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A New Me

On Tuesday I joined my local YMCA. This decision was inspired by several factors:

  1. When Dale and I were on vacation there were lots of full length mirrors in our various hotel rooms. Lots. That meant I got a good look at myself, something I don’t get to do at home since we only have 1 full length mirror and it’s in the bathroom and I pretty much ignore it. I was not happy with what I saw and I couldn’t help but wonder how the hell I let myself get to this point.
  2. My 25th college reunion was last weekend. I did not attend. Why? Because I hate the way I look. I know that people who would judge me for this aren’t really my friends, blah blah blah, but still, I did not go because I am fat. And ashamed.
  3.  That dress I bought last week? The one I’m knitting a shawl for so that I can cover my arms? It’s a size 20. A size 20, people. I cannot continue to be a size 20 and this has to be the one and only piece of clothing I buy in that size.
  4. The View on Monday was called The Fat Show. Helloooooo, Carole? Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Those four things, in conjunction with a personal day from work, came together in my head and a decision was made. It was kind of a snap decision but I went with it and I joined up. I had my first appointment with my personal trainer that very afternoon. She was awesome! We went over my goals – my short term goal is to lose 10 pounds by the 4th of July – and my feelings. I told her I need her to kick my ass and not let me be lazy about this. She said, ‘you’ve taken the hardest step, you’ve started.” And I told her she was wrong because that’s just not true for me. The hardest thing for me to do is to keep at it. I start out strong and motivated and excited. And then a few weeks go by and the scale hasn’t dropped and I wonder why I’m bothering if nothing has really changed and that’s when I quit.

Not this time, though. This time I am going to turn it around. I am going to become a person who exercises. I am going to become a person who jogs. I am going to become a person who is fit. And at some point, I’m not sure just when but definitely at some point, I am going to run a 5K with my friends.

I’m counting on all of you, my blog readers, to encourage me and keep me on track and help me to not lose sight of my goals.


This Post Has 76 Comments

  1. You have inspired me at just the right time! I swear–the words you wrote could have come out of my mouth! I don’t know how many occasions I have not participated in because of how I look. I hope that we both feel better about our bodies in the future, and actually feel better period.

  2. Carole You hold me too it as well! Ive been on my bike for about 10 days now…but I have to keep it up and eat way more vegetables

  3. I had the same conversation (pretty much) with my doc this morning at my yearly exam (always do it around my bday so I don’t forget) and with Dan earlier this week. Until about five years ago, I never had a weight problem. I’m heavier now than I was fully pregnant with any of my boys and I HATE the way I look. Maybe we could do this together from afar. I’ve had the July 2009 Prevention magazine open to a walk/run training plan for a couple of days now. Maybe we could do this together from afar.

  4. I applaud you for starting the process. I’ve been exercising seriously for several years now and my body and brain thank me all of the time. I still see parts of my body that I can’t stand but honestly, I am just happier and less anxious when I exercise.

  5. You GO Carole! This is a goal that you can reach and I bet there are a few of us out here that are reaching for it too. Good for you.

  6. Good for you! I’ve lost 26 lbs. and my total cholesterol has gone from 214 to 134 in 6 months by becoming a fat free vegan-and I’ll be 59 in a couple of weeks!! There is a new book out called, “The Starch Solution” by Dr. John McDougall with 100 recipes in it that’s just wonderful, and you’ll not only EASILY lose weight, but regain your TOTAL health. Please check it out because losing weight isn’t everything.

  7. You have definitely struck a chord here, and you’ve gotten lots of good advice. When I had my epiphany, seeing myself in hotel mirrors, I went back to Weight Watchers.

    I’ve been at it a year, and I’m down 35 pounds. I look okay, but could still benefit from losing another 25. I will keep at it, because I’ve learned wise eating doesn’t have an “end date”, when the diet is over.

    I walk for exercise, but would benefit from the gym during the usual winter weather we have here. I wish you all the best, and everyone here who loves you would love to be the one you call for encouragement. Progress—-not perfection!!

