Fit Life Adventure

An Ordinary Woman's Journey of Surviving Obesity


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PIIT28

The moment my feet stopped hurting on the walk to the bathroom every morning, is the moment I decided to start moving my body even more. A valuable lesson that I have learned in my fitness journey is that if I don’t like it, I won’t do it. Seems like a ridiculously obvious statement, but you wouldn’t believe how many people sweat their souls out in their over priced gym and loathe every minute of it. I think that if I truly want to call the changes I have made a “lifestyle” and live it like this every single day, then I should be getting  some enjoyment out of it. And let me tell you – there are hundreds of ways to move your body without stepping foot on a treadmill.

Even though I am no longer a part of Weight Watchers, the day I joined them, is the day I quit my membership At GoodLife Fitness. I’ve come a serious long way since then and still have zero desire to get a gym membership again. Part of that reasoning is that my work schedule is not a fixed point. It is constantly changing and so committing to going to a facility “x” amount of times a week/month to get my money’s worth doesn’t often pan out for me. Plus, a gym setting isn’t really my thing.

You can call me frugal (you can call me cheap too, but I will respond better to “frugal”), but I really don’t like paying an arm and a leg for fitness related activities. Especially the ones with a monthly fee. There are so many free (or nearly free) ways to move about in this world. Walking for instance. Which I know sounds as boring as watching grass grow, but it is a free activity. Along with that idea, If you were to Google “At home body weight work out moves”, you would be overloaded with YouTube video clips and websites which give you all you need to bust out a full workout right in your living room.

Which is exactly how I found Cassey Ho and her baby “Pop Pilates”. Cassey isn’t your stick thin, cheerleader, model type smiling from ear to ear as she does 20 burpees in a row. She is gritting her teeth, nearly out of breath and pushing through her own workout right along with you! She’s a beast! She’s quite inspirational and something about her voice and her commands to “get lower!” really work for me. And all it takes is an internet connection to watch her FREE videos, so naturally, I was sold. “Pop pilates” is a form of pilates that she invented that is a bit more face paced, set to music, and you don’t necessarily count reps, you just follow the beat of the song. She has a huge stockpile of videos on her channel and millions of followers all over the world.piit-spread-no-button

Her version of pilates is even taught in gyms across the United States. She’s appeared in fitness magazines and this March she debuted PIIT28. This is taking a mix of pilates and HIIT (high intensity interval training), done for less than 30 minutes, 6 days a week. You get the support of the PIIT28 community -“Piitsters” as we call ourselves – through social media, access to the online workouts for life AND a free t shirt at the end. It was a one time cost of about $30. (A bit more if you want the meal plan – but my diet is pretty dialed in, so I was cool with just the work out vids) I love her free online exercise videos so I was slightly hesitant about spending the money for this exclusive program, but thought, “I really like that t-shirt”, so I signed up.

At the point in which I started PIIT 28, I had already lost 119 pounds. I lost an additional 10 pounds throughout the 28 days plus 9 inches off my body!! The only change in my routine was the addition of this exercise program. If you are familiar with losing weight you might know that this far into a weight loss journey it can get harder and harder to shed pounds so the fact that I was able to lose what I did is pretty remarkable.

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Besides Weight Watchers, I have never signed up for any workout program before. This was a really fun way to test out the waters. I loved it! Trying new and different things is the only way to figure out what you like and what you want to keep doing in terms of fitness goals. My advice – be a “yes man” when it comes to stuff like this. If someone says that they have a week free pass at their Yoga studio, go for it! If someone suggests that you give a Boot Camp style of working out a try at a different facility, what have you got to lose? Try it all! Find what fits for YOU.

There will be a new rock climbing gym opening in my city in the next few months. I already signed up for my free shoe rental.

If you would like to take the PIIT28 challenge or just want more information about it, visit https://www.piit28.com/a/787/VoE4Sspy


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The House That Built Me

I am an entrepreneur. I am the sole owner and operator of Amanda’s Pet Sitting. A good portion of my days are spent walking dogs. This week I had the good fortune of being able to walk dogs right past my childhood home. God I loved this house. In it’s walls contains the memories of my youth. Sometimes when I sleep and dream of a “home” scenario, 1473 Arthur Rd is still the place that appears in my subconscious.

