Monday, December 20, 2010

Thirty Is a Great Number

I knew I had a small (or not so small) problem when January found me squeezing into my jeans. Barely squeezing into my jeans. Even the “fat pants” were snug. I was frequently plagued with worry that the top button would tear from the fabric. This was bad. Also, I saw pictures of myself from Christmas parties and, well…yikes.

Maddie had just quit nursing in early November and I am here to tell you there is no more inconvenient time to stop nursing than right before the holidays. Things got ugly fast.

As requested, for Christmas I got The 30 Day Shred and I vowed to make a change. Step one in making a change was to actually buy a scale so I could monitor my progress in pounds rather than wearable pairs of jeans. Step two was to, in fact, weigh myself and I was shocked at the number that greeted me on the dial. I was a good 13 pounds over my estimate. Definitely time to do something.

So every day, often in the morning while Brian showered, I would sweat it out with Jillian Michaels for 30 minutes in the basement. It worked really well at first. I was definitely challenged by the workouts and I lost the first 10 pounds quickly. Not easily, but quickly. However, 3 months of the same DVD started to get boring and I needed a change.

Here is where I have to tell you about my friend, Shalene. Shalene does childcare at a gym in town and in return they give her a free membership. She encouraged me to sign up to do the childcare and I was soon the terrified owner of a gym membership. Shalene told me about her routine – how she got up very early and went to the early morning classes so she could be getting home just as her family was getting up for the day. I won’t lie, the thought of early morning exercising in a public facility was probably the most daunting, horrifying, unappealing and difficult things to consider. But consider I did and I knew I had more weight to lose. So on weekday morning at 5:15 (ouch) I met Shalene at the gym.

Shalene took me to a few classes that first week. She showed me where to put my things, where the classes were and where the equipment (e.g. exercise mats, balance balls, free weights) was stored. And most of all, she encouraged me not to give up.

Amazingly, I did not give up. Since early April I have gone to the gym at least 3 times a week EVERY week.

I took a variety of classes. Group cycling, step aerobics, body pump, core strength. All of it challenging. In fact, the first time I took group cycling, well, let’s just say that one was painful and I walked funny for days. The classes were difficult, but over time I felt better and better. I quickly saw that I am a class person. Even though it is a little impossible to get used to having people see me with no makeup, being in the class environment helped me stay on track. Having an instructor ordering me around is, in a word, helpful. If I’m just going to go and lift weights, I won’t lift as much. If I just go to spin, I won’t push it as hard. You get the point.

For the first several months, knowing that Shalene would be “waiting” for me was what got me out of bed when the alarm went off at 5:00. She wouldn’t harp on me if I missed a class. But she would ask where I was. After a while I felt comfortable and informed enough to go by myself on occasion, though it was still more fun to take classes with my friend. Now I often see her there a couple times a week, and she has a gifted way of asking how I am doing and what classes I went to without making it seem like she is checking up on me. She holds me accountable and gives me much-needed encouragement.

I didn’t change my diet much, because I wanted this to be something I could really do long term. I did cut back on the junk food. I did try to eat slightly smaller portions. I did start drinking more water and less milk. But for the most part I changed as little as I could.

And it worked. People, it worked. There were frustrating weeks. Frustrating months. But I’m at the end of the year here, 30 years old, telling you I lost a little over 30 pounds this year. Insane, right? I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, really. Because I feel like I should look much skinnier than I do when I say I lost 30 pounds. But at the same time I am giddy every time I go to put on my jeans. Yes, those jeans that were in grave danger at the beginning of the year, well, they are now (giggle) too big. I’ve even had to put a few away because they won’t stay up!!!! This is just ridiculous. But wonderful.

I am not “done”. I have not “arrived”. But I achieved my goal weight loss for the year and I have to tell you, I feel good. Even knowing that I can do it, that I am able to lose weight, is a huge mental boost for me. And it’s fuel to keep going.

To those of you who have noticed my accomplishments and been so gracious and generous with your compliments, you have truly been a huge encouragement to me. Thank you for saying something because your words kept me going.

And to Shalene, I don’t think words can sufficiently convey how grateful I am. Her patience with my clumsy ignorance at the beginning, her willingness to hold me accountable, her simple act of meeting me at the gym, was all an extreme act of a very good friend. I know I am so blessed to have her in my life. A life which is a lot healthier and happier because of her.


Stephanie said...

I LOVE this!!!! Congratulations Jean! This is great in a big way :) I am in need of the same motivation, accountability and yet, terrified to set that goal and fail at it...again. You're just inspiring me like crazy today! So proud of you! I can't see you to even know what the before and after look like, but way to go...You look great!!!

Rochelle said...

TWO BIG THUMBS UP! I love that you stuck with it and got such fabulous results!!!