  8. Good for you! Not only was it a big step actually joining the Y but talking about it here. You have the right attitude and I know you will feel great. Just remember, after it’s over (whether it was your best or worst), you’ll never regret any workout.

  9. I missed this yesterday, but I am much the same. I joined Jazzercise last September, which has been good for me because exercise has to be something I pay for so that I’ll feel I’m not getting my money’s worth if I don’t go. Once I’m there, I’m fine. Trouble is, exercising more has become an excuse to eat more. Can’t seem to keep my grubby paws off the sweets. I need to find some way of either eating lower-calorie stuff or eating less. Preferably both.

  10. Well, I’ll be cheering for you. Weight and fitness can be such a struggle, especially at the start of a fitness plan. Once you start seeing improvement, the improvement itself helps so much with motivation, but getting to that point – well, yay you!! Go, Carole, go! You can do it!

  11. Oh, Carole. I could have written this too. You are so brave to have found the words and share this with us. Love you!

    I’m learning and have learned a lot over the past year about sticking too it. A little story first — a year ago, after having signed up for numerous 5K and either not gone or gone and walked, I said to Lino, “do you think I can run ________ (fill in) 5K?” After having said, “sure, honey” for years, his truthful answer this time was “no.” I asked why — he said, “because you lack committment.” While I then proceeded on a tear about how much I do around the house/kids/work, I thought about it. He was dead-on. I lacked committment to my physical well-being. I was not putting the time in for me.

    So, a couple of things that have worked for me.

    Plan a race. The one Claudia linked is in September, which gives you plenty of time. A concrete, tangible goal. I started Couch-2-5K in the early Spring and ran that first 5K on July 4th. Prior to the 5K, the most I had run was 2.25 miles. So, even if you think it will take a while to build up (and it does!), put a race on your calendar. And let us know so that we can all join you!

    Two. I have a pretty calendar and write my work outs and races down on the calendar. It’s nice to see how much is on there — it’s also nice to see, when I’m nervous, that I’ve done a lot of training and am ready. Visual is good.

    Three. As Elizabeth said and as Claudia has reminded me, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. Just cannot be done. That’s the sucky truth. So, exercise is one big part. But, diet has to follow. Interestingly, this part for me has been the hardest this time.

    Food. Make sure it’s healthy, easy and within reach. I always have a lot of fruit in my house, along with deli turkey, chopped lettuce, Laughing Cow light cheeses, greek yogurt (0%). When I eat snack foods, and I do, I count them out. I measure out my wine and drink light beer. Also, be mindful o of your setting. If you are in the kitchen and reaching for chips, get OUT of the kitchen. If a cake is calling your name at a party, go get a drink. You can’t always move the food, but you can move away from the food.

    Remember, I am in this with you and so many of us are working to make our bodies heathier and, honestly, hotter! 🙂 xoxoxo

  12. Good for you!!! I’m with you, the first day is easy. To keep going, doing, is the hard part.

    My size 20 jeans are too tight. I refuse to buy a size 22.

  13. That’s awesome. It’s great that you’re prioritizing your health, and there’s nothing wrong with also wanting to lose weight for vanity reasons. Exercise is great, but – oh, I don’t want to be in any way unsupportive when I say this but – it just doesn’t work that well for most people without changes in diet. I’ll just tell you about my experience and I really hope I’m not coming across as preachy, but instead sharing something that changed my life and my battles with weight in a happy, sustainable way, and gave me the energy to want to exercise so I didn’t have to force myself to do it.

    For years I struggled with some extra weight and I ate what I thought I was supposed to, lots of grains, low fat, little sugar, and it didn’t work. I just kept putting on weight. 3 years ago I made a big change. Now I eat what’s called a paleo diet, which focuses on meat/seafood, veggies, fruits, and nuts, and cuts out grains, legumes, and dairy. (Another interpretation is called primal and includes high-fat dairy.) There are lots of ways to customize it, but I end up eating unlimited amounts, fairly high fat, and moderate carbs. If it sounds hard, well, I’ve eaten paleo for the last 3 years with no falling off the wagon, through a pregnancy and breastfeeding, and I love it. It gives me energy, has fixed a bunch of health problems, and makes it easy to keep weight off.

