The one in which I get a little mushy…or may that’s just sweat in my eye

I should have written this post weeks ago.  No excuses.  It’s just belated.  But now it’s done. I owe a big thank you to my trainers and my friends at my gym.  This is my thank you note….with a tiny bit of marathon reflection.

I have lost over 100 pounds.  It has taken me around 18 months to finally hit that milestone, beginning at my highest weight in September 2012 and busting through to a 102 pound loss at the scales in March 2014.  My real journey began in January 2013 when I joined Fitness Protection Program and started a challenge with a bunch of friends from The Little Light House.  I had maintained a 10 pound loss since September, but I made real lifestyle changes that January.

Lots of people think that my weight loss came as a result of working out every day.  That helped, of course. But anyone who has lost any amount of weight knows that the real work happens outside of the gym.  It takes discipline to wake up early every morning to work hard…weights, cardio and crazy things like burpee challenges and becoming a runner. (I’m totally smiling here at the fact that I just openly admitted that I’m a runner.)  I read a quote that says anyone can go to the gym 1 hour a day.  It’s having self control the other 23 hours of the day that makes the difference.  True story.

Ok, but what I really want this post to be about is the fact that my gym played a MAJOR role in my weight loss success.  I know, I know, I just said it’s not the exercise, it’s the eating.  Well, actually it’s both.  But in fact, it’s more.  And so I want to get a little sappy and dedicate this post to my fabulous trainers, Julie & Kasey.  And the fabulous members of Fitness Protection Program.  No way can I name them all…and so I won’t even try.  But thank you…

thank you…
for seeing me as an individual, with specific goals and never even hinting at comparing me to someone else.
for allowing me to learn how to push myself, by not letting me get by with anything less.
for creating (as cliche as it sounds) a family-like atmosphere, at a gym, at 5:00 in the morning, where people sweat and get sore and come back the next day for more of the same.
for celebrating with me every step of the way.
for advising me when my steps were going in the wrong direction.
for making workouts fun.  I laugh & smile every day at FPP.

What I really want to say is this…thanks for making me feel welcome from the very first day.  Nobody ever talks about numbers, and that’s ok.  It’s great really.  But I decided when I lost 100 pounds I’d be okay with talking numbers.  So those thank you’s up there…they are a bit generic, but they are real.

And what I want people to know, is that when I walked in your gym on January 15, 2013 I weighed 314 pounds.

I don’t really know what to say after that.  I’ll just pause for effect.  : )

I think the reason why I feel compelled to share such a personal piece of information for all the world to see…is that I want you to know that you can do it, too.  See, I said I had maintained a 10 pound weight loss by the time I started FPP…which means my highest weight was 324.

Another pause.

It still seems a little surreal to me to type those numbers.  Or maybe it still seems surreal to me that my weight now starts with a 2 instead of a 3 and someday it will start with a 1.  Maybe you’re at your highest weight ever.  Maybe your weight doesn’t start with the right number anymore.  And maybe you see the things I post and you know I do boot camp type workouts and you think you can’t do it.  But I want you to know you can.  You can.  Maybe you have 100+ pounds to lose and it seems overwhelming.  I totally get that.  For YEARS I told myself…”If you’ll just think about losing 2 pounds a week for a year, you’ll get it done”.  But it took a long time for me to actually start trying. (and more on that another day, too) I’m not quite finished yet.  At some point I won’t have a weight goal, but instead a body fat % goal or a BMI goal.

I ran (and jogged and walked) a half marathon last weekend.  I can’t even remember the point I decided to register for the OKC Memorial Run.  Looking back it seems like a natural thing to do.  But really?! One year after I joined FPP, I just get online and sign up for a half marathon?  Something about that doesn’t seem natural at all.  In January 2013 I weighed over 300 pounds and I had a goal to run ONE mile. But by January 2014 I paid money to run 13.1 miles?!

On Monday night I sat around a table with my trainers and friends from FPP as we celebrated our recent races.  I shared a table with someone who has run multiple marathons, ultra marathons and had just come back from her first Boston Marathon.  I shared a table with someone who ran the half marathon in less than half the time that I did.  We all shared our stories and we all toasted each other and everyone was celebrated.  And yep, I felt like a rockstar.

