Monday, June 21, 2010

This is getting to be a habit....

Kathy says:

Another week has come and gone and I honestly feel like this new lifestyle is becoming a habit. Sure it’s still tough to choose the salad over the junk food. And yes, it’s tough motivating myself to leave the comfy confines of my house to go to the gym regardless of how tired I may be. But the fact is I have been doing both of those things, and its getting easier every day.

This morning the motivation was given a nice boost when I stepped on the scale and found that in the last few weeks since we started this healthy eating and exercising thing, I’ve lost 9.5 pounds. This weight loss, in a healthy manner, is a record for me. While it is true that I dropped much more than this in the fall, I lost it all through stress and not eating…not exactly the best way to lose. But in the years (and years and years) of dieting that I have done, never once have I lost 9.5 pounds…honestly…I was pretty positive I was incapable of ever losing anything.

So why is this working now? What am I doing so differently to all those other attempts? I wish I knew. Maybe age is finally working in my favour…seems unlikely, but who knows? Maybe the exercise I’m doing is more effective thanks to having a pro showing me what to do. Maybe my new-found appreciation of baby spinach is what is making all the difference. Whatever it is, I’m going to keep going and see how far I can take this.

One thing I do know is that I am more motivated this time than I have ever been. I don’t want to die young. I don’t want to lose a limb to diabetes. I don’t want to lose my husband either, so if he is motivated by me being motivated, then darn it, I have to keep going. We’re just heading into what I’m told are the best years…I want to enjoy them.

This morning we got up and went to the gym – yes, on a Sunday morning – told you we’re motivated! One thing became very clear to both of us after a few minutes on the treadmill … our hearts are getting stronger … much stronger! Setting the treadmill on cardio, the machine sets your speed and incline to match your target heart rate. I remember the first day I did this…I was excited to see the incline go up to 2.5 with a speed to match. Well just a few short weeks later, I held on as the speed climbed close to 3 with an incline of 7.5! In essence, I needed to walk uphill at a pretty good pace just to raise my heart rate enough to get into a cardio ‘zone’. Poor Ron’s incline went to 11 or so…he looked like he was climbing a mountain! But even though the hike was tough, we high-fived knowing that we are on our way to being strong and healthy.

Tomorrow will be Ron’s last day with our trainer, Travis, and Tuesday will be my last session. I am a little nervous at this, knowing that there won’t be someone checking up on us 3 times a week and showing us new things to add to keep our bodies working, but the reality is a trainer is expensive and frankly, if we want to keep paying the mortgage, something’s gotta give. So from here on in Ron and I will be each other’s motivator…and if our trainer-less session this week is any indication (for those keeping tabs, he bailed to buy a new house NOT to watch the basketball game…lol) I think we’ll be ok - although Ron is not nearly as easy on me as Travis is! He would have made a decent drill sergeant.

So that’s this week in the life of this chubby couple. I’ll let Ron tell you about his trip to the scale, but I will say this…there’s a noticeable change, and I’m so very proud of him! I’ve never seen someone who once had a countdown calendar on his office wall to the Wendy’s Baconator launch date take to wraps and salads so well! I’m trying to take lessons. Where I’m gym motivated, he’s healthy eating motivated….good balance I guess.

So on this Sunday night, as my tummy gentle grumbles to remind me that I haven’t eaten anything since dinner, I think I will calm it with a few Pop Chips (if you see them in the store – try them! They’re so good!) and head to bed to prepare for another week ahead. Singing lessons tomorrow, followed by a few more gym sessions the rest of the week means next weekend will be here before I know it. Until next time, thank you all for reading, for encouraging and for continuing to be the fabulous friends I am so grateful to have!

Ron says:

Ahhh, the Baconator... That brings back some memories. In the past I somehow learned to associate food with my emotions. I guess it started when I was a kid. ‘Who wants ice-cream?’ would always get me so excited. And on the weekends, I would get my allowance and buy junk food to eat as I stayed up late. Food has always been a part of celebration in my life - tied to my feelings.

