Thursday, April 30, 2009

Karen’s Success Story

I've been a Weight Watchers leader for a year and a half now, but although recently I've struggled with continuing in this role for several reasons, Karen's story represents the major reason why I keep this job.
Karen has been an active WW member for over 89 weeks folks! EIGHTY NINE! That is one year and almost 8 months. I can't say that I remember her when I started my weight loss journey but she must have been there around the time I reached my goal. I do remember when she reached her 75 lb mark as I weighed her then. I weighed her at her 100 lb mark as well.
When I do my getting started meetings and when I took this meeting over I told everyone that no matter what, if you feel like quitting, please come and talk to me. I truly and genuinely care about you reaching not only your weight loss goal but your YOU goal. I tell them that I understand what it is like to be at a plateau. I was at one for NINE WEEKS, and I never want to forget that feeling. I tell them I have big shoulders and I can deal with the fact that they don't want to track exercise or they are just sick of doing this. But please, come and give me one chance to help them get re-motivated and to stay with the program.
Well, Karen had been struggling for three months to lose three pounds. She had been up 1, down 1.8, up .6, down, 2.6. Back and forth. You know what that's like, we've all been there. Yet, each week she would continue to come and weigh in. Last night she came as usual and I happen to weigh her. She was in a doom and gloom frame of mind and said she just really didn't know how this was going to go. I told her not to worry, let's just see what happens. She stepped on the scale and had lost 4.6 which pushed her into her goal weight of 154.6. Her total weight loss was 158.8 lbs. That's right 158.8 over an 89 week journey. She burst into tears, I cried for her and hugged her tightly and told her how proud I was of her (I'm tearing up right now thinking about it). I told her that it was now the beginning of a whole new her.

It doesn't end here. She proceeded to tell me that she almost didn't come to the meeting that night. She said she was sick of living like this and messing around with three sticking pounds but somewhere in her head she remembered me telling her to "just give ME a chance" and that we would work together to get over that hump. She said after she thought of that, she just had to come to the meeting and talk with me. To make things even better, her granddaughter who usually just drops her off at the meeting, stayed that night and was there to celebrate and witness this life changing event for her grandma. We also figured that during her weight loss journey she lost an AVERAGE of 1.77 lbs each week. What do we say here, "1-2 lbs per week".

We celebrated that night hard in the meeting room, we talked more about what it means to reach goals and persevere. We talked about support, what it is, and why we need it. We talked about never letting a little thing like the number on a scale, a cookie or pie rule how we live our lives or how it can make us feel.

I can't stress to each and everyone of you enough, that you can do this. You can learn to change your life, to live a healthy and fit lifestyle. You are worth it, and if I could hug and cry with each one of you as you reach your goals, I would do so gladly.

In short, this is why I'm a Weight Watchers leader and this one episode has brought more joy and satisfaction to me than anything I've experienced in the last few months.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It’s About Attitude

Many of you know that I just completed my first triathlon. I'm now part of an elite club. Less than 1% of the world's population ever completes a triathlon so no matter what my time or where I placed I'm a pretty special person, if I do say so myself.

I don't want to talk about me today though; I want to talk about a fellow competitor with whom I did the race. Her name is Jill. This was Jill's second triathlon and she was very excited about doing it. She had purchased a new bike, trained, and was ready for the first triathlon of the year. I know she was excited to be competing with our friend Kathy and me. Together they were going to "break me in" to the so called tri-world.

We had a great night picking up our race packets, looking at the huge pool that we would swim in, checking out the transition area and driving the 12.5 miles long bike course to get an idea of what to expect. Let me tell you, there are lots of hills in the Oxford, Ohio area!

We headed out to the race on Saturday morning and somehow we got lost along the way. Whilst trying to find our way, we stopped to ask for directions. At the same time I wanted to check out a strange noise I'd heard coming from the back of the van. We found that Jill's bike had fallen off the bike rack and was being dragged along the road for who knows how long. Her tire was shredded and rim thrashed. We knew at this point, that it was unlikely that her race would take place as planned.