And I think that’s when I had some sort of real revelation about what makes FPP different than any other place I’ve worked out.  It is never about comparing ourselves to one another…although we do like a little friendly competition at times!…it is about supporting and celebrating individual accomplishments.  Nobody cared how much I weighed when I started this journey, but they ask me how it’s going and celebrate my success along the way.  Nobody cared that I couldn’t do some of the exercises when I started working out (plank jacks, side plank, maybe anything with a slider?!) or that there are still some exercises I have to modify (pull-ups!!!!!).  And Monday night, as we sat around…I got to excitedly talk about my experience running my first half marathon.  Nobody cared what my pace was or how much I walked vs. how much I ran.  They listened and applauded me because I accomplished what I set out to do.  They have seen a transformation in me and they celebrate personal success.  And then they bought my dinner and I was stupidly confused by it all.  Which brings me to another point…

The day I tipped past my 100 pound mark, I surprised my trainer (Julie) because I think it was almost 9 pounds less than my previous weight.  She and Kasey had been secretly planning a gift for me…and then waiting and waiting and waiting for me get my act together (ha!) so they could celebrate with me.  Of course the gift wasn’t at the gym on the day I finally hit it! : ) But that day I did get a fabulous card with so many sweet messages from friends.  My kids like to look at it and talk about “the notes from your friends because you did a good job exercising” and then the next day I almost fell over when Julie handed me a Visa gift card.  Members & friends had donated to my gift and then FPP matched it.  I was SHOCKED.  It was a total surprise to me that they had done all of that and I had no idea at all.  I had to promise to spend it on myself…a promise I was happy to make!  I’ve spent a decent chunk of the money, but I have a scheduled shopping trip with my mom & sisters next weekend.  After that, I’ll to a full post on all the goodies I got.  But really, what an amazing place with such generous people.  I still feel so undeserving of such a nice gift.

So thank you FPP family…for pushing me, loving me, celebrating me and being ridiculous and rewarding me.

I feel like I probably haven’t done an excellent job of putting my thoughts into words tonight.  But I’ve been wanting to say thank you for a while, and after dinner on Monday night, I felt I had an additional perspective on why I love FPP so much.  Excellent trainers in all the technical things that trainers need to be good at.  But also excellent people who really care about helping others reach their goals.  Daily accountability, scheduling meetings and giving advice when needed and somehow maintaining this amazing camaraderie that applauds individuals.

Oh, and if you’ve made it this far, you should also know that FPP is celebrating Women Owned Business Day by offering a fabulous deal on a 6 week membership.  A tiny sales pitch to say that for $26 you can workout at Fitness Protection Program for 6 consecutive weeks, as long as it’s activated by November.  Ahem, $26 people.  Give it a try.  If you’re ready to kick start a journey to better health, this is the way to do it.  Click here for the offer or call them at 918-622-3774 with questions.  Visit their website or Facebook for more info!  This special price is only available May 1-7.  Get on it!

PS. This is not a sponsored post.  I’m not that much of a big time blogger (yet). I just wanted to say thank you to my people for being so fantastic.  And I thought you should know about their fantastic deal.  I’ll be at the 5:00 am class if you wanna join me. And if you come in the summer, I could possibly force myself to come to a later class.  I would love to work out with you.  Come!




Transformation Tuesday


I just posted this before/after picture on my facebook account.  It’s a pretty dramatic “Transformation Tuesday” I think.  You can tell that I am super happy in both pictures.  I don’t think I was ever really depressed about my weight, so I haven’t had that kind of a transformation.  Obviously there is a significant transformation in my physical appearance, but there are some other transformations, too.

I keep joking that I’m not a runner.  But I think I’m just holding on to the old me who hated running and never, ever would have chosen that particular exercise. A year ago I had a goal to run one mile without stopping. Now I’m training for a half marathon.  So, maybe there’s a bit of a transformation there.  Running is still not my favorite exercise.  That became evident this summer when I really needed to wake early to run.  I can somehow drag myself out of bed every morning at 4:15 to go to the gym for boot camp.  But I had great difficulty getting out of bed to RUN.  Ugh.  I know it’s good for me to run.  It helps me burn extra calories, I feel good when I accomplish a new goal, and I really think running builds confidence.  Ok, not the terrible 2 mile runs on a treadmill, those just make this snow-loving girl long for warm weather.  But the good 6 mile run on a surprisingly nice winter day, or the 7 mile run that makes me think I can do an 8 miler the next weekend, and the 15K that made me realize I can go ahead and do that half.  This summer my gym coordinated a running challenge that ended with a 5K run.  It was the first time I have ever run an entire 5K without stopping to walk.  That morning before the race I felt nervous and queasy.  So silly.  It rained, I was slow, but I finished and had a blast.  Now, I can go run a 5K in my neighborhood without much thought.  So yep, transformation.