I suppose I'm thinking more lately about when and why food has become such an integral part of my emotional well being. I'm sure smarter men than I have written volumes on the human psyche and what makes us tick. Needless to say, for me this is part of me understanding myself - why I eat to make myself feel better. I think it's important for me to figure this stuff out if I really want to change my life for the better - to lose this weight, and more importantly to just be a healthier person. I need to dig down to the root of the issue and break that connection that was created so many years ago.

In the meantime, I've officially lost 13 pounds! I mean, it still fluctuates from day to day, but I saw those numbers on the scale, and I was down 13 pounds. My trainer keeps trying to convince me to stop putting so much importance on those numbers, as they will move around up and down as I continue weight training along with my cardio routine. But it's so motivating to see that damn number get lower and lower.

I've just completed my last training session tonight, and it was another tough one. I was doing great, and Travis was pushing me hard. At the very end I was dead tired and feeling very nauseous. That was the second time I worked out till I almost threw up. It's strange for me to push myself so hard that I almost get sick. The thing is that it doesn't upset me that I get to this point. It makes me realize that I actually want this so bad that I am willing to push past my "comfort-zone" and give more than I thought I even had in me. It's times like these that I really believe that I am going to succeed at this goal, and actually, for real, change myself for the better.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

One hell of a week

Kathy says:

Oh my goodness. That’s a polite way of saying what I really want to say…holy f*&%. Today was session 4 with Travis, our personal trainer, and wow did I hit a wall. Before I get ahead of myself though, let’s backtrack to go over the events of the past week:

My last blog talked about Travis, and how in our first session he did what any good trainer would do and let me work at my speed and ability level. Well apparently that has been thrown out the window, and I’m now learning that GOOD trainers (Travis included) push you just past your speed and ability level. Not so far as to permanently injure you, but far enough that your muscles make sure you remember what you did to them for a couple of days afterwards. I guess that’s how you make progress, but frankly, it hurts…a lot.

Session two – Tuesday - was relatively ok…we worked hard, but I didn’t have the same wobbly feeling leaving the gym, and really felt pretty alright that night and even the next day. Could it be I was making progress?

Session three was two days later for me thanks to a chivalrous move by Ron who took back to back sessions Tuesday and Wednesday. We knew that 2 days in a row would be a lot for Ron to handle, but I don’t think we estimated how tough it would really be. Seeing the look on his face when he got home Wednesday night…watching him collapse on the bed and not move for what seemed like forever…hearing moans that sounded a lot like sobs being held back…I was frightened for what Thursday was going to bring for me. I think a large part of the hell Ron went through had to do with his body not having time to recover from the day prior, because my Thursday session again went pretty decently. We worked hard while I was there, and Travis showed little mercy when I batted my eyelashes and said I couldn’t do any more reps. (I found out later that this is because my dear sweet husband told Travis he needed to watch me because I was figuring out how to ‘play’ him. Very nice sweetie…very nice.)

Thursday was also reality check day as we did weight, body fat percentage and measurements. While I’m sure it would be super motivating to share the numbers here, and I admire those who are open with theirs (such as Tyler from, one of my inspirations), I just cannot bring myself to type them. Once I’m where I want to be, I’m sure I’ll be excited to share how far I’ve come and all those numbers will be out there, but today I’m just not ready to open myself up that much. Travis asked me what my goal weight is, or if I have another particular goal in mind. I told him what I told Ron and all of you when I started this. I don’t care what the number on the scale says…the day I walk into Aeropostale or Abercrombie & Fitch or Jacob or Garage and look at something, think ‘that’s cute’ and find my size hanging on the rack…on that day, I will feel like I have reached my goal. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop working hard and trying to lose more. Ideally I would love to be in the proper BMI range and know that my body fat percentage is a healthy one…but the motivation and reward I will feel knowing that I am not limited to 6 clothing stores in North America will be quite enough for me to make all this pain worth it.

