought was very sweet–there were lots of celebrations yesterday, including a 20 and 30-pound loss. Afterwards a few women asked me a battery of questions, which I thought I’d share.

1. How long has it taken you? I started Weight Watchers in June 2009, so it’s been two years, nine months.

2. Why has it taken so long? Yes, someone asked this. In these days of Biggest Loser rapid weight loss and stomach stapling, people want instant transformation. It’s taken me this long because I’m not just losing weight, I’m changing who I am. I’m no longer the fat woman who scoffs at people who exercise, I am a person who exercises. I used to love to watch cooking shows and whip up big dinners filled with butter, oil, cheese and meat. No more.

3. How many pounds per week did you lose? According to my Weight Watchers e-Tools chart, I’ve lost an average of .7 pounds per week. But really, there’s nothing average about my weight loss. Some weeks I had big losses. There were periods in the first year when I’d have three big losses and then a gain, then three healthy losses and a gain, etc.  You’ll see in my weight loss chart that in 2011 from May 2010 to June 2011 I “Mastered the Art of Maintaining”. That means, over that year, I had a net loss of 2.8 pounds. But I kept going to meetings–I didn’t want to gain the weight back.

Weight Loss Chart

4. Do you exercise? I didn’t when I started. At 267 pounds I was just too out of shape physically and mentally to do much. I remember trying to learn swing dancing with my husband, but I was so out of shape that I gave up.  So what was the turning point? I got a pedometer and beginning walking CD by Debbie Rocker. 20 minutes of this optimistic woman in my ears. The first day that I tried it it was 85 degrees in August 2009 and when I was done I collapsed on the couch, thinking I would never be able to get into shape. But I kept at it, walking more after Debbie was done, adding weights, walk/jogging, and by Thanksgiving 2009 I completed my first 5k.

Now I try to get to the gym five times a week where I do cardio and weight training, with a goal of becoming a strong, fit woman. And I love how my body feels as I get stronger.

5. Is your family fat? Your husband? My husband is overweight right now. I pulled him down the unhealthy path–when we met years ago he ran daily (and I scoffed at him). But he’s on his own journey and I think he’ll be celebrating being fit and healthy by the end of 2012. My kids are in the normal weight zone, as are my parents. Family history and long-term effects of childhood issues are a different post altogether.

6. What do you eat daily? Can you send me your meal plan? I won’t send you a meal plan, because I don’t have one. These days I’m trying to eat six small meals a day, pairing protein with carbohydrates. A sample day might be:

7am: One slice Dave’s Killer 21-Grain Bread with 1 tsp honey mustard and 1.5 oz low-sodium sliced turkey meat
10am: Handful of carrots and 10 almonds
1pm: Beef & barley soup
4:30pm: Small apple, orange and wedge of low-fat Laughing Cow cheese
6pm: Salad: 3 oz Skinless chicken breast, LOTS of spinach & arugula salad mix, 1/2 C brown rice, 1/2 bell pepper–sliced,  1 tomato quartered, 1/2 C steamed brocolli, handful of baby carrots, sliced purple onion. Dressing: fresh lemon juice & 1 tsp olive oil. I might have a little heel of bread with this to soak up the dressing.
9:30pm: 1/2 Cup dark chocolate pudding from Fresh & Easy

But, a sample day could also easily be:

7am: One slice Dave’s Killer 21-Grain Bread with 1 tsp honey mustard and 1.5 oz low-sodium sliced turkey meat
4:30pm: Small apple, orange and wedge of low-fat Laughing Cow cheese
6pm: Four slices of pizza plus the piece my four-year old handed me, saying, “Here Mommy, can you finish this please?”
8pm: a bowl of ice cream, a candy cane, a handful of chocolate chips, and a stale cookie

7. Do you have special tools that you use? No. Yes. Sort of.

E-Tools. When I signed up for Weight Watchers’ E-Tools in July 2009 I geeked out on tracking, and it really helped. That first year I was a tracking fool. I used the recipe builder and activity tracker and participated on the 100+ Pounds to Lose message board a lot. Now I do my best to track daily, but if I’m honest, I’m at about a 30% success rate.

Polar heart rate monitor watch. This helps me track my activity, calories burned, and if I’m getting my heart rate in the zone I want it.

