Friday, September 17, 2010

A year in the life

I love the song "Seasons of Love" from Rent.
It starts out:
"Five hundred twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes.  How do you measure, measure a year?"
Well, here's how I measure this one.
It was about a year ago when I made the decision to get serious about my diet and begin to train.  I had no idea then the journey I was under taking.  All I new was that I was sick & tired of feeling sick & tired, and that this time, I was going to do whatever it took.
I committed to myself that no matter what my trainer told me to do, I would say yes.  If he told me to eat more protein, less carbs; yes, sir.  If he told me to do less minutes of cardio at the highest resistance I could stand; okey-dokey.  If he told me to lift a weight that I previously wouldn't have thought I could, I did it.
No, it wasn't easy but a year later, here I am...

By the way, that thing I am balancing on is called a Bosu Ball. Kyle (the best trainer in the world) makes it harder by turning it upside down so the ball part is on the bottom and it creates even more of an unstable surface.  It's hard!

Yes, that is a ball I am standing on while doing squats.  Yikes!
A year ago, I would never believed I was capable of doing those moves but now I amaze even myself!
So here are some of the lessons this journey has taught me:

  • It really is all about calories.  No one wants to hear that.  I have multiple people every day ask me how I have done it.  When I tell them that I log my food and record my calorie burn every single day, their eyes kind of glaze over as they say, "wow, that is a lot of work."  Well yes, it kind of is but I ask you, when did everyone decide that we didn't really have manage that part of our life? Ask yourself, what would happen to your finances if you didn't keep track of what went into and out of your checking account?  What about your car.  What would happen to it if you didn't manage your fuel, oil or fluid amounts?  Your body is the same.  If you want to lose weight you have to consume less calories than you burn and you can't do that unless you keep track.  It is as simple as that.  No matter what you eat, if you eat less calories than you burn, you WILL lose weight
  • Having said that, what you eat does matter.  I have completely changed my eating habits and it has completely transformed how I look and feel.  I have adopted the Eat Clean lifestyle and it has made all the difference.  I haven't felt this great in 20 years.  Going back to the car analogy, if you put premium fuel in your engine, your car will perform better than if you put in cheap, watered down crap.  Your body is a type of machine, the rules are the same.
  • You need a trainer.  Yes, they are a bit expensive but they can show you how to get the most bang for your exercise buck.  I now see so many people who are basically wasting their time or even hurting themselves because they don't have the right form or they aren't doing the right kind of cardio.  Take my word for it, get a trainer, even for a month.  It will really help.  
  • You have to sweat...alot.  I used to hate sweating.  It made me feel gross and sticky.  But if you aren't sweating, you aren't working very hard.  If you aren't working very hard, you aren't burning many calories.
  • And along those same lines, you can lift more, run faster, go longer at a higher resistance than you think you can.  Again, here is where a trainer is needed.  They will push you harder than you will push yourself.  They will get that extra 5 lbs, reps or minutes out of you that you, by yourself, would not do.
  • It's okay to bribe yourself(with something other than food) to get through a particularly rough workout.  I can't tell you the number of times I have promised myself a trip to the mall or a full treatment pedicure to get myself through it.  I have even promised myself a good cry when I got done and as soon as I have gotten in my car, I have picked up the phone, called my husband and just cried in his ear for a good 5 minutes, as I rehearsed how hard the workout was.  It really helped.
  • The most important two lessons I have learned are these: I am worth it and I can do hard things.  This knowledge has given me a new level of confidence that has helped me in every other facet of my life.  I am now more willing to stick my neck out and try things because tell myself over and over, "I am worth it and I can do hard things". And, the same goes for you.
525,600 minutes.  Wow, what a difference this year has made for me.  I can truly say I would do it all again.  How I look and feel now is worth all the blood, sweat and tears.  I invested in myself and the dividends have been more than I ever imagined.