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The current owners have let the garden outgrow itself, planted a new tree in the dumbest spot I can think of and cut down the best grape vine canopy you’ve ever seen, but when I look at it, I instantly get transported back in time. My weight gain began in that house. Months ago my mom asked me if the divorce of her and my Dad was the reason I emotionally ate. It’s a fair question. I could imagine that for a lot of people, a divorce that affects your entire family structure at the age of 11 could very well lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. But that really wasn’t the case for me. However, having just one parent to supervise me during a typical Monday to Friday made it much easier to sneak food and form the start of poor eating habits. So in a way, my dad leaving home had a small impact on my weight. 20160321_122043

I also think that people in general like to be able to pinpoint a singular reason for life events. Probably makes it easier to understand said events. Having less variables can make a problem seem more manageable and a solution easier to find. Weight gain doesn’t work that way. Not many things do I imagine. For instance, what brought you to my blog today? What device are you using to read this and how did you acquire it? What is going on in your world that gives you the time at this moment to click on this specific post of mine. See – many variables in play.

Another variable for my weight gain was my jacked up view of portion control. The whole plate just HAD to be full of food, and like many children, I was told “finish your plate before you can go back out and play.” Lucky for my generation, the whole digital world hadn’t exploded yet, so kids still played outside until the street lights came on. It was during puberty that the weight began to creep onto my body. I remember it being pointed out to me by a relative that I was looking a little “bigger” these days. I was 12 when I heard that. I can still remember exactly how I felt. Ashamed, embarrassed. Helpless. What did I know about weight loss at 12? I didn’t even really think about how much control I had over my body. I was at the mercy of hormone changes and becoming a young woman. And now I got to have the joy of a body complex. Which to be honest, would’ve come anyways with society’s view of what young girls should look like pumped into media images. Not to mention the fact that I was subject to bullying every day of my life from Grade 1 until 8. But hearing it from a loved one hurt more.

Over the coming years I developed binge eating habits and I never really took an interest in cooking or preparing foods, much to my mother’s disappointment I’m sure. However, I could whip up a mean grilled cheese and my Kraft Dinner skills were off the hook. (In case you’ve missed the trend, there was also a strong addiction to cheese developing.) It was a serious run away train.

Around the age of 18, I was told by my doctor that I had a benign pituitary brain tumor. I was told that it screwed with my hormones, but pop a pill and life would go on as per usual. Leave it to me to get my hands on one silly internet report that losing weight MIGHT be difficult with my condition and BAM! That was all I needed to know and I pretty much gave up on myself and assumed that life was as good as it was ever going to get. Doesn’t matter what I consume on a daily basis, it wouldn’t change the fact that I had this tumor. So I had better get used to what I see in the mirror.

Flash forward to about 2 years ago. I had a suspicion I had a proposal coming from my boyfriend and I knew I didn’t want to be a “fat bride” so I joined weight watchers. It worked for a bit, I lost about 30 lbs and was fairly impressed with myself. But every pound I lost, I would keep thinking “Well this must be as far as I can go, having that brain tumor and all.” And when I hit a small plateau it gave me further assurance on that fact. Despite my doubts in my weight loss abilities, I had a wonderful wedding. I looked like a million bucks and felt incredible. Then the honeymoon. Some of the weight came back. And while I was disappointed, there was a VERY small voice in my head that said “You lost weight once, why don’t you try it again?”

This time, I reached out to a client of mine. She was engaged to a body builder type character and in excellent shape her self. She was even a black belt in Karate. Pretty impressive chick. I figured between her and her significant other I could walk away with a few pieces of information. I asked a couple small questions and she basically took the bull by the horns. She saw through my silly bullshit questions and got to the heart of my issues in a snap. She gave me clear, concise instructions and told me that someday soon I will reach and exceed any goal I want. She gave me self confidence I had been lacking for so long. I thought if a near complete stranger had this much faith in me, then I ought to give what she’s telling me a shot.

Soon, the thought of having a brain tumor limit my abilities all but disappeared. The only limitations we have in life are the ones we place on ourselves. I had this power all along. FEAR held me back. Fear of failing – failing in front of loved ones especially. Fear that the weight would all come back. Fear I couldn’t keep it up. But here I am…about 10 months since the day I reached out for help. Nearly 130 lbs lighter. I still feel confident. I still feel empowered to keep gaining new skills and new information and bettering my health. I still work at it every day, but it has become more of a lifestyle.

I am often asked if I could, would I revisit my youth and do things differently? Eat differently? Would I want to be this healthy from an earlier age? Would I chose to have this confidence? The answer is so simple. No, I wouldn’t. The strife and tough moments in my childhood helped shape me into someone with an insane amount of determination. Someone who looks for the answers she needs and has the strength to keep at it even when things go wrong. The woman who had the courage to choose change is someone I respect. That woman is incredible. Without her, I wouldn’t be here today. I am forever grateful.


