Sunday, December 30, 2012


I signed up for a boot camp class at the YMCA back in October.   The 30 Day Shred success has had me aching for another program or challenge to look forward to.    Besides, my daughter raves about boot camp workouts so I thought I would like to try.

(Yes, I know that she is 23 years younger than me, but I like to imagine that when she returns from the Air Force next Spring that I'll be able to keep up with her.)

Here in Oklahoma City the cost to members is for the first time is $75.00. Subsequent sessions are   $50.00.  The class is Tuesday and Thursday morning at 5:30 AM (yikes) and Saturday at 7:00 AM.

I was told the class would be outside so I wore a long sleeve shirt over a short sleeve shirt thinking that if I got hot I would tie it around my waist.  When I saw the other ladies with jackets and gloves I thought I had made a mistake.  Fortunately,  Eric, our instructor, told us we would be inside the first day since we had assessments to do.

I was happy to see that most of the class was comprised of returning members.  I was 1 of 2 new ladies to join the group.   There are also 2 men in the group.

For the first half hour we performed timed assessments including push ups, double crunches, tricep dips, jumping jacks, etc.  Having successfully completed my 30DS I was happy with my performance.  I only wanted to vomit twice!

I was absolutely exhausted when I finished in a muscle fatigue kind of way.  It was the same feeling as a 30 mile bike ride without much water or shot blocks.   My morning shower was a great relief.  So was the Advil.

Over the next few weeks I had a major set back.  I caught a virus that resulted in a sinus infection. It slowed me down, but I didn't stop attending.  When the session came to an end, I signed up for the next session.

To my delight, my husband signed up, too!  He saw how much I enjoyed it and decided to give it a try.  Half way into this session, he says he is going to stay with it.

Eric (trainer) left, Alan (husband) right.
If you have an opportunity to join a boot camp, I strongly encourage it.  Our group has members of all ages and health conditions.  There are modifications for injuries and limitations.

Here are a few tips for making the most of your boot camp experience:

1. Don't go without taking in some calories. You don't want to run out of steam.  This site has some great suggestions for early workouts.

2. Take a water bottle.  You will work hard for the entire hour with very little time to get to the fountain.

3.Set an intention. It's easy to make excuses.  It's also easy to make the workout all about you and your journey if you set your mind to it.

4. Don't allow setbacks to get in your way.  You learned to ride a bike even though you probably fell over a couple of times.  You didn't give up on that did you?

My Roller Coaster Ride of Health and Weight

In 1996, I made a health transformation that took me from 160 lbs to 125 lbs over the course of two years.  I began exercising and changed to a low carb diet.  The transformation was quite amazing.  I was 32 and became strong and fit.  I looked good, and I felt great about how I looked and this appeared to be an easy way to manage my weight and health.

Like a lot of people the change didn't stick because my life was not balanced.  I had an unhappy marriage which fueled my exercise and diet regimen.  Then in 2000 I became pregnant.  I continued to exercise and gained a very healthy 30 lbs.  My 9lb, 4oz daughter was born in 2001 and my weight dropped to 140 over the next few months.

My life was changing dramatically and I subsequently became divorced and remarried all while launching a successful career as an IT consultant.  By my wedding day in 2003, I weighed 135 lbs.

I continued to exercise, but my health took a back seat to my responsibilities as a wife, mother, and stepmother.  We had a new 4000 sq. ft. house with a blended family of eight.  My job was thrilling but also demanding.

I didn't really think about my health until 2006 when the stress of everything caused me to have heart palpitations.  You can imagine that this was a wake up call to reduce the stress in my life.

I became the president of our company (which seems like more stress, not less) and I began purchasing phentermine to control my weight since I didn't think I had time to control my weight naturally.  Phentermine was effective, yet in the back of my mind I couldn't shake the idea of doing damage to my heart and overall health so I stopped.

By early 2007 I weighed 170 lbs.  I had gained 35 pounds in 4 years.

At this time my husband was training for marathons and competing in half-triathlon events.  He spent a great deal of time training and I didn't see him as much on the weekends.  I decided to take  up cycling so that I could go out with him when he was running.  It's no secret to anyone that I have always despised running.

At the Redman Triathlon in September of 2008, I weighed 163.  I felt like a fat girl on a skinny bicycle.  It was worse when the cyclists raced past me during the event shouting, "way to go".  I only heard, "good for you fat woman."  Even so, I finished the 56 miles in 3 hours and 47 minutes.

With all of the training and exercising, I had only lost 7 lbs because I did not change my diet.  By 2011 I was up to 173lbs.

Our gym ran a twelve week contest for weight loss and training around a pilates reformer program.  I enjoyed the support and found myself selecting a low carb diet (to the chagrin of our nutritionist).  My weight dropped to 157.  The 12 weeks came to an end, we put our house on the market, and I began eating carbs again.  In early 2012, I was back up to 173.

I don't know when it happened, but I think I was influenced by the sudden loss of my father in law to take a look at my life.  I was immeasurably happy with my relationships.  I was satisfied with my career success.

But I was unhappy with what I saw in the mirror.  I knew it was entirely within my control.  (I am not a person to make excuses for myself for very long).

While watching Extreme Makeover Weight Loss edition I had an inspiration.  The trainer on the program sets up a plan for each person to lose a dramatic amount of weight over the course of 1 year.

One whole year to make the changes.  Thinking back to my experience in my 30s (which happened over the course of a couple of years), I knew that a long term program had been successful.  I had to find my way back to that place, but this time it would be a permanent change.

I mapped out 1 year of changes with quarterly REALISTIC goals. Just like the tv show, I selected rewards for myself if my goals were met.

At the end of the first quarter, I had lost 7 lbs but I wasn't losing anymore.  It was so slow going that I decided to join so I could be more diligent about recording my food.

Two more months went by and only 1 lb lost.  I returned to a low carb diet and lost another 5 lbs in just two weeks.  I'm ending the second quarter of my program.  I'm down to 160 and having such an amazing spiritual journey through this process.

I have less than 6 months to go, and I'll be turning 49 before the year long program ends.  I haven't met my quarterly goals, but I have lost 13 lbs and the momentum is building.  I am convinced that I will meet my next quarter's goal by sticking with my low carb menu.

Exercise alone isn't enough.  Counting calories isn't enough.  For me, it's low carb from now on.