lem’me ask you a question

Rachel:  staring down the last 5 weeks of personal training

this photo pictured here is NOT me, yet.

It’s a funny thing, losing weight. I’ve traded a lot in for this weight, stuff I never thought I’d be able to get rid of. So far I’ve traded size 22s for size 16s. I’ve traded in a lot of self doubt and frustration for confidence and some crazy-ass idea of who I can become. I’ve traded emails and notes with people who want to know my “secret.” The question often goes something like this:

Question: I am curious, what weight loss program you are doing? I know you are eating clean but if you could give me a better idea [what that means] that would be great.

The answer is always the same’ish:  I am doing the good old fashioned kind: diet and exercise. First, I am working out 3-4 times a week, 3 with a personal trainer and once—if I can get to it—using the scientific 7-minute workout. I’ve mentioned it before, I am not inclined this way—you know athletically—so finding the right gym/class/personal trainer was HUGE. Then I (actually we) are eating 5 times a day: Low carb and low sugar, high protein. For the first three months I was NO sugar/dairy/gluten/fruit. This means I cut out and detoxed from some serious favorites: potatoes, white rice, bread, cheese (yes I work for the twin cities best pizza joint, and no it wasn’t easy), and ummmm … did I mention fruit? Right. It was extreme, but totally doable. Anything is doable when you know it will deliver the results you want, if you want it bad enough.

I’ve learned A LOT. Now that I understand better the relationships I have to food, their nutrition or lack thereof, I make better choices. I’ve added a little cheese/dairy and some fruit (1/4 cup of blueberries, 6 strawberries, an apple). And even a little sugar; sometimes a spoonful of jello (that just happened BTW) or some brown sugar on my oat bran. All of it, of course, in moderation.

I have a protein shake in the morning after working out or as a late meal replacement (called isopure from GNC, low carb dutch chocolate is the kind I have, its not as gross as many others). Then the rest is basically veggies (cooked and raw, from arugula to zucchini and everything in between) and lean meat in 4 oz portions. Also, I use an app to track what I eat. Knowing what is going in, how many calories and fat and carbs and protein and sugars, really helps make good choices. Or at least better choices when I know I can’t make my meals or I want to go be social with friends.

So far I love the results—not always the process—of the trades I’ve made. Magic bullet it isn’t. Hard work, it is. So why all the babbling suddenly after being silent for a while? Well friends, we are coming down to our last 5 weeks of training at Forte Fitness, and frankly, I am freaking out. I spent the day mapping out my workout options. I know me. I know—like smoking—I am one drag, one puff away from all of this going away, reverting back to fatty fatty bo-ba-latty-ville. No, we haven’t written lately, but its not for lack of progress. We’ve had amazing progress. Ratchet and I are BOTH down 50 pounds (give or take the inevitable period weight gain or weekend of bad choices). We look visibly different. We feel better. Not mind-blowingly amazing and full of energy, but better.

Which means we have a ways to go. Lazy friends who have been through this before: I want to hear from you. What was your turning point? When did you stop fearing yourself, your old nature and lean into feeling better? Do you / did you ever stop? Tell me a story.


7 thoughts on “lem’me ask you a question

  1. we should seriously sit down for some coffee or tea and talk about this. when i finally stopped losing, i think it finally hit me that the thing i had wanted most for YEARS and had never thought would happen, had happened. and it was freaky. it was so hard to know what to do with that, especially given all the crazy things people would say to me about my body. then i just thought i’m going to enjoy this! maintaining an exercise routine and good eating was not that hard after adjusting to it. but the same old tendencies are still there. on days when i felt like i couldn’t gain it back or was stressed or sad (or winter seemed to not end), i would eat that donut! i would have that beer! which didn’t work out so well. so the work doesn’t stop, the vigilance doesn’t end, but it’s somehow not as terrible keeping weight off as it was wishing i was fitter, thinner, healthier. also now my body is way more sensitive to junk–sugar, caffeine, alcohol–and my tolerance for feeling bad is a lot lower. so i just don’t really want to feel bad, so i am motivated by that as well. those are just my thoughts. . . i’m so impressed with all your hard work and your results! there is a forte across the street from my studio, i think of you both every time i see the huge shirtless dude in the window.

  2. Keep journaling! And journal the exercise not just the food. The exercise calories are the money in the bank for when you need a withdraw for the single piece of pizza or the single beer with friends. Watch your bank account – exercise is value!

  3. I think if I have learned anything (so far) on my journey to better wellness and fitness, it’s how diet and exercise go hand in hand for me. If I back off on my workouts, my eating is not so great. And I start from the place of not eating well, those are the times I don’t show up at the gym. It’s a balance for me. And I keep waiting for some obsessive-compulsive behavior to kick in on the exercise side of things and it hasn’t happened (yet).

    And to speak to the journaling your exercise suggestion…I love putting my exercise into the app I use and seeing the difference it makes.

  4. Rachel–I wanted to post on this right when I read it but we were on vacation and in between this crazy little (not!) move. Your post just resonated with me a lot. I have had a bit of experience with what you’re asking. In fact, I still think about it quite often.

    I started my weight loss journey in August of 2010. I hit my goal (65 pound loss) in November of 2011. So I have maintained this loss for about 1 year and 8 months. It is WAY longer than I’ve ever had success maintaining a weight loss in my life. And some days I am just scared to death that I can’t do this and might gain some or all of it back. But somewhere along the way the things I learned just became my new “normal”. It’s not that I don’t crave Ben and Jerry’s anymore or don’t drool at the candy aisle at Trader Joe’s (oh yes I do) but I just know how I feel if I eat that stuff. I am able to see past that immediate craving. Sometimes I do give in but it is rare and it has to be something I’m dying for and willing to exercise for the next day. I try to plan my treats. I keep things around that I really do love that are much healthier options. And I don’t let a bad eating night turn into a bad week.

    I think I spent the first 9 months of weight maintenance in a bit of a fearful state…but this past year it has become much easier. I no longer believe I can’t do this. I actually believe in my ability to be healthy. My biggest issue now is believing that this is good enough and I don’t need to keep losing weight. I always said I’d stop at the top number of my BMI range. That’s exactly where I’m at. But I guess we always want just a little more…even if we’re mostly happy with our progress. I am practicing being content. I think my body likes this place. I’m never gonna be a bikini body babe.

    I think the two biggest things that have contributed to my success are: 1) tracking my food and exercise every day–I rarely take days off from that; and 2) never doing any exercise that was not something I could continue with for years to come. I didn’t want to work out 2 hours a day while losing weight and then quit as soon as I lost it all. I wanted to do something I could maintain forever…and actually enjoy.

    I have really enjoyed reading about your progress (and karen’s). You two are doing a great job! I think you’re going to be just fine after the 6 months of training is over. You’ve both made new habits and you have each other for accountability. Way to go!


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