Sunday, December 27, 2009

Claire's FIRST blog:

Although this is Jay’s blog, after 28½ years of marriage I feel that I have the right to put in a word or two once in a while. I hope that no one minds too much.

As the New Year approaches, more and more gym members have asked me how I’ve managed to lose so much weight (35 pounds so far). I’m writing today to share my “secret,” although it is not a secret that you don’t already know. But first, the background story…

I have always struggled with my weight. I was a chubby kid and an overweight adolescent. I did manage to lose lots of weight between high school and college as I did not want to start college as “the fat kid.” As an adult, my weight was a constant struggle, especially after each of my three pregnancies. I thought of exercise as a form of torture invented by thin people to punish the not-so-thin. Sweating is for horses, not people. My workout consisted of getting from the car to work. How ironic that I married a thin, trim, fitness fanatic. Wherever we went, Jay needed to find a gym so he could work out. He is a true disciple of fitness. He watches everything that goes into his mouth, and makes sure to always exercise regularly. The discipline required to live that way is totally ingrained in Jay and he could not understand my struggle.

Then I developed a medical issue and had to take high doses of prednisone for quite some time. The medical issue was resolved, but the legacy of the steroid stayed. I had gained fifty pounds, and my metabolism was so slow as to be nearly nonexistent.

This brings us to the present. Imagine spending every day in a gym, looking at amazing bodies, and struggling with your weight. I was incredibly self-conscious. I would take an occasional class or get on a treadmill for a few minutes, and then return to my office.

Then, last June, Angela, one of our trainers, came into my office and said to me, “When will you let me help you? Let’s make a date and we’ll see what we can do.” She began by an assessment of my abilities, and we started out very slowly. We met three times a week at first. We started by working on large muscles (legs, shoulders, back). She would explain what I was doing, which body parts, muscles, etc. The hour with her went very quickly, and was actually pleasant.

Angela gave me nutritional guidelines to follow. During each workout session she would always gently ask, “How has your nutrition been?” After working so hard with her, it was hard to look her in the eye and tell her I had cake the night before, so before I knew it I was watching what went into my mouth. Then, I became very conscious of the amount of calories burned while on the treadmill. Angela asked me to warm up on one of the cardio machines prior to each session. In the beginning, my warm-up was ten minutes on the treadmill, then fifteen, and I worked it up to thirty or even forty minutes. It takes me about forty minutes to burn about two hundred calories. I still hate exercising. I hate every minute on the treadmill. Therefore, before I eat anything, I do a little mental calculus. “If I eat this, it will require x amount of minutes on the treadmill. Is it really worth it?” The truth is, sometimes I think “Yes, it is,” but I know that I’ll need to work it off the next day.

As my weight started to drop, I’ve become greedy for that loss. I therefore actually WANT to get on that treadmill every day, knowing what the results are. I’ve actually become a (gulp) believer in fitness and exercise. Yes, I still hate being on the treadmill, but I’ve learned a few tricks to make it less torturous for me. (If you see me on the treadmill, please come and work out next to me. I love to talk to people while I work out. It makes the time go faster.)

I still have quite a way to go before I reach my goal, but I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will sneak onto Jay’s blog now and again to keep you updated on my progress, and maybe share some of the tricks I’ve learned along the way. But for now, I hope that maybe reading about my struggle may inspire you to get started.

To all Jay’s readers, and to all the members of J’s BIG GYM, may the New Year be one of health and happiness.

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