And then there’s the mornings.  Since November 2012 I have consistently attended a boot camp at 5:00 am…with very few exceptions.  People, I used to have to be at work at 7:30 and that was torture.  That one fabulous year that I worked and parented five little people, we had to get them up at 5:45 so we could be out the door by 7:00. Seemed soooooo early!  I am not a morning person.  I am very much a late night person. And so for a year, I went to bed around 11:00 and got up around 4:00.  And now I’m working (still reluctantly, I’ll admit) on getting to bed earlier.  I honestly need to be in bed around 8:00, lights off at 8:45 and asleep by 9:00 to get 7 hours of sleep on nights that I’m going to work out at 5:00.  I think it’s tricky for me mostly because late night can be my alone time or time with my husband.  It’s hard to give that up.  I do enjoy the moments of quiet when I get home from the gym each morning.  I wouldn’t absolutely have to work out at 5:00 for my husband to get to work on time.  However, I enjoy being home by 6:00 and having coffee and some quiet time before our day gets started.

Let’s just pause and address the fact that my pre-transformation self would have thrown up in her mouth a little at the fact that I’m writing about the benefits of running AND the fact that I choose to wake at 4:15 every morning.  To work out.  Ahem.

Moving on…

While I wouldn’t say I was ever depressed about my weight, there were lots of things that weren’t very fun.  Shopping for clothes isn’t a whole lot of fun.  It’s harder to find clothes that are comfortable and flattering.  There are fewer selections, and contrary to what some stores may think…not every plus size woman is an old lady.  For real.  Trendy and flattering were not that available.  Also, I was (am?) not comfortable with certain styles.  Belt, no thanks. Above the knee, no way. Sleeveless? Strappy? Nope. (That might always be a thing for me because I have numerous scars on my shoulders and back.  But if my arm muscles keep on showing their stuff, I might have to show them off regardless of scarring.) 

However, in December my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary with a kid-free weekend in Dallas and plenty of shopping. : ) I had been saving money to get a few new things for my wardrobe. It basically consists of workout clothes and a couple of church outfits.  I decided maybe I needed some new things…even though I’m sure they won’t fit for long! ; ) So this was the first time that I really ever went clothes shopping with my husband.  I’m still not small by any means, but at least I feel better in my clothes and it’s easier to find fun things to wear.  He suggested I try on a sweater dress (hits just above the knee and needs a wide belt at the waist!) and I went for it.  I would have NEVER done that on my own.  He liked it, I bought it (and some lovely leggings!) and I feel comfortable and pretty wearing the first outfit that my husband ever picked out for me.  Transformation, people.

Besides the “getting more sleep” transformation, the other major and constant transformation is about food.  I am so thankful that working out every day is a habit for me.  I do not dread going, I don’t make excuses…I just do it every day.  Food is a bigger deal, though. I gained about 10 pounds during the holidays (ya know, that holiday starts in November and doesn’t end until January..oh wait, maybe I took three one-day holidays and made them last 6 weeks!) anyway…I didn’t gain wait because I ate too much vegan food, that’s for sure.  I went back to a lot of my old habits, stopped journaling and counting calories, and hardly attempted portion control.  Oh how lovely it would be to have every day habits of eating healthy foods.  Every.  Single. Day.  Don’t get me wrong, I have made major progress here.  I mean just last night I used my last can of black beans to make bean burgers for the first time ever.  That right there is something.  But also…I was reluctant to use that can because we were on the eve of a snowstorm and what if I couldn’t get more beans for a few days?! Yeah, that’s weird, I know. I also eat things like quinoa and bread and tortillas made from sprouted grains.  I haven’t had artificial sweetener (no Diet Coke!) in a year and a half.  I drink black coffee.  I have not eaten a donut at church in more than a year. So not totally transformed here, but definitely on the right track.

It’s definitely a process, of course.  And my journey is not complete, but it is good and healthy to look back and see the progress.  And nice to write about the unseen transformation as well.

Happy Tuesday, friends!