I was sad for Jill, I was also sad for me because I felt I needed her to complete this race. I had no clue what I was doing. I was tempted to just back out.. I mean, it would have been an honorable gesture, right? Probably also cowardly , but you know, Jill wasn't upset at all. In fact, she just said, "you know, it was meant to be, but I'm still going to swim and run". So that is exactly what she did. She did the swim portion, waited for me to finish the bike ride and was at the transition for us to run our three miles together and for us to finish as friends and as a team.

Finding the positive in and learning from a negative experience are important parts of dealing with setbacks. The most important part of a setback is getting up and moving forward. Not letting that negative experience to permanently impede your forward movement.

An old Chinese proverb says: "Fall down seven times, get up eight times.." Its determination and attitude that will get us beyond the difficult walls that block us from our dreams.

My kudos go to Jill this week who didn't let a little bike wreck keep her from having a great time and completing a dream.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taking Care of Yourself

I believe that in life there are givers and takers. One isn't better or worse than the other because we really should see ourselves on both sides of that equation. Sometimes giving and sometimes receiving.

I however, tend to be a giver and probably do a terrible job at being a receiver. I give and give and then I get to a point where I feel burnt-out and resentful toward the very people that I have enjoyed giving to.

We talk a lot about taking care of ourselves in non food related activities. Recently, I have found myself to really be burning the candle at both ends. I love being active in my family's life and I really enjoy the relationships and interactions that I have come to have with many people within my community locally and in web land. However, I was starting to see that I was suffering. Some of the things that I would normally take time to do for myself were being put onto the back burner and worse yet I felt that some of my duties as mommy and wife were being ignored.

So I had to take a step back and look at what was really important to me. I asked myself a tough question; what could I keep and what did I need to let go off? What could I give to someone else? I can't be Wonder Woman, as much as I would love to wear that cute outfit and have an invisible plane! So recently I made some changes in my life that will allow me to take better care of myself and those that are closest to me.

Is it hard? Did I disappoint some other people in the process? Yes, I'm sure I did. However, I need to practice what I preach and I was finding that some food items were making it into my cart that perhaps shouldn't be there or I was fudging a bit on a good workout to make room for other things when really those weren't as important as eating right and exercising.

What type of changes do you need to make in your life to "right adjust" yourself so that you are taking care of the most important person in your life, YOU!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fake It Till You Make It

Do you ever feel like you just aren't "in the mood" for this anymore. I sure do. Trust me, just because I'm a Weight Watchers Leader and Personal Trainer doesn't mean that I don't get sick of counting calories or Points or measuring, weighing, drinking water and exercising. Many times I'm just not in the mood. You know, it gets old after a while and sometimes and I just want to rebel.

In fact, sometimes I do rebel. It's in times like this that we just have to "fake it till we make it". We simply go through the motions whether we like it or not. That's why is so important to have things planned out and keep them readily available for the times when we are just not in the mood pop up. Trust me, we aren't going to plan a menu when all we want to do is grab something simple and go home to do nothing.

Having two or three quick and healthy meal options is a great way to work through times like this. I always make sure that I have chicken breasts cooked and frozen ready to use as well as some brown rice and frozen veggies. A person can do a lot with just those few ingredients.

Exercise needs to be approached in the same way you approach brushing your teeth. You don't spend hours in the bathroom brushing your teeth but the dentist recommends 2-3 three times per day and you must brush for 2 minutes. So with exercise, since its many more pieces to take care of, you must just get in 2-3 bouts of 10-15 minutes of movement. Take a walk around the building, that you work in, walk up and down the staircase at home. Just move. It's like brushing your teeth, you just gotta do it!

Folks, we aren't always going to have a stellar workout or have a week of fantastic eating, or lose weight every week or make a huge personal breakthrough in our thinking. But, what we can do, are small consistent things that add up over time to gradually get us to where we want to be.