My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

It’s been 2 years

2012 was a big year for me.  As it would turn out, a pivotal one in my journey.

I started going to the gym in January.  It was the first time in more than 20 years.  And the only thing I could really do was walk on the treadmill.

It was the first year of Quinte’s Biggest Loser.

I made some new friends that year.  Liz, Matt, Amy, Aidan, Andreas, Karen, and others.  All of whom have become important to me.

I started taking classes at the gym in March.  The first time ever.

2012 introduced me to a new genre of books, and I feel in love.  I don’t know why I never read fantasy books before, but at least I’m reading them now.  I’ve read books by Guy Gavriel Kay, Patrick Rothfuss, Daniel Abraham, and others.  Guy Gavriel Kay is now one of my favourite authors of all time, and some of his books are on my list of favourites of all time.

2012 brought me to the world of races in July.  I may have only walked my very first one, and I may have only done 1 that year, but I’m kind of hooked on them now.  And I hope I will just keep getting better at them.

2012 found me having the greatest success in my journey up to that point.  I had lost more weight than I ever had before.  I found strength I never knew I had.  I was feeling better than I ever had in my entire life.

2012 found me facing new challenges.

The gym I had joined at the beginning of the year was forced to close.  I had only been there 6 months.  I was devastated.  I wasn’t sure I would be comfortable anywhere else.  But I quickly found a new gym that I liked and was comfortable at.

For many years, I used food for comfort and for dealing with stress.  I had to find a new way to deal with that.  I did, although some days it’s still a struggle.

2012 is also the year I met Tyler, who would become an intricate part of my journey.

He was teaching the stretch class I started taking at the gym.  A couple weeks later, I added a second class he was teaching.  He was funny and a little goofy.  I was very nervous when I started the classes.  I couldn’t do a lot of the exercises, but I always tried.  Tyler made me feel very at ease, very comfortable.  I liked that.

I found out he was a personal trainer.  A few weeks after taking his classes, I asked him if he was taking new clients.  I was scared to ask.  Lucky for me, he said yes. We arranged a time to get together.

2 years ago today, we had our first workout together.

I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure how much he would be able to help me, but I knew I needed some help.

He changed my life in more ways that I ever thought possible.

He showed me I was capable of much more than I realized.

He helped me build confidence I didn’t know I had.

He helped open my eyes to a world I didn’t think I could be a part of.

And beyond being my trainer, he has become a very dear friend.

For all that and so much more, I thank him every day.

Thank you, Tyler, for everything … for all that I thanked you for last year, for all that you’ve done since, and for all you continue to do.  I’m lucky to have you in my life, both as my trainer and as my friend.

Happy Anniversary.

 

 

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Numbers

I haven’t talked much about numbers in my posts.  When I started this blog, it was mainly for a way to keep myself accountable and to get stuff out on my head.  I didn’t talk about my weight in numbers for a couple of reasons.  To be honest, it was mainly because I was ashamed of the number.  And it was also because I didn’t want to be judged because of it.  I didn’t want someone to read my blog and not connect with what I was saying simply because I weighed a lot more than they did.  I don’t know if that makes any sense to you, but at the time, it did to me.  After I’d been writing for a while, it just sort of slipped my mind that I’d never really talked about it here.  When I talk to people face to face, I talk about numbers.  I tell them the whole story of my journey.  So I’m not sure why I’ve been reluctant to talk about it here.  Well I’m now ready to change that.

I have been overweight almost my entire life.  I had really bad asthma as a kid and that limited my activities.  I was also a very shy kid and, consequently, had few friends.  Food became my comfort.  I really starting gaining weight when I was about 5 years old.  And each year, I gained more and more.  When I was about 12, my parents took me to the doctor, who put me on a very restrictive diet.  It didn’t last long.  As a teen, I tried to eat better and exercise more, but again, it didn’t last long.  In my 20s, I joined a gym with my roommate.  I had some pretty good success.  Until I hit my first plateau.  And then money got tight and we had to stop going to the gym.  When I got married, my husband and I tried to eat better.  But he’s a vegetarian and I’m not, and eating out and tv dinners became easier.  By 2009, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I weighed approximately 430 pounds.

You read that right — approximately 430 pounds.  I say “approximately” because I avoided the scale as much as I could.  And a lot of scales didn’t even go that high.  That’s why I don’t have an exact number there.

It was the year I turned 39 years old.

It was the year I knew that enough was enough.  If I planned on sticking around for a while, I knew that I had to make changes.

And I did.

Changing how I ate had an immediate impact.  So did having the surgery to get rid of the cancer.  And after I recovered from that and started moving more, I saw even more of an impact.

I quickly lost about 50 pounds.  I was so excited about that!  Never before had I had such success.