Good running shoes & an Enell sport bra.If you’re large-busted, the Enell sport bra is a god-send!

Trainer. Okay, Trainer Paul isn’t a *thing* but definitely joining the gym and signing up for a trainer has helped a lot.

Food scale. My $20 food scale was one of my best purchases. Weighing my food keeps me honest.

Other gadgets: I’ve tried all sorts of gadgets on my phone. The PointsPlus calculator from Weight Watchers is good. I have an Android so most of the other WW apps don’t work well on it. I’ve downloaded Loseit! but it’s just a tracking app so I decided to stick with e-Tools. Trainer Paul showed me the 6 Pack Abs Promise so I’ve downloaded it and will try it out today.

Books: Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean series really jump-started me out of maintenance in June 2011.

8. What big changes have you made? Since June 2009 I’ve made a few changes, including:

I don’t stop at Burger King for breakfast.
I have black coffee instead of a venti non-fat, no-whip caramel mocha.
I bring my lunch about 90% of the time and when I don’t, I look for the healthy options on the menu.
When I go to parties, I *do* bring something healthy that I’d like to eat.
I’ve really cut back on drinking.
I exercise. Sometimes I hate it, but most of the time once I start doing it I enjoy it.
I don’t shop in the fat womens’ stores anymore. No more Macy Women. No more Lane Bryant. I went from a 24 to a 14. At a 38C, Victoria’s Secret can sell me bras again.
I do still get french fries, but a small instead of a large, and I balance out the rest of the day.

I don’t beat myself up for days where the fat girl comes back, and doesn’t exercise and eats everything in her path. Instead, I try to figure out why I’m sabotaging my efforts.

How did I lose 95 pounds?

I joined Weight Watchers
I started exercising
I kept at it.

I’ve been going to the gym for a whole four-and-a-half months now, so I can speak like an expert about gyms. Well, if I can’t do that, at least I can tell you exactly what to do to be obnoxious. Being obnoxious at the gym is a fun, passive-aggressive way to take out on other people what you wish you could do at work, right?

1. Go lock-free. Who wants to be fettered with a six-ounce lock? They take time to open and are a waste of money. Just throw all your crap in a locker and go. Stack it all up and don’t worry if it falls out when someone opens the locker. Why would they open your locker, anyway? It’s full–they can’t use it!

2. Show off your body. Walk around the locker room naked to air dry. Doesn’t matter if you’re thin or fat–if people don’t want to see your naked body, they don’t have to look at you. Go ahead and do your hair and makeup, then sit down with your bare naked butt somewhere and check your Facebook account.

3. Spray away. Lots of gyms ask members to clean the equipment with some spray cleaner. Even if the sign says “Do not spray cleaner directly on the equipment” go ahead and spray away. Especially on the treadmills where people are breathing deeply. Spray that crap everywhere–work up a good cloud so the machines are nice and clean. Now you’re ready to start exercising!

4. Use the equipment and mats. Use it all. Stockpile medicine balls, dumbbells in all ranges, mats, kettle bells, etc. You never know when you might want to use something and you wouldn’t want to have to wait for someone, would you? Also, if your routine calls for one weight, take both. And hold onto it through your whole work out, even if you only need it once.

5. Talk on your cellphone. You don’t need an explanation, do you?

6. Take 5. Or 15. Grab your smart phone and go rest your muscles. Lay down on a mat and check your messages. When people come in who look like  they might want to use a mat roll over and pretend to stretch a little. Or, sit on the incline bench/leg press/chest press/etc. and play a game. Breathe heavy every now and then so people know you’re resting.

7. Talk loud, talk proud. Shout out to people you know as they pass by. Start up a conversation with the guy next to you on the elliptical about the game or Kim Kardashian’s booty–speak up so he can hear you over his music. If you came to the gym with someone have a loud raucous discussion telling lots of jokes so you can have big laughs.

8. Let your kids play. If your kid doesn’t want to go to the Kids Club don’t sweat it. Grab a stability ball and let them roll around on it. The rowing machine is a fun time for them. If you have two kids they can play catch with a medicine ball. It’s okay if they’re noisy–they’re having fun!

9. Be disparaging. Talk about how much you hate January and the fat people who show up at the gym after New Years. Be sure to repeat yourself every time a fatty is using a machine and you have to wait for it. Don’t they know they’re just wasting their time?