    You probably are already getting lots of diet advice, but it’s kind of what you’ve always heard, right? Counting calories and all that. The reason the advice we’ve always heard doesn’t seem to work is not lack of willpower or any of that nonsense. You are a reader, so I highly suggest Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat (or his much longer tome, Good Calories, Bad Calories). I also highly recommend Mark Sissons’ The Primal Blueprint (or his website as a place to learn more. And one more very inspirational reference is Stacy at Her story is really great. Or you can always email me. I hate to see people struggle with weight when I’ve seen so many people get healthy switching to paleo and be happy while they do it. It just breaks my heart when people blame themselves and there is another way, not a fad diet but a sensible approach to food based on what we actually evolved to eat.

    Anyway, I really struggled with whether to write this because everyone thinks they already know everything about nutrition and adding to the chorus sounds judgmental or preachy. But everything I thought I knew about nutrition was wrong, and when I changed my mindset and tried something different, it was amazing and I want to share that with people. Anyway, don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions. I’m not selling anything, I just feel very passionate about this issue and I hate to see that you are feeling bad about yourself when you seem like such a cool person.

  14. Hang in there! I think a lot of us have trouble with maintaining something, even though we can start off with lots of enthusiasm and great intentions – I know I do!

  15. Good luck, and I know you will keep at it. With all these people to poke at you, how can you fail? 🙂
    Please don’t sweat the small stuff though. A pint (pint!) of water weights 1 1/4 pounds. Little fluctuations don’t mean anything.

  16. Good for you, Carole! I agree that starting is very easy and sticking with it is the tough part. I am guilty of many “false” starts. I am also trying to find a way to get in better shape to improve back problems. Eating better and exercising regularly are both part of the solution. Keep on going and reach out on the blog if you need some encouragement!

  17. Carole,
    The best of luck to you. I have been on this journey too. In my case (totally clumsy non-athlete, in her mid-50s) a skilled and watchful trainer that was patient and always encouraging made the difference. In addition to our twice-weekly sessions he assigned me homework and made me keep a book. That gave me guidance I badly needed, and I did not want to have to confess that I had not done my assignments (although sometimes I had to). For making a big change in your life twice-weekly sessions are not enough — try to do something 5 days a week. Maximum effort with the trainer, a little easier on your own. You can do it! The sense of accomplishment is a lovely thing.

  18. Go, Carole! I got off my butt when I heard a doctor say it’s better to be an active smoker than an inactive nonsmoker because that’s how important being active is.

    My husband and I are doing a no sugar, no flour, no meat diet for 60 days. I highly recommend green smoothies with fruit. Sweet, filling, healthy and low-cal.

  19. Hey Carole,
    My husband had the same epiphany that you did about two months ago. I’d like to share some of his journey with you. He adores food and loves to make beer. He once named a red ale after me, “One Way Red.”

    He has been on a focused mission to change how he eats and he now uses the treadmill at least once a day – usually twice. One of the tools that helped him is Body fit Media He loves it and uses it throughout the day. It helps him make decisions about what to eat and how much to exercise. There were a few days that he actually used the treadmill three times a day to balance what he ate.

    He is getting fantastic results and he is doing extraordinarily well. He has boundless energy. This morning I had to tell him to “please throttle back.”

    I wish you the best with your journey! I know you will be able to keep it fun!

  20. I hear you! This is a big part of why I started c25k again — I find myself creeping into size 16s for the first time ever and that is Not Okay. Plus, I get awfully winded on my favorite hike (to the beaver pond at our local wildlife management area) and I would really, REALLY like to be able to do it without getting all huffy and puffy! I’m with you, too — the keeping going is the hardest part. I really wish I had a local exercise buddy to keep me honest.

  21. Standing 100% behind you. For me, it wasn’t a mirror, it was a bad back, but it matters not what pushes you to it, just that you’re pushed.
    YOU CAN DO THIS. Email anytime if you need a bit of moral support.

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