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Becoming a Better Me

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I have struggled with my weight for most of my life. As a kid, I was heavier than most of my peers, and gym class was my least favorite time of day. I played some softball in my early teens, but by the time I got to high school, I had dropped that and was headed into 10 years or so of sedentary behavior and avoidance of all things athletic.

Over that time period, I allowed myself to gain 100 pounds, mostly through a love of carbs, fats, and sugars. I wasn’t actively choosing to be fat so much as I was actively choosing to indulge myself with food and my inherent laziness.

A few years ago, I decided that enough was enough. I joined a recreational softball team and started going to the gym more regularly. However, I was never able to stick with a strict diet, so all I’ve been able to do is maintain my weight. It wasn’t going up anymore, but it also wasn’t going down.

In December, a friend asked me to be her partner in a Biggest Loser-style competition at work. At first my inherent laziness and fear of the unknown made me hesitate, but I went to the information session anyway, and that sold me on it.

The participants (about 20 of us) are working with two trainers who run at least one group workout session five days a week. The sessions are a mix of strength training and cardio, and they vary the activities with every session. In addition, I’m taking a cycle (spinning) and tone (weights and crunches) class two days a week and walking several miles on the weekend.

I’m also meeting with a dietitian as a part of the program, and she has made helpful suggestions based on the food diary I turn in every week. I have been making small changes to my diet over the past year, and I found that works best for me. I’m also learning to make conscious decisions about food. Sure, I could have that doughnut from the box in the staff lounge, but I’d rather spend those calories on a tasty Belgian quadruple beer later that evening.

Right now I’m six weeks into the program, and so far the scales haven’t moved much, but I am slowly shedding the pounds. Meanwhile, I’m seeing muscle definition that I haven’t seen in a long time, and my endurance is increasing. I don’t look forward to the hard work, but seeing how much I’ve gotten stronger in such a short period of time keeps me coming back.

Aside from having two enthusiastic trainers, the other thing that has kept me going is the team spirit that has settled on those of us who are regulars at the group workouts. Theoretically, we’re competing, but I mostly forget that it’s a competition, in part because everyone encourages each other to push beyond what we think we can do. I need to have some internal motivation to keep pressing on, but having an external accountability means I still show up, even on days when I would rather be anywhere else but the gym.

It’s never too late to change your life. Whether it’s something as simple as drinking a glass of water instead of soda or something more challenging like committing to an intensive workout routine. And there’s no better time to start than today, because I’m sure you can find an excuse to not start tomorrow, either.

Whatever you do, remember to be kind to yourself. Making one bad choice doesn’t mean you have failed or should quit. Just do your best to make the next choice a good one, and take it one moment at a time.

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About Anna Creech

  • Alexandria Jackson

    Fantastic post! I especially liked the “be kind to yourself” because it is so easy to let one ho-ho start you down the slippery slope. I’m glad you know it doesn’t have to.
    I wish you luck on your journey.

  • My wife and I have been dieting for about ten months now, following a weight watchers approach which allows you to eat anything you want so long as you stay within a daily points allowance.

    So far she has lost almost 60lbs and I have lost a mere 50lbs, which is good progress but we still have at least around another 20lbs to go.

    It is tough sometimes, particularly when we hit periodic weight plateaus when nothing much happens for a few weeks but overall we are making steady progress.

    Of course, once we get to our target weights, the real success will be sticking to our changed food lifestyles and keeping the weight off for ever.

    Congratulations to Anna and anybody else that is working to lose their excess baggage.

  • Great post! It sounds like you and I have similar personalities when it comes to eating and exercise. Not everyone is in poor physical shape because of some trauma or compulsive eating; a lot of us just like food and dislike exercise. Keep up the good work and let us know how the competition comes out!

  • El Bicho

    Sounds great. Keep it going

  • Great post and a great attitude! I have recently embarked on a new weight-loss and workout routine. Although I have been able to lose weight successfully several times throughout the years, I never kept it off. I think what was missing until now was my inability to take personal responsibility for my weight gain. I always felt like a victim of genetics, like I had lost some kind of body type lottery while my skinny friends seemed to be able to eat everything they wanted and not gain weight. But lately I’ve realized that I have more control over my weight than I think. I hear you echoing this same sentiment, so I know you’ll be successful, too.

  • Anna, what an inspirational post. Thank you for sharing. I know that weight loss is an enormous challenge. As I have learned, you take one day at a time, create a new relationship with your body and keep motivated. The weight will come off. You will feel healthier… and like a new person every step of the way.

    You Go Girl! Many of us are cheering you on!