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Ch-Ch-Changes

An eight year old could tell you that when you go from being obese or overweight to being a “normal” weight that you are going to look different. This observation is far from groundbreaking. And obviously, the more weight you lose, the more you will look different and of course feel different.

Doctors, medical professionals and physical trainers will all give you motivational reasons to continue on your weight loss journey. “Your foot pain will stop.” “You can climb stairs without shortness of breath.” “Your range of motion will improve”… blah blah blah. I don’t mean to discredit any of those changes, as they have made a direct improvement upon my life.But there are many more exciting and I’ll admit – vain – changes that I get a kick out of even more! Things like getting to shove more dirty laundry into your apartment’s washing machine, and ultimately stretching your $1.50, because your clothes are smaller. Not having to worry about which chairs have arm rests on them when you’re looking for a seat. And calling your husband over to you in a panic because you think you have a hernia, just to determine that it was in fact your ribs that you can now feel on your chest.

So many fun and amazing changes, I could seriously go on forever! There is one thing however, that has recently changed for me and it really has become a pain in the ass.

Shaving my arm pits.

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I am not naive enough to believe that I was going to lose fat in an even fashion around the entire circumference of my body.  However, it has now become a constant struggle for me just to maneuver the razor into a position to keep it flat against my skin while trying to get around the Grand Canyon of the underarm. The way in which I have lost fat in my arm pit is astounding to me. Was there honestly that much fat in my armpits?!  Perhaps being overweight was a bonus when it came to this particular area of personal hygiene? Sure, having a fatter neck and shoulder area made it harder to see, but that is what mirrors are for. Now, I am stuck twisting and stretching my elbow as far away from my body as possible to create a level surface to avoid cutting myself,  cutting myself anyways and then I have another arm to shave.

I think back to when I first started shaving with a razer. Probably my early teens. I don’t seem to recall having this hard of a time shaving my arm pits. I have vivid memories of trying to shave my knees, nicking myself and the immediate burning sensation as the shaving cream entered my flesh wound. But armpits? Nope, no struggle comes to mind. I’m sure you’ve had conversations with people where you talk about the advice you would like to give your teenage self if you could go back in time. That seems a little one sided to me. I wouldn’t mind having a full on discussion with the girl I used to be. Sure, there are things I would advise myself about – like growing a pair and punching that bully in the face the next time she spit on me. But I would have some hard hitting questions for myself too. Such as what exactly was going through my head when I duct taped cardboard slabs to my arms and attempted to “fly” off the roof of my garage. And now I have another question to add to that list….”How on earth did I master shaving my pits?”


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It’s Official

I’ve been told for months that I should start blogging. A friendly yoga instructor even informed me that according to my astrological chart, I would make a decent writer. I guess she didn’t get the memo from my 11th grade English teacher who told me to re think going into Journalism. Either way, here I am, writing my first blog.

I am to the point in my weight loss where it is SO noticeable, that before I can finish saying “hello” to people who I haven’t seen in a few months, they are interjecting with “You look amazing! How did you lose the weight?” I certainly don’t mind re telling my story, over and over again. I am my mother’s daughter after all. But I have gotten pretty good at summarizing over a years worth of information. I made small changes over the course of many months. I stopped eating refined sugars and highly processed food. (If you can even call it food!) I precooked and prepared meals in advance. I began to move my body more because it felt really good to do so.  I found courage to stick with my new lifestyle even through the difficult weeks.

To date, I have lost 126 lbs. Without surgery. By eating food sourced as close to nature as possible, exercising and having a hell of a lot of determination.

People call me “inspirational”. They tell me what I did seems so simple in theory -and it is! They think perhaps they can do it too – and they can! They tell me what I did seems so obtainable. The funny thing is, when I started down this path, it was for mostly selfish reasons. I was putting myself first for a change. I was expressing true self love instead of self acceptance of a complacent existence. Don’t get me wrong. There is truth in the whole “I am getting healthy to be a better wife/daughter/friend”. But for the most part it was all about me. So to find myself the poster girl for extreme weight loss was very surprising.

If this is the position that others are putting me in then I am more than happy to climb onto the pedestal. There’s a good chance I might stumble… who I am I kidding, I’ll probably knock the damn thing over. Just know that I will always get back up and keep standing. That is how you succeed.