Will we make it or not?
That is the question I get asked, and my answer, unfortunately, is I don't know if I will reach my goal of 100 pounds lost by later this month. We will give it everything we can to the end, but sometimes the body just doesn't do what it is asked to do.
When I was on the treadmill watching the "Biggest Loser" show, I was pleased to see two big guys lose 9 and 10 pounds in one week, even after three months of serious weight loss. Their success made me think we just might make it. But then, another contestant who worked just as hard all week lost only 1 pound. Her body just decided to not lose that week. You know, "the infamous plateau" that at times hits almost everyone trying to lose weight. So we shall see what the last 10-plus days bring.
With that looming in my head, I had a great week. I lost some needed pounds, and to my surprise, ran a seven- minute-and-29-second mile, after working out for 50 minutes already. Wow, was I pleased with that. It is the little victories that have kept me going. Oh, we focus mostly on the scale, but over these 11 months, my life has improved so much and my fitness has sky-rocketed.
My mile has gone from 12-plus minutes (that included walking part of it), to under 7:30. Not track star speed, but pretty good for a 42-year-old guy who just 11 months ago weighed 290. I can now work out for more than 2 hours in a row and my recovery time is very quick. When I first started in January, a simple half-hour routine caused me to suck wind - so much so that I needed a full day to recover. Touching my toes was not only a dream but even seeing my toes was a novel idea. Now I can easily touch my toes, and beyond.
Clothing is a whole different world. I find myself just buying off the rack, you know, normal sizes that all stores carry. My pants went from 48 to 38 and even in some brands a 36.
Life is good, and when I look back, we did it without fad diets. We just changed my food habits to eating the right foods, eating smaller portions more frequently and limiting the foods that are less healthy. And the biggest change - that when I look back actually wasn't that difficult - was making exercise a priority and part of my normal life.
On Thursday, Dec. 20, FitQuest will open its doors to anyone who wants to join in and help me with the final push. I will need help and support to get the job done or to at least get as far as we can.
The fine line in goal-setting by Joan Peterson, FitQuest Trainer
I wish I had a nickel for every time I have been asked if Gary's going to make it. All I know for sure is that he's working for all he's worth to get there, and what he has accomplished is a major feat, even if he doesn't lose the full 100 pounds. Which brings me to the topic of this article.
In my 20 years of teaching nutrition and exercise, I have dealt with people who needed to lose 5 pounds up to those striving to shed 100 and more. It has been my experience that when people feel overwhelmed, they tend to give up. I always suggest setting a goal of 10 pounds, not a certain number per week or month, just 10 pounds. Get there, then re-evaluate. Many will want to lose more, so they set another 10-pound goal, even if they have to do this 10 times. Reaching these smaller, shorter-term goals is motivating, not overwhelming, and there is a sense of accomplishment.
There is a very fine line where the body says, "this feels OK," and maybe 5 to 10 pounds more is a constant struggle against nature. At that point, acceptance is very important. So you were a size 8 in high school - 30 years later, things change and maybe a 12 is more realistic. Life is too short to fight those last 5 or 10 pounds every single day.
Time (and very little of it) will tell if Gary's going to make it. Whatever the next week brings, I know the last year has changed his life.
GARY WALTERS writes a weekly column in the Neighbors section regarding his progress in the Kinship Wellness Challenge. To learn more go to www.brainerddispatch.com and then to the KINSHIP CHALLENGE link or www.kinshippartners.org.
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