I went up and down for the next couple of years.  Losing some, gaining some back.  But never again was I over 400 pounds though.  That was a triumph in my books!  It was the most success I had ever had losing weight ever!

In January 2012, at a follow up with my oncologist, I weighed in at 373 pounds.  This was also right around the time of the first season of Quinte’s Biggest Loser.

In March 2012, at the end of Quinte’s Biggest Loser, and around the time I started working with Tyler, I had lost about another 15 pounds.

In June 2012, when I saw my regular doctor, I was down to 328 pounds.

By October 2012, when I saw my doctor again, and after having worked with Tyler for about 6 months, I was down to 296 pounds.  It was the first time I’d been under 300 pounds in a very very long time.

By January 2013, when the second season of Quinte’s Biggest Loser began, I was down to 282 pounds.

At the end of Quinte’s Biggest Loser in March 2012, and after working with Tyler for almost a year, I was down to 251 pounds.  I can’t even remember the last time I weighed that.

In June 2012 when I saw my oncologist again, I was down to 240 pounds.  To say he was very happy with me would be an understatement LOL.

Now this is where things got rough for me.  I hit a plateau.  A big one.  And I haven’t been able to break away from it.

Tyler went off to finish his degree at university.  He left me with instructions to follow, and he sent me videos for a while.  But I’ve basically been on my own.

I haven’t not made much progress with the scale.  My cardio is getting better.  My strength has gone up.  But the scale isn’t really moving.

Plus, I let myself get a little out of control over the holidays.  Bad idea.

I’m struggling to find the balance, but I’m working on it.

I’m currently sitting at about 250 pounds.

I’m trying hard not to focus on the number.  It tends to stress me out.

I’m trying to focus on eating as clean as I can.

I’m trying to focus on how I feel and how my clothes fit.

And I’m trying to remember that eventually I will bust off this plateau and the scale will start moving again in the right direction.

In the meantime, I’m just doing the best I can do.

And this year I’ll turn 44 years old.

And I feel better than I ever have.

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Being on a plateau

Anyone who’s been on a weight loss journey knows that plateaus happen. And they know that being on one sucks.

For me, it’s a time when I really being to doubt myself. I try and try and try, but the scale doesn’t seem to want to move. I try to remember that it’s only temporary. I try to remind myself that I’m building muscle as I’m losing weight, and as long as I’m still losing inches, it’s okay. But some days it’s hard. Some days I just want to give up, throw in the towel.

I’ve been on a plateau now for about 3 months. And I hate it. I’m so frustrated some days. I’m not giving up, but it’s hard. There are days that I really struggle. But I’m doing my best to hold on. I have promises to keep. I intend to keep fighting until I win the war.

I’m pushing myself as hard as I can. A little too hard in the case of my cardio as it turns out. At the beginning of July, I amped up my cardio. I started walking a lot faster on the treadmill, and trying to increase my jogging speed and time. Well last week my right foot seemed to decide enough was enough. I started having pains in my arch. It seemed to be fine all day, even through my strength training, until about 30 minutes into my cardio when the pains would start. I happen to already have a doctor appointment scheduled, so I talked to him about it while I was there. He thinks I’m forcing it too much, that I need to slow down. Short burst of speed are fine, but extended periods are putting too much pressure on my arch. He suggested I get arch supports for my shoes and to slow down. And to let him know if it gets worse.

While I’m happy it doesn’t seem to be too bad, I’m disappointed in myself. I should have known better. I know that I can’t go from 0 to 60 like a car. I need to build up to faster and longer speeds. I need to stop being in such a hurry to get to the finish line. I’m anxious to get off this plateau, to move to the next level. But I need to do it safely. I need to stop looking for the quick fix. I need to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. As Tyler always tells me, “slow and steady wins the race.”

This plateau won’t last forever. Soon the scale will start to go down again. I just need to stay calm and train on. I need to keep eating as clean as I can. I need to continue my daily workouts. I need to continue to believe in myself. And if I have a bad day, I need to pick myself up, dust myself off, and try again.

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Quinte’s Biggest Loser – update to results

So I just had to make another post about this years Quinte’s Biggest Loser contest.

When I posted about the final weigh-in, the overall results were not out yet. I knew I wouldn’t win, and I was okay with that. But I was curious to see where I’d finish. To my great surprise, I finished 10th!! I was overwhelmed. I didn’t think I’d do that well, but so happy!

So, of course, my next question was 10th out of how many? Well this year, there was 180 people in the contest. That made me even more proud of myself. I worked really hard this year, and it paid off.

And I also got another bit of exciting news. Since the start of the competition last year, I’ve lost more than 34% of my body weight! That’s the most of any contestant. I’m pretty proud of that too.

