Monday, June 11, 2012

My journey back to fitness

I say "back to fitness" as if I've ever been truly fit.. but I really haven't. When I've worked out in the past, like on an elliptical machine at the gym, it was never like it is now. I was involved in all sorts of activities and sports growing up, like soccer, dance, softball, cheerleading, and gymnastics, but somewhere along the way I stopped really trying to improve. I was fine with where I was at the moment, which was nothing really special. I was never thin, but not fat or overweight. I was just normal-sized and adequately trained in the sports I participated in.

In high school, I took advantage of my metabolism and activity and really started eating like crap my senior year. I started to gain some weight, and I probably weighed 135 pounds or so when I graduated in 2001. I am only 5'3" (I think?), so my BMI was within the normal range, but I was heavier than I would've liked. I went away to college and went down to 130 pounds within the first few months. I worked out like a fiend, but ended up gaining the weight back after the winter.. which ended up being my life story for the next few years. One summer after I lost my winter weight, my grandpa even remarked, "Oh Sherri you got skinny again".

I have no idea what I weighed when I graduated college in 2006, but I was smaller than when I started going through grad school. I again started eating like crap and went up to ~140 pounds before I got married. Then, after I got married in 2007, I probably gained 15 pounds. I only started weighing myself in 2009 when I thought I would try to lose weight. My mom bought me a scale (man was I scared of the number on the scale), but I stopped trying to lose weight when we started trying to have a baby. After having a baby, I dropped to 6 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, but couldn't drop those pounds until I stopped breastfeeding. I lost a few pounds when I went vegetarian, but I ended up gaining about 7 pounds within 5 months. Seriously.. yikes (and I'm not sharing my weight because I'm way too embarrassed). I cried when I saw the number on the scale and decided I needed to actually TRY at something. I hated looking at myself in the mirror and still have this habit of stepping outside the bathroom, even when brushing my teeth, so I don't have to look at my body.

I used to exercise regularly before I met Graham, but we liked being with each other so much that being apart for an hour felt like an eternity. So, exercise went down the drain, and pretty much stayed there until March of this year. I had my moments of attempted exercise regimens, but I never put the full effort in. So first, oddly enough, I had to do something that would help me commit to exercise again.. I had to do something regularly that I absolutely HATE...

Flossing my teeth.

I know.. that's weird, but once I flossed every night for a month straight, I knew I could commit to exercise. I hate flossing so much, and I've never been good at doing it, so if I was able to do that, I could exercise, which I don't hate.

Anyways, I set a goal of mine for 12 weeks of fitness, based on an inspirational quote I spotted on Pinterest:

It takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing,
8 weeks for your friends to notice,
and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice.
Give it 12 weeks.
Don't quit.

So, I exercised 4 days a week for the first 4 weeks, and increased it to 5 days a week after that. I like to alternate between The Bar Method videos and Turbo Jam videos. The Bar Method sculpts my muscles like no other exercises, and Turbo Jam helps me get my aggression out. It's a great balance!

So, I did my exercises, rewarding myself with small presents (a cookbook, eyeshadow, etc) with every 3 consecutive weeks I worked out, with the goal of getting a new pair of workout shoes after 12 weeks (because my Nike Shox are terrible for my high arches). After the 11th weeks mark, a woman at work asked me what I was doing because I was looking so trim. It was one of the first times I've received a compliment about my body in years, and I was seriously so happy I could've cried.

As far as diet goes, being a Registered Dietitian and all, I know that being severely restrictive in my diet would not work out for me. So, I set a goal to eat salads 2 times a week for lunch, and to eat less calories at breakfast (I often eat a small amount of Kashi cereal with a protein shake). I still eat dessert, as well as chips and salsa. I know that if I cut out eating those things, I would probably lose weight faster, but that's not realistic for me. I will never give up dessert or my salty snacks, so I couldn't cut them out completely.

So, where am I at now? What are my goals?

After 14 weeks, I am currently down 8 pounds, but I feel like I'm down 15. I didn't measure myself before I started working out, which I should have, but oh well. I can look at my body in the mirror again. Yesterday when I looked at myself in my workout clothes, I said "wow".. which has happened, oh hmm... like never. My legs and butt are muscular again (thanks Bar Method), and I'm beginning to see definition in my arms (thank you Beach Body hand weights).

My goal is to be healthy. I will never run a marathon, nor will I participate in a triathalon.. so those aren't what I will be working towards. I want to lose more weight, and get down to a healthy BMI (which is 140 pounds for my height). Sure, I will never be skinny or thin, but all I want is to be healthy and to feel better about myself. I have made myself a fitness chart with a planned monthly exercise regimen. I will still be doing Turbo Jam and The Bar Method videos, but I will be trying out some of their more advanced videos within the next few months.

What have I learned? (if you're even still reading)

Losing weight is hard. It requires lots of dedication, time, and mental commitment. The physical aspect is just an aside to the mental preparation I have to do every night I press play on the DVD player. Fitness is a goal everyone should aspire for. It's not just to look good. It's to feel good, to test your body and your mind, and to learn what you are truly made of. Even if nobody ever reads this, writing this blog has made me proud of what I've accomplished so far.

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