Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One Year Fativersary

4/21/09 I said enough. Enough being fat. Enough making excuses. Enough being unhealthy. Enough enough enough.

I had been going to counseling for awhile to work through some major depression issues, and finally I decided that I could take charge of my weight too. No more giving away my power to bags of chips and boxes of cookies. Although these things made me feel good for very brief moments, they had ultimately robbed the life from my eyes and the joy from my heart. And, one year ago today, I said enough.

I joined Weight Watchers. I decided to get serious about getting healthy. I decided I was worth it. I decided to make a change.

Today I can say that in many ways I am just not at all the same person I was a little over a year ago. The life is back in my eyes. I can do so much more than I could a year ago and, actually, more than I would have probably thought I could do ever. I am back in the game, and I love it.

To show you one of the ways in which I have changed, I will illustrate with a small story. Two bloggers -- Jen and Tony -- challenged each other to an exercise-off. Tony challenged Jen to do 99 minutes on the Stairmaster, and Jen accepted. They also challenged each other to get 200 other people to join them (virtually) on 4/20 for an hour long workout. I accepted (TEAM TONY!!).

Let me provide a little context for you. This is the end of the semester. I have been slammed. I haven't had time to watch any TV or to get on FB that much. It has sucked to be so busy. Tonight I had a banquet for work. I didn't get home until about 9:30. In the past that would have been the PERFECT excuse to not be able to do this workout. In fact, I probably wouldn't have even needed an excuse not to work out because I never did work out really!

Today, though, I soldiered through and did 1 hr. 15 min. at the gym despite my insane levels of busy-ness. I was proud of my self. Working out and taking care of myself trumps the excuses not to work out. Plus, I had to honor my commitment to Team Tony.

As a part of the challenge, Tony challenged us to get out of our comfort zone at the gym today. I realized, you know what? My comfort zone is pretty darned large and growing all the time. I remember when I started going to the gym a year ago, I only felt comfortable swimming. (Yes, I too find it ironic that the only place this 300 lb lady felt comfortable was in a bathing suit in the pool). Swimming was the one form of exercise I knew I could do without a problem. I remember a friend of mine at the time challenged me to take a group exercise class, and said it would be harder than swimming laps. I protested.

"Do you know how hard it is to swim laps?!" I asked. He did not relent. Eventually I went to a class to prove him wrong. However, I realized about 15 minutes into my first water aerobics class that he was right. Oops. I persisted though and now I think those classes are not bad. I feel I get a good workout in, sure, but I no longer want to die at the conclusion of each class.

Tenuous, I decided to explore other parts of the gym. In June I got a personal trainer. She taught me how to use the weight machines. She helped me understand how to lift free weights. She taught me about planks and pushups and Bosu balls. She got me started using that machine that I hated, the freaking elliptical machine.

Eventually, I got really pissed off at that stupid elliptical. How could I let this machinery beat me? I would definitely have to show it I could in fact conquer it. When I started I used to be able to only do about 10 minutes at level 1. I would then feel like I was going to die. I worked and worked and worked at it. My goal was to, eventually, be able to do an hour. I remember the first day I went 45 minutes in August. I felt so powerful. A few weeks later I knocked out an hour. Now it's not a problem to do an hour or more at all, even on level 10.

With time, I became more and more of a gym rat. I started doing Zumba. At first I couldn't follow the steps, and it definitely hurt my feet. Now I can do it without a problem, and it is something I looked forward to. I started going to spin class and I loved it. I went to BodyPump regularly (a weightlifting class), and eventually decided that I wanted a gun show. I continue working toward that goal now, and making very good progress. There really are no classes at the gym now that intimidate me. It's not that I can do everything in all of them (psh, don't I wish!), but the point is that I am not afraid. I do what I can and get better at these things every day. I have a very large comfort zone at the gym. I think the gym is my place of refuge now. Given the lengths I used to go to to avoid going to the gym it is ironic, isn't it?

I have not written about this on my blog, but our town hosts a big biking stage race every year. It is a big deal, and the cyclists who participate are professionals. I remember being curious last year and deciding to attend the criterium (basically like riding laps on the road in a bike race format). I remember being impressed at the cyclists' legs, particularly the definition of their quads. I silently thought to myself, "You know, I wish I could do that." It was so far out of my comfort range, though, I thought I would never be able to bike.

Fast forward a year. I am loving bike riding. I made a goal awhile back that I would bike 75 miles by my fativersary and I can very happily report that I made that goal last night, with a bit of room to spare. I am not going to pretend to be a cycling pro, but I have confidence that I will be a proficient road biker by the end of the summer. Someday I will even be confident in spandex; for now I just grin it and bear it though. Although biking is getting to be more in my comfort zone, spandex still is not.

In the last year I have lost almost 60 lbs.
In the last year I have gone surfing.
In the last year, I have been able to not need the belt extender on airplanes anymore.
In the last year, I have gone from a size 26 to a size 18.
In the last year, I have started to rock a gun show.
In the last year, I have begun to cycle.
In the last year, I started lifting weights.
In the last year, I have reached a level of fitness I thought I would never see again and maybe am in better shape than ever.

Most importantly, though, in the last year I have reconnected with myself. The light has returned to my eyes. I have regained my life. That is worth more than any weight loss is.

Happy one year fativersary to me. To bigger goals in the upcoming year.


  1. happy fativersary to you! and may there be many more healthy active ones to come :)

  2. *stands up and starts a "slow clap"*

    Congrats, Sarah! I'm so happy for you!

  3. Well earned, Sarah! I've been able to watch you progress through your journey over the past year, and you are inspiring on many levels. Happy "FIT"iversary!

  4. You are awesome! In the past year, you have done what has taken me years to do: try new things and live life fully. Keep up the good work! :)


Clicky Web Analytics