Sunday, January 29, 2012

Good bye fast food, it's been nice to know you. . .

I admit it, I really like fast food.  Really, really like it.  It is a secret passion - embarrassing, yes, but oh so yummy!  That lovely combination of fat, highly refined carbs and sugar just does something to my brain chemistry.  I have, over the years, blamed my fast food habit on my lack of cooking skills, my hatred of grocery shopping, my busy life and the fact that I do a lot of outreach work in places like Tim Horton's and McDonald's.  ( although I am pretty sure I have not done 100 pounds worth of outreach work!!!)  Truth be told, however - it is really about filling up spaces that feel empty with the easiest available junk.

It's kind of insidious - for me there is a comfort in the familiar taste, and it requires nothing of me, unlike pesky problems or people in my life.  It makes me feel good, or better yet, feel nothing.  Eating to a state of numbness can be incredibly helpful when trying to avoid the above pesky problems and people in my life.  And what's not to love about the french fry?  Aside from the fact that it is loaded with salt and fat and the fact that it is made from an actual potato is sometimes questionable?

Giving up the fast food habit has been hard.  It's a crutch, one that I have used for a long while, so there are days when leaving it behind is really hard ( like drive by the drive through 5 times hard).  But so far, so good.  There is no doubt that I still think about every time I go by - it really is like an addiction - but now that I am filling up with love and family and self respect and music and joy and laughter, there is not a whole lotta room left over for crap.  Kinda amazing actually.  And I am even starting to really enjoy all the crunchy veggies and tasty protein and filling whole grains and fresh fruit.

 I feel healthy.  I feel happy.  I FEEL. Period.  And that tastes better than any french fry.

And if you haven't seen it yet - here is the video of all the winners of the BDHQ -Over contest - apparently I am the only one NOT excited, because I am just talking away about being fat and wanting to lose weight so I can be a better ball coach!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

You SPIN me right round baby. . .

Aaaah spin class!  I had heard so much from so many people about this kind of fitness class that I was more than a little nervous when Tuesday came and it was time for my first attempt at spinning.  First let me point out that I really intensely, strongly and positively despise bike riding.  Like really don't dig it, in any way!!!!  So the thought of spending 45 minutes spinning on a bike wasn't super appealing!  Plus the fact that every workout begins with 15 minutes of warms on the bike - my bottom hurts after about 5 minutes, so I am pretty much thinking this will be hell.  Real hell. Hot,sweaty, burning, anywhere but here, hell.

I got to BDHQ and hopped on the bike - an effort in itself, because seriously people - my butt is NOT meant to sit on that tiny little seat! Large butt + teeny seat = very sore tailbone!!!  Then I discovered that my spin instructor of the day was the owner, Michele Shorter.  5'3'' and half my size - Michele is fit beyond belief and makes you work - harder than you think you are capable of, and harder than you ever thought you would!  ( She kinda scares me, but in the nicest possible way!)  Great start - spinning and Michele - she is amazing and tough, and this is gonna be a nightmare. . . .

Let the sweating begin!  I seriously have never worked that hard in any exercise class or situation - it was harder than anything I have done in a really long time.  Faster, slower, up, down, more tension, a little more tension - a little faster, a lot faster, just 5, 10, 20 , minutes more.  I was pretty sure I would throw up ( a lovely little detail!), my legs were screaming, and my heart was pounding.  Why am I doing this? I wondered.

Funny thing, though.  About 30 minutes in, I stopped thinking about how hard it was, how much my legs hurt, how hard I was breathing, and when would I be done.  I got into a groove and started thinking about how strong I was, how awesome it was that I was doing this, and that I was doing something I never thought I could do.   I almost ( ALMOST!) forgot how much my bottom was hurting.  Pretty cool.  And distracting - the last 15 minutes seemed to go, well not exactly quickly, but at least each minute didn't seem like 10!  I have just done 45 minutes of spin and now just a little abdominal work to finish off!  I worked like a sweaty machine - and here are the stunning pics to prove it:

This journey is more that I thought it would be, and a lot harder.  But it is forcing me to redefine my limits, to do more than I think I can do, and that has got to be a good thing.   I may even buy a bike.

OK -  maybe not.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thanks for coming out. . .

Remember that kid in gym who everyone laughed at, because they were fat or uncoordinated or just not athletic in any way?   That was never me.  I was never the last picked, I was always the one doing the picking.  "Thanks for coming out" - that's what my friends and I would whisper to each other about those poor kids. You see, up until I finished university I was a pretty healthy and fit chick!  I played lots of sports, never thought about what went into my mouth, because I didn't have to.  Wow, it was easy to be smug back then.

I learned a bit this week about what it must feel like to be that poor kid - out of shape and feeling a bit lost as to where to even start.  Exhausted by every effort, sweating profusely and wondering if my heart will actually explode in my chest.

