Monday, August 27, 2012

Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition - Lessons From Sally the Surfer Girl!

I missed this episode this first time it aired because of the Olympics...but I'm so happy I was able to watch it tonight.  I learned several valuable lessons from Sally that I will use in my own journey.

Sally is 45 years old, which makes her one year younger than me.  A lot of times she mentioned to Chris and his wife Heidi (who also helped train her) how hard it is to get back into shape when you're older (which it is!) but she never gave up.  She struggled a lot, falling short of her first three goals for the year.  Still, every time she failed or fell short, she got back up and kept on going, pushing herself to do better and reach her final goal.  First lesson: You are never too old to be who you want to be and reach your goals! 

She still lost a lot of weight, even though she didn't hit the particular numbers that were set for each weigh-in.  In fact, she visited the doctor who said she had gained a lot of muscle - and her body fat percentage had dropped quite a bit.  She certainly looked slimmer, going from a size 22 to a 12.  Second lesson:  The number on the scale isn't the only measure of your progress.  If your clothes are way too big, you've lost inches, and your muscle mass has are definitely doing something right.  Fitness is not a particular number set in stone on the scale. 

When Sally got started, her husband didn't seem all that supportive.  He would complain that she had to work out too much, and when they went out to dinner he insisted on eating all of her favorite fattening foods in front of her.  He didn't really realize how hard this journey was for her and how his actions affected her progress.  Once Chris arranged a meeting with him, Sally's mom, and her best friend, she was able to let them know how much she needed their help and encouragement.  They all told her they were on her side, and things started to go a lot better after that conversation.  Even Sally's adorable son told her she looked like a princess, because she was pretty and strong!  (That's the kind of princess I like...both beautiful AND strong!!!)  Third lesson:  If you feel you're not getting support from family and friends, ask them to help and let them know you need support.  And find other people who do support you and can relate to what you're going through.  You'll be surprised at how much better it will be if you just ask!

Sally also used pictures and thoughts of her former fit self from when she was younger to keep her motivated.  I have those pictures around as well...I lost a lot of weight when I graduated from high school and kept it off for about ten years, and I refer to those often.  (In fact, one of them is up on my Facebook page so I can be inspired daily!)  She used to surf, and on this journey she was able to have a lesson with pro surfer Laird Hamilton as she was cheered on by his wife, volleyball player Gabby Reece.  She was thrilled to have a great lesson and can't wait to try other things she's always wanted to do.  That surfing excursion alone boosted her spirits and helped her get to the next level.  Fourth lesson:  Remember the times when you were at your best, and realize that with hard work and perseverance you will get there again.  Make a list of activities you want to be able to do again, or that you've never tried but want to.  (For me, getting better at tennis and horseback riding - and learning ballroom dancing - drive me to push myself harder.)  Think of your list whenever you're having a rough day and don't feel like working out or eating right.

Finally, Sally didn't qualify for the skin removal surgery at the nine month mark...but the doctor gave her a second chance to lose enough in the final three months to be evaluated again.  She started the year at 335 pounds, and finished at 197...losing 138 pounds total.  It was enough to get the surgery.  Fifth lesson:  If you are given a second chance, take advantage of it.  And if you want something badly enough, you will find a way to make it happen!

So I want to thank Sally for sharing her journey with us, through all of the many ups and downs.  The truth is, we learn just as much in the moments of struggle as we do in the moments of success.  And I will continue to cheer Sally on...because she is a true fighter!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition - Jarvez Brings Sexy Back and Honors His Mom

Jarvez said that he's always thought he was sexy, even when his family and friends thought he was crazy.  I think that belief in himself is what helped him do so well on his journey...along with the support of his brand new wife.

Having been a football player, Jarvez was always big - in a way.  But he put on well over 200 pounds after his mom passed away.  That's something I can certainly empathize with, since when my mom died I started eating badly again and hardly exercised, and gained more than 50 pounds.  (Add to that some weight I put on when I was pregnant with my son four years later, and you see how I got to where I was.)  Even though my own mom was gone too soon at 60, Jarvez' mother was WAY too young in her late 30's.  I know exactly what he meant when he talked about still going to her favorite restaurants and eating her favorite meals to keep her memory alive, because I've been there and done that.  On rare occasions, I still do that.  Thankfully it's nowhere near as often as I used to.

Meeting his wife Adriana is what motivated Jarvez to change his habits and lifestyle.  In fact, they had only been married for two weeks when Chris showed up to start him on his year long journey.  Unlike some of the other EMWLE stories (thinking of Tony from this season) Jarvez had massive support from his significant other.  She was all for this transforamtion and joined in, working out with him and changing her diet as well. 