So that brings us to today – Saturday – and my fourth training session. I went to bed last night feeling exhausted mentally and physically and hoped that a good night’s sleep would give me the energy I needed to get through today’s torture … I mean, training. No such luck. I went into the gym ready to give this workout my all. Knowing I had the remainder of today and all of tomorrow to rest my weary body, I was prepared to work hard and push myself to my limit. Turns out my limit was pretty low today…my body just refused to work the way it has on my last two visits. Thinking back now, I think there were only 2 machines that I managed to get through my 2 sets of 12 reps. on. Typically there are only 2 machines I CAN’T finish. Today was not to be a powerful moving forward day. I just couldn’t do it.

Travis could clearly see the pain in my face, and didn’t fight me when I said I couldn’t do anymore. In fact, he helped me more today than he ever has by practically moving the weights by himself as my legs or arms followed along. He said the important thing was that even though I was tired, I was there…and really, that’s what it comes down to. I only hope that once I don’t have Travis to check in with 3 times a week, I can still push myself to do my best through the pain.

Food wise, we’re doing pretty well at eating healthy, keeping our calories down and drinking our water (some of us are more diligent than others). We’ve noticed ourselves being a little – ok a lot – snippy with each other at times and realized that it happens when we’re hungry and our blood sugar takes a nosedive. Hopefully that passes quickly because I’m not sure how many arguments about nothing we really want to go through. On Wednesday we broke down and went out for dinner and, voila, snippiness gone…we just needed to have a ‘real’ meal. Today when it happened we had half a mini-bagel to hold us over until dinner was ready. Have to say, not quite as effective as Wednesday’s fries and it wasn’t until dinner finished that I felt somewhat civil again. This is a big change for us, so I think it’s normal to expect some rough days, but we know it will be worth it in the end when we look back and see how far we’ve come.

So that’s this week in my life…it’s a struggle…I’ll admit. There have been moments where I’ve wanted nothing more than to crack open a bag of potato chips, sit back and mindlessly munch away instead of counting how many calories were in my spinach salad. I don’t know if those feelings will ever really end, but I’m learning to control them more than I have in the past. All I have to do is remember the hell I went through at the gym that day, and I’ll be darned if I’m going to waste all that progress for some salt and vinegar chips…or buttery popcorn…or cheesy nachos….oh god… honey, your turn to talk while I go whimper in the corner.

Ron says:

I can't say this past week has been easy on either of us. It's been hard - damn hard. What I'm starting to realize is that this whole process is not just hard once in a while. It's hard all day, everyday. It just has not let up. I mean I am enjoying losing weight (10 pounds so far!!!), and I love that I have to keep setting the treadmill faster and higher to get my heart rate in the correct zone. After all, those are sure signs that progress is being made. The biggest surprise to me in this process is how many times I have to make the same decision over and over. Every time I feel hungry, every time I see a commercial for pizza, when I smell what my co-workers are heating up at lunch - I have to decide to stick with it. When everyone decides to go out for ice-cream - I have to decide to stick with it. I have to make that same decision a dozen times a day, and it's hard.

Now, there is some reward in all this. Every time we stick with our diet, every time we go to the gym and bust our butts, we win. Not the war, but the daily, constant struggle. We win one more battle in the war for our health. They're small victories, the kind that a lot of people would think nothing of and brush off but for us, it's huge.

This last week I was really tested. Kathy mentioned Wednesday being hard for me. It was the first time I've ever exercised to the point of being nauseous! And to be honest, I felt like crying several times during my workout. Yeah, it was a tough one to be sure. But I lived, and this morning I almost ran into the gym, and I plowed through everything Travis could through at me.

Today I won another battle.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Feel the burn...