Unlike that kid, though, I am blessed with an incredible group of supportive family, friends, chorus divas, colleagues, online buddies, and of course, the amazing trainers at BDHQ.  Your encouraging comments and messages are inspiring, and wonderful. Thank you.  I needed them this week when I got down to business with this whole training thing!

I started on Wednesday with "The Burnout" ( and I know that it is called that because everything burns when you are done!)  I actually took the bus in the snow to get to the class.   I walked in and was so warmly welcomed by Dawn, that I was tricked into a sense of  "I can do this".  Then I saw the tires.  Seriously.  You want me to do what with the tires?  Lift it over my head and do a squat?  More than once?  Really?

They weren't kidding.  Tires, cardio, squats - I played along, all the while praying that I wouldn't barf or cry on my first day.  This body has not been challenged by more than a trip down the stairs to get bag of chips for a long time!!!  It was hard.  Really, really hard.  And humbling.  I have a long way to go.  But man I felt great when I was done.  I felt strong, and capable - a veritable ninja of the workout world - I could lift a tire and do a squat with it and not cry, or have a heart attack, or quit because I was afraid of failing.   Thanks for coming out - no problem - I 'll be back again tomorrow.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Year of Transformation - The Beginning

I decided late last year that it was long past time for me to make some real and lasting changes in my life.  My motivation?  A few health scares, reaching my highest weight ever ( and yes I will put it out there  - a whopping 270 pounds!) and just being tired of feeling tired, not being able to do the things I once enjoyed and wanting, at 45 years old, to live for at least another 40 years.

Let's face facts - I am not "big", "voluptuous", "plump" or "plus sized" - I am fat.  Plain old, not so glamorous, damn hard to get rid of - FAT.  Time to face facts.  And the scale.  And the tape measure.  And the mirror.  The dreaded mirror.

To make a long story short - I decided to make a change - or many small and large changes, to be exact.
I signed up for an online class called Move More Eat Well, a class that incorporates healthy eating and fitness with support and my crafty passion, scrapbooking.  I researched healthy eating plans and looked at various fitness options.  And I entered a contest.

A friend encouraged me to apply for the BDHQ-Over - a year long fitness and health makeover from an amazing personal training studio here in Victoria.  One full year of personal training, indoor studio and outdoor bootcamp classes, along with a lot of other cool swag.  Sounded perfect!

The awkward part? In order to apply I had to fill in an application - not too hard, since I love to talk about myself ( hence the blogging!), and years of perfecting the fat funny girl routine gave me an edge over the competition, or so I thought!  Because being fat is completely hilarious - or at least humour makes it more tolerable!  I happily clicked send - even putting in my real weight, as frightening as that was - after all - more weight to lose mean more dramatic results right ?  ;)

But then came the nasty little note reminding me to send in a full front and side shot OF MYSELF!  Really?  Really?  You want me to stand in front of the camera and actually be in a picture - a full body picture even?  I pretty much avoid all photos of me by taking most of them and being in charge of uploading photos so I can delete any of myself - I learned my lesson following the horrifying ( for everyone) experience of Hannah taking a SERIES of shots this past summer of me leaping off the dock into the lake in my bathing suit!   Oh my gosh - call the coast guard immediately there s unidentified ship in the water.  Seriously - the photos were almost a deal breaker.

But I took them, and submitted them, and then promptly told myself I would never, ever win.  January 1st rolled around and I began my year long adventure.  Pretty good going those first two weeks - healthy eating, a little gentle walking ( why sweat when you can stroll?) and  a lot of thinking about that makeover contest thing. When the closing date of the contest arrived on January 13th, I realized how much I really wanted this - like so much I could hardly sleep over the weekend, but still telling myself I wouldn't win. Well, I was wrong!

This past Monday, January 16th, I got a call from the lovely Lovisa at BDHQ - asking me to come in for an interview - I had been shortlisted!  I was in the car and I was shaking so much I could hardly talk!  This might actually come true! 

I arrived at the studio and settled in for my interview. I was pretty nervous, but the friend who encouraged me to apply ( thanks JES!) was there visiting with her baby.  A happy coincidence!  Or so I thought. After a few general questions Lovisa told me how much they liked my application and that, in fact, I HAD WON!!!  After a series of OMG's and some tears - all caught on camera and coming to a BDHQ blog near you - it began to sink in.  I was in for the challenge, an opportunity of a lifetime.

SO of course, I have to blog about it - it is too important, too life changing, too darn fun, not to!  And there is nothing like a blog to keep me publicly accountable!  I hope you will join me in this journey - I know I will learn a ton, and change even more, and maybe you might something to learn or encourage you to make changes, as well.  At the very least you get to laugh at my efforts and hopefully amusing tales of my year of transformation.  And those pictures?  Here they are, in all their glory - time to get real - and may I never look this miserable again!