At the final weigh-in, they take “after” photos. I used to hate having my picture taken. But I’m actually starting to like it. They took a couple of me by myself, and then I convinced Tyler to take a few with me. They turned out pretty good. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on them.

Although the contest is now over for this year, that doesn’t mean I’m letting up. I still have farther to go on my journey. And I’m not going to stop now.

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Quinte’s Biggest Loser – Final weigh-in

So today was the day. The final weigh-in for Quinte’s Biggest Loser 2013.

I was a little nervous, but excited too. I’ve been working really hard and I was hoping the scale would reflect that. I wanted to see a good number.

As always, I headed to the gym this morning for my own last chance workout before heading to the weigh-in. I did a good hard hour on the elliptical. I know it was a good workout because I was sweating buckets by the end LOL. While Tyler was busy with his last client of the day, I showered and changed into something nice since they were going to be taking “after” photos. The blouse I picked to wear, I bought fairly recently, but is already a little big on me. I love that! Time to go shopping again!

So anyway, Tyler and I get down to the hospital for the weigh-in. I’m still a little nervous, but trying not to show it. Off come my shoes before stepping on the scale. I step on and kind of hold my breath waiting for the number to come up. And when it does, I’m very happy! I couldn’t stop smiling! And I will admit, I had a few tears welling up. Down another 11 pounds!! That means during the contest I’ve lost 31 pounds! I’m super happy with that!

I know I won’t take the title, but it’s okay. I win anyway. I’m winning a better life. I still have a ways to go before I reach my ultimate goal, but I’m closer each day. Every workout, every healthy meal brings me that much closer. And days like today help keep me motivated to continue this journey. I’m excited to see just how far I can go. With the continued support of my family and friends, I’m sure I will get to where I want to be. And with the help of the best trainer in the world, of course. Thank you, Tyler, for everything.

I’ve already committed to participate next year. And I’m even considering mentoring someone next year. Maybe I can get Tyler to team up with me on that 🙂

Today has been a good day 🙂

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Quinte’s Biggest Loser – 3rd weigh-in

So Tuesday was the 3rd weigh-in for the Quinte’s Biggest Loser contest. It’s been 3 weeks since the last weigh in. I’ve been working really hard so I was hoping for a good number.

As usual, I headed to the gym for a last chance workout before heading to the weigh-in. I did a double workout in Monday, so I was a bit sore when I woke up. On Monday, I had my normal workout with Tyler, but I didn’t have a very good cardio session. So I made myself go back Monday night. I did more cardio but then I was asked to workout with the dragon boat rowing team. OMG! It was a killer workout! My muscles were sore before I even left the gym. Those people are amazing athletes. Anyway, I did the best I could with my cardio on Tuesday, then headed home for a little rest.

After resting for a bit, I headed down to the weigh in. It’s less than a mile from my house, so I walked. It was a relatively nice day out, although a bit chilly. I made pretty good time too.

As usually, I was nervous getting on the scale. And I’m down another 7 pounds. While I’m glad I lost more, I was really hoping for a better number than that. I was a little disappointed. Did I not work hard enough? What more could I have done? Did I eat as clean as I could have? All sorts of questions go through my head. I tried not to dwell, but it’s hard. I’m still down and that’s good. In total, I’m down 20 pounds since the competition started 2 months ago. I think that’s pretty good. And I have to keep telling myself that.

So the last weigh in is 2 weeks away. Gotta really kick it up. I need to finish strong. I know I won’t win the title, but that’s okay. I’m winning a better life.

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Quinte’s Biggest Loser – 2nd weigh-in

So today is the 2nd weigh-in for the Quinte’s Biggest Loser contest. I’ve been working really hard, so I was really hoping for a good number.

I started the day by getting to the gym early for a last chance workout before heading to the weigh in. I had my best time on the stair stepper today — 35 minutes without stopping! (I only stopped at 35 minutes because I really had to go to the bathroom LOL). Then I did 17 minutes on the stationary bike, another personal best. I’m not very good on the bike yet, but I’m trying. I wanted to switch to the elliptical after that, but they were all being used, so I settled for the treadmill. I walked at a fairly brisk pace, and then did a little jogging. I managed to get 38 minutes in before I had to stop so I could down to the weigh-in.

I did have to stop for a minute at one point because someone walked by me wearing so much cologne that I thought I was going to puke! OMG! Why do some people find it necessary to bath in their cologne?! Seriously, have some respect for others around you! Okay, sorry, just had to get that out of my system.

I was a little nervous when Tyler and I got down to the hospital for the weigh-in. Like I said, I’ve been working really hard, but I started thinking maybe I didn’t work hard enough, maybe I should have pushed harder. So I get on the scale, and to my delight, it said I was down almost 13 pounds!! So excited! I was hoping for at least 10, so to see more than that was just awesome! That’s almost as much as I lost during the whole contest last year. And in addition, I’m also down 2.6 inches at my waist!