Kathy says:

The day I have waited with nervous anticipation for finally arrived today…today Ron and I met Travis, our new personal trainer. Travis will show us the ropes over the next six sessions, and will help us form a plan for moving forward with this new addition to our lifestyle. I was hesitant as I walked through the Goodlife doors this morning, wondering whether or not I could really do this. I mean, sure I can walk on a treadmill, but past that, could I really keep up? Do I have any muscle left under all this padding to work with? Would I be able to do everything he wanted me to, or would there be exercises I simply couldn’t do because I am so out of shape.

Well the good news is I had no real reason to worry. As any good trainer would do, Travis let me work at my speed, and to my ability. Now, that doesn’t mean he didn’t push just a little, conveniently losing count when I KNOW I completed 12 reps. and he was still at 9…giving me a ‘doing great Kathy’ when he could tell I was just about to give up…meeting my smart ass remarks about not having certain muscles required to complete certain exercises with “we’re going to find those muscles for you”. He’s good…what can I say…and by the end of my hour, I was feeling pretty darned pleased with the fact that I managed to make it around the entire 9 machine “Fit Fix” program (even if he did show some mercy and let me off with just one set of stomach crunches). I walked out of the gym today on legs that were a little wobbly knowing that I can do this…I can really do this!

Then…I sat down. Almost instantly I knew this was a mistake. Those wobbly legs kept wobbling, even as I sat there. I went to move my arms in conversation and realized they weren’t moving despite my best efforts. I leaned my head back against the chair and almost couldn’t pick it up again…thankfully my neck decided to cooperate after a few seconds of trying, because my arms certainly weren’t going to participate! I decided to get up and take a shower, stopping once on the way for another little sit down…’why over exert’ has always been my motto. Mistake number 2. An hour later, I was still sweaty and in desperate need of a hot shower, but the legs I’d propped up on a chair across from me had other ideas. In fact, my whole body did. If it wasn’t for an overwhelming hunger compelling me to get up and get some food, I’d probably still be sitting there!

The day has moved along, and the muscles loosened enough that I could get out and do things today, albeit a little slower than normal, but as I take each slightly achy step I am reminded that every twinge is another muscle letting me know it worked out today…and in some strange way, I feel like they’re all thanking me one by one. Especially the one in my lower back…that one’s especially thankful today…it can stop any time…I get it.

So session one is complete. I have a couple of days off before the next session, which is probably a good thing. But I know one thing for sure – I DO have muscles in there somewhere, and darn it, I’m going to make every single one of them pull their weight (literally) because it’s time they woke up from their 35 year nap. Man I hope they don’t stay cranky for long…

Ron says:

Well, it's been a few days since I last shared my experiences with you all. Kathy and I are still working extremely hard at achieving our new life-style goals. We have been following a somewhat hap-hazard weight loss program that is actually working! We're really losing weight! I was dreading the idea of counting calories before we started this little experiment, but we found some help - thanks to a little iPhone app called "Lose-it!".

We had our first training session with our personal trainer this past weekend. All I can say is I'm not really sure what I did to piss this guy off, but I'm pretty sure he hates me. As soon as we got past the pleasantries he started in on me. I tried to explain that I had chores to do, as it was Saturday morning when we met up. I told him I had a list of things I needed to accomplish this weekend around the house, and that I was looking for more of a ‘how to’ session. It's been almost 2 days and I'm still in a great deal of pain. Very little in the way of chores was actually accomplished this weekend...

In all seriousness, it was a good start at the gym. Kathy and I have been spending some time on the treadmill, and a few brief terrifying moments on the elliptical trainer for her. I'm pretty sure she will be looking for every excuse to NOT use it in the future.

We have 5 more sessions planned with the trainer, and then it will be up to us to keep up the momentum at the gym. I'm hoping that it becomes a habit very soon. It' a good sign that we are still really excited to buy healthier food, and are excited to get back to the gym - sans trainer. Did I mention that he hates me?