Someone in the locker room at my In-Shape gym convinced me to go to the spin class this morning at 8:15. I agreed because I’ve been curious about spinning, but have you seen those crazy people in there? They are covered in sweat. Their faces are contorted. They stand up on their bikes and their little legs whir around like blender blades. They are bicycle maniacs.

And this morning I joined them. Just the warm-up alone kicked my ass. Do you know you’re supposed to squat above the seat and pedal at the same time? And then stand up and “jog”. And then sit on the hardest seat ever, spinning your legs and keeping your “watts up.”

It got to a point when I couldn’t go any further. Done. Spent. Wanted to walk out the door. But I didn’t. You know why? Not because I knew I was working towards a goal. Not because it was going to make me healthier. Not because I didn’t want to do the “walk of shame”. The only reason I didn’t stop and walk out the door was because there were about ten people who got turned away because the class was full. How selfish would it have been to take a bike that a real athlete wanted?

I wanted to quit. Instead of quitting, I modified. Instead of standing, I sat. Instead of squatting, I sat. I pedaled hard. I pedaled harder. I sweat. And sweat some more. And I argued with myself. A lot.

“Boy, I thought I was getting into shape. Guess not.”

“This sucks.”

“I can’t do this.”

“I hate this.”

“I’m the only one struggling.”

“They’re all laughing at me.”

“The teacher must think I’m a loser.”

“I’m a loser.”

But I finished. Later I asked the teacher if it would get easier if I kept at it. She said, “It never gets easier. Why would you want it to? You’ll always ramp it up, keep working at it.” And she told me it was okay to modify–that everyone does.

Guess I’ll see how much farther I can get next Saturday.

As I drove over to the gym this afternoon I realized I hadn’t been there in 10 days. All of a sudden doubt crept in. I was scared.

Ten days. Would I have the same strength as before? The stamina? Oh, god. What about the willpower? If I didn’t have strength and stamina, I wasn’t sure I was going to have the willpower to keep going. In fact, I was sure I wouldn’t. I could see myself pooping out of the treadmill early. Doing on one set of reps for my resistance/weight training instead of three. And basically, screwing up a perfectly good workout day.

Instead, I went to one of the classes. It was only 30 minutes. R.I.P.P.E.D. Express. It was a quick jolt of bouncy cardio (during which I just jogged and did high knees for most of the “Zumba” type dance moves) followed by 25 minutes of biceps, triceps, shoulders, squats and planking. I didn’t hate it.

What I did hate was the really horrible music. MC Hammer was the deciding track–I would have stayed for the second 30 minutes of “Abs and Assets” but I just couldn’t stand the loud, awful music. I grabbed my own tunes and hit the treadmill.

30 minutes of The Living End, Alkaline Trio, Me First & the Gimme Gimmes–with a little bit of 60s lounge cha cha music mixed in for fun–and I had a good transition back to the gym.

Yes, I did say cha cha music. I’m sure someone would hate my music too.

Super-Action Hero Training Tip: When you’ve fallen off the horse, try a class to get back on it. Find one you don’t have to sign up for multiples and just have fun trying something new.

 

When I’d lost about 50 pounds I tried Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred. I thought I would die just from doing the jumping jacks. I wouldn’t do it in front of my husband, because I knew I looked pathetic.

Eventually, I got comfortable enough to do it in front of him, and he joined me. For a few months we got up early and jumped around to “the mean lady.”

It was still not easy, but certainly easier after working at it on and off for a year. We stuck to the Beginner level, and I used 3-pound weights; he used 8-pound weights.

As things like this do, our early morning dates with Jillian dwindled off. And then, I joined the gym and started working with Trainer Paul.

I couldn’t go to the gym on Tuesday night, but decided to try out Jillian’s Advanced level, using the 8-pound weights. I didn’t know how I’d do. Would I pass out? Would I persevere?

My husband wandered in and sat down about a third of the way into the workout. At the end I was sweaty, a little shaky, and happy. I rocked those exercises. My husband looked at me and said with a smile, “Wow–you looked really good!” and later on, he commented on the fact that my upper arms and shoulders are noticeably toned and muscular.

That’s definitely not something THIS person could have said!

Fat (Six Years Ago)