December 2009, I have an opportunity to expand my services outside the Sports Center again. This time it's an insurance company that has a fitness room in their building. Of the 90-some employees, six ladies sign up to train with me. My baseline and recurring test numbers revolve around simply a weekly weigh-in and 5-site circumference measurements. Could have gone more tech but a third party is doing the bodyfat percentages, besides women want to know two things with fitness results: weight loss & size or inches lost.
I tell clients in this demographic that one of three things will happen with embarking on a fitness/ weight loss program with me. The following are three distinctly different real world stories.
Started and ended at the same weight over the course of 2 months. Even though JD didn't experience an overall weight loss over the Christmas Holiday season she lost a total of 2 inches. What happened? JD was consistent in her workouts, She did the strength training and the interval running on treadmill as well as elliptical and recumbent bike. However, she didn't clean up her diet. Bright side was she lost inches primarily in the waist, didn't gain weight over the holidays, improved her stamina, balance, coordination and gained strength. Age mid 30's
Took off like a jackrabbit! She lost 5 pounds the first week. She did the same workout routine as JD (5 days a week, about 40 minutes each day). The difference. KB got serious about her eating habits. It became a lifestyle. Sure KB hit plateaus with weight loss and losing inches. But overall she steadily improved. After 3 months KB lost 20 pounds, lost a total of six inches on her body circumference measurements with the majority being in hips and thighs. I now have her on a 5K race training routine (keeping in mind she has exercise induced asthma) in addition to challenging her on strength training. KB proudly wears better fitting clothes- and she should be proud. Age just under 50.
The most classic story and such a great story to tell; JP made sure that I went easy on her. She gave me the laundry list of limiting conditions. Specifically, HER RUNNING DAYS ARE BEHIND HER, so just walk on treadmill and negotiate speed & elevation. With JP the workouts were modified to activities that were appropriate for her fitness level. The first six weeks JP gained 2 inches overall and gained 5 pounds. Her strength and stamina improved and arthritic knee pain was alleviating.
Here's what happened:
Increased activities stimulated increased appetite, but she didn't have the eating habits corrected yet (and yes it is a lifestyle change which takes time).
People new to strength training or re-introduced after a long hiatus will store more water in the muscles as it requires water uptake to allow the muscles to recover.
Together the increased appetite without diet modification and water intake for recovery makes for weight gain.
Next, JP turned the corner. She cleaned up her diet more than she thought she needed to… until we had some talks about the crap that is packaged and sold to us as "food" or rather belly fillers. As JP's weight began to drop and lost some inches, her confidence increased. Being in a group setting with colleagues who were also experiencing life changing results for the better, and a few ladies starting to run intervals or do the 5K training program I set up for them; JP had a "What-If" moment and tried running on the treadmill. She did just fine and the arthritic knee felt good. No flare ups. When I called JP out and reminded her what she said from the beginning about how I would not get her to ever do (RUNNING); She proceeded to reflect and we had this talk.
You know when you get to a certain point where you're at your heaviest and limiting health conditions arise, it's easy to hide inside yourself and accept that the days of fitness and being healthy are over.
It's only until you start thinking about how you take care of yourself directly affects everyone who is important to you. Being overweight comes with the burden of lack of self-esteem.
The paradox is it takes self-esteem to better yourself. This is why it is so difficult to start a fit & healthy lifestyle, in addition to the programming (habits) people have been submitting themselves to for so long.
Thankfully momentum works in both directions (like a pendulum). If you can muster up enough courage and self-preservation to commit to taking back your life, there will be immediate and encouraging results. And as the body adapts to the challenges of exercise along with eating to nourish, you will stop fighting your body and start to become in-tuned with yourself.
As JP said, "I have just experienced a new kind of freedom, realizing I can run again."
Wow! Fitness related to a feeling of freedom.
She followed up, "I was trapped inside my own body for so long." "Now it makes me wonder what else I can do." The whole emotional side of making the transition to a healthy lifestyle is that we need to address our self worth. Are you emotionally prepared to spend time and energy on improving yourself? You should be. After all you are worth it. And to put it bluntly, you are worthless to everyone else if you become so sickly out of shape that you become the one who needs cared for on a variety of levels. Contribute to others by contributing to bettering yourself.
In 3 months, JP lost 14 pounds and 6 inches. Age Lower 50's.
* Just prior to posting this, I happened to visit with JD. She is working out on her own now. The eating habits are still an issue. But she is now off of her cholesterol lowering medication. Next goal is get her blood pressure under control and go off those meds. She replied she's not sure if that will ever happen because it's genetic (whole family has high blood pressure).
My response, "JD don't play that card!" High blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes... all of these are reversible. Just need to follow the white rabbit to a new world of thinking.