There is still lots of time in the competition, so I have to keep pushing hard. I may not actually win the title, but I still win in the end. I win a better life, a healthier life.

Some days I still struggle, but not today. Today has been a pretty amazing day. And I’m feeling pretty damn good 🙂

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Quinte’s Biggest Loser – 2 weeks in

So Season 2 of Quinte’s Biggest Loser has begun. Since we just finished the second week, I thought I’d post an update.

So how’s it going so far?

Pretty good I think. I’m pushing myself harder than I ever have before. I’m trying to incorporate new things into my workouts as well.

The most exciting thing I’ve done so far is learning to jog. That might seem like a simple thing, but let me tell you, it is not! At least not when you’re overweight. But I’m actually liking it! I mostly jog on the treadmill for now. I’ve only been able to jog outside once so far, mainly because it is winter and freezing outside! Hopefully once it warms up a little bit, I’ll be out there again. I’m really looking forward to that!

I’m pushing my cardio harder as well. In addition to the treadmill, I’m incorporating the stair stepper, the recumbent bike, the elliptical, and the rowing machine.

I’m also keeping a big eye on my nutrition. I’m being extra careful about what I eat and how much, but still making sure I’m eating enough. I’m trying to change things up a bit by adding new healthy foods in, and changing up what I have for meals as well as snacks. I’m not super good at knowing what the best foods are, but there are a bunch of apps that I can use. And of course, I have friends helping with that as well.

Am I losing weight? Yes, a bit. Not as much as I’d like, but every little bit counts. I’m sure I’m building muscle, which is a good thing in the long run. I’m off to a bit of a slow start, but hopefully things will start moving a little quicker soon.

The next weigh-in is in 3 weeks so I have a little time to catch up, but not a lot. I need to get my butt in gear! I want to do well at this. I want to do much better than I did last year. I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going.

And if anyone has any tips for me, I’d love to hear them!!

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The right mindset

My friend Sean and I were chatting the other day during our workout. We were talking about how some people are successful and some are not in their weight loss journey. And what it takes to be successful.

In my opinion, you need to have the right mindset.

I’ve been overweight almost my entire life. I was bullied in school because of it. I missed out on a lot of cool things growing up because of it. I tried many times over the years to do something about it. And I’d have some short term success, but I would ultimately fail. And I truly believe it’s because my mind was not in the right place, although I admit I didn’t know that at the time. It took me years to come to that realization.

You really have to want to succeed. You have to want it so bad that nothing will stop you. One of my favourite sayings goes like this:

“If you really want it, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”

I was really good at finding excuses. I wasn’t in it to win it, as the saying goes.

But this time it’s different. This time I’m finding real success. And I know it’s because I have the right mindset. I want it more than I have ever wanted anything ever! I want to succeed this time. I want to prove I can do it. I want to be a better version of me.

And that’s another aspect of being in the right mindset. You really have to want to do it for yourself. It’s nice if you want to do it for others as well, but if YOU don’t want it, chances are, you will fail.

I do want it for me. I’m happy my husband is happy. I’m happy my doctors are happy. I’m happy my family and friends are happy. But most important, I’m happy. And it really makes a difference.

It’s about time I become the best version of me that I can. And I’m well on my way.

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Why do I do it?

Why do I put myself through a tough workout?
Why do I have a personal trainer?
Why do I get up 5 mornings a week and head to the gym?
Why do I push myself so hard?
Why do I expect so much of myself?
Why do I eat as healthy as I can?
Why haven’t I given up?

Because I want to be healthier person.
Because I want to be strong.
Because I want to be able to say I did it.
Because I want to see how far I can go.
Because I want to wear “regular” sized clothes.
Because I want to learn new things.
Because I want to look in the mirror and love who I see.
Because I don’t ever want to sit in another doctors office and listen to him tell me I’m sick.
Because I don’t want to have to ask for a seatbelt extension when I fly.
Because I want to be the best person I possibly can be.
Because I love the feeling when I do something I’ve never been able to do before.
Because I love surpassing expectations, mine or anyone else’s.
Because I love making a goal and then shattering it.
Because I want to be sexy.
Because I have goals to reach.
Because I want to mark things off my bucket list.
Because I want to prove to all those who doubted me that they are wrong.
Because I don’t want to take medications for the rest of my life.
Because I want the rest of my life to be a very very long time.

Sometimes when I’m having a hard time and I’m struggling through my workouts, I remind myself of things on this list. This list is far from complete. I think of new reasons all the time. And when I forget, I have friends who help remind me.

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