Jarvez did well during Phase 1, but had a major setback in the next phase.  He wound up dealing with vertigo, which I've never expereienced and pray that I never do.  I do know people who have dealt with it and it's no joke.  You get very dizzy even doing the simplest things and at times even throw up from the overwhelming sensation.  So he didn't meet his goal during that period...but he came back strong and more than made up for it in Phase 3.  He decided that his mom would want him to be happy, and not be unhealthy just because she was gone - and the best way to honor her would be to give this journey his all.  (Once again, I understand completely.  My mom was so proud of my weight loss the first time around after I graduated from high school...and I know she is glad I'm getting back to that healthier me.) 

After the skin removal surgery in the final phase, it was time to see how far Jarvez had come.  He started at 548 pounds...and finished the year at 267.  He lost over 50 percent of his body weight!  On top of that, Adriana lost 45 pounds herself while working out with and supporting him.  This expereince truly made them stronger as a couple, and a few months after the big reveal we learned that they are expecting a baby girl, whom they will name after Jarvez' mom.  I can't think of a better way for their life journey to continue - and I wish their entire family all of the happiness and blessings in the world. 

I know both of our moms are looking down from heaven and very proud of us!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dealing With Ankle Pain

For about a week now, I've been dealing with pain at the back of my left ankle.  I have no idea how it got that way.  Last Sunday I woke up, started going about my business, and halfway through the day it started to hurt.

I haven't done any unusual workouts or tried anything new that should have bothered my ankle.  I didn't whack it against anything or even notice any problems during my usual exercise.  It feels like it just showed up all of a sudden.  I wish it would go away all of a sudden as's starting to feel better but still giving me some problems.

So what have I been doing for the last week?  The old me would have just sat on the couch and "babied" my ankle, afraid to do anything.  But this is a new me - while I'm still being careful with it, I am also finding ways to work around it so I can still work out.

I don't put a lot of weight on it when it's not necessary.  I do ankle exercises that are supposed to stretch and strengthen the area.  And I'm skipping the step, but still doing the kettlebells.  I do a lot of leg and knee lifts where I can set my foot down gently.  Plus, I'm doing something I learned from Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition - inspired by Chris Powell making someone sit in every seat in a stadium, I'm doing the same with my couch, moving from one end to the other sitting and standing over and over again.  It turns out that getting up and down out of your seat repeatedly really works your legs, core, and butt...and gets your heart rate going pretty well.

I also can still go to spin class, since there is limited pressure on the ankles.  I've found that I feel fine after spin, so I scheduled an extra class for this week to keep myself moving.  I've come a long way, and I refuse to sit around and backslide, letting weight creep back on because of this.  I will continue to do what I can with whatever issues or circumstances comes up, in fitness and in life.  God gives me the strength to be creative and do what I need to do.

So if you have any type of issue with your workouts, I urge you to find a way to work with or around them.  You will be so glad you did and a stronger person than you were before!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Extreme Makeover or Olympics? No Brainer!

Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition aired a new episode this past Sunday, but I didn't watch.  Yes, I know...I usually don't miss an episode but I had good reason.

The Olympics.

By now you know just how addicted I am to the Olympics, and since they only come around every four years I decided to watch them instead of EMWLE.  I know ABC will re-air the episode; the Olympics only air once and they're done.

Besides, I'm being inspired on a daily basis by determination, perseverance and good sportsmanship.  Athletes coming back after having children, losing 50 pounds and performing better than ever.  Runners competing without legs.  People who fall, yet get back up and keep going.  And athletes who honor each other for their efforts, no matter the results on the scoreboard.

These athletes show us just how much the human body, mind, and spirit can do if we let it happen.  We all have that greatness in us, as the commercials that run during the Games keep reminding us.  We can be motivated past the point of reaching our goal weight - we can go beyond what we ever thought possible.

Thank you to all of the athletes participating in the Olympics for giving us hope and courage to do our own personal best.  Whether you win a medal or not, you rock for showing us what we can be capable of if we put our minds to achieving it. You all deserve an award - just for being the best you can be!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

London Olympics Inspiration

As many of you may know, I'm an Olympic-aholic.  I watch as much of it as I can, while still getting other things accomplished.  There is just so much to be learned from the Games and the athletes who participate in them.

It's been this way ever since I was a little girl.  Winter or Summer, it doesn't mattter.  I imagine what it would be like to be one of those athletes and participate in the different sports.  Since I don't know how to swim, I'm fascinated by the swimming races.  And what would it be like to dive off of a 10 meter platform or perform on a balance beam? 

There are life lessons here as well.  Every athlete's story is different...some deal with setbacks with grace and class, teaching us how to overcome adversity.  Others show us how to stay focused when so many different things are going on around you.  And I smile every time an athlete thanks and praises God for their Olympic expereince, good or bad.

This time while watching the Olympics, I'm working out at the same time.  Sometimes I'm doing my step and kettle bells, other times I do something that somewhat resembles one of the sports I'm watching.  My arms, back, and abs are sure getting stronger as I sit sideways on my step, rowing along with the competitors!

So let your inner athlete come out to play during the Olympics - it's so much fun.  Who knows...I may still learn to swim yet!!!