I can’t control food without back up, I’ve discovered. I need empowerment, a physical support system which as it turns out is exercise. Not only does working out make me feel happier (so I don’t feel compelled to binge) it takes up the time that could be otherwise spent nibbling. I had been in a gym before I started going as an adult, but did I know what I was doing? That’s where Cathy comes into the mix. She is a personal trainer and genuinely one of the most caring people I’ve ever met.
There’s a stereotype that all personal trainers are drill sergeants in disguise. Not the case with Cathy. She is a petite woman, former hairdresser, in excellent shape… but a bit of a softy. She can be tough when she wants to be but I really feel that she is more about making you want to come back than scaring you into coming back. I guess in a way, for me, it became more about making her proud of me. My interest and focus was weak at best when I first started my introduction to the world of fitness, even with a personal trainer.
I would go to the gym at the times I was scheduled to go, and I would do everything that Cathy asked me to do, but looking back I wasn’t really giving it my all. When I went home I considered my workout for the week complete and grabbed a snack. I saw some changes in my body, lost a few inches here and there but I didn’t feel like I was accomplishing anything. After years (YEARS!) of working with a personal trainer I still couldn’t run without getting winded, or lift weights in excess of five or ten pounds. It was pretty pathetic, truthfully.
My body got back at me though and I paid for my lack of commitment through something called a plica band in my knee (essentially an extra piece of tissue that was keeping my leg from being able to straighten). It should have never happened but I was working out beyond my skill level trying to convince myself I was doing things that I wasn’t. Another injury that sidelined me and knocked me down both physically and mentally.
About five years ago, post knee surgery, I made the decision to stop lying to myself and stop lying to everyone else. While I was laid up recovering I started reading and discovered that the human body is an interesting machine. I absorbed as much as I possibly could about fitness and nutrition, and how to properly fuel your muscles. I developed a keen interest in power lifting, and bodybuilding, and just strength in general.
Once I got back into the gym after recovering from surgery I was a totally different person. Even Cathy said she noticed the change in me, that I was working that much harder, pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, and I absolutely loved it. I became her guinea pig for new exercises she learned about at conferences, I was trying anything I could, and I got stronger.
I bulked up a bit and I was fine with that because I knew I would eventually lean out. It never happened though. My muscles got bigger, my body got stronger, and I did lose some weight (back down to about 178 pounds and a US size 10, with more to go) but I just can’t shake this fluffy coat.
That sort of leads me to where I am today. I know that there are muscles down there, I just need to find them. Some people think the easy solution is to just say, “You just need to be more disciplined!” MORE discipline?! Do you know how much “discipline” it’s taking not to mow down every time I hit candy row at the grocery store?
I could be more disciplined, I could be more motivated, I could be a lot of things, but I’m me. My goal right now is to trim down a bit but I’ve accepted that some people, no matter how disciplined they are, are meant to carry around a bit more fat than other people. I just need to find out for sure whether I’m one of those people.
How to do it without failing is the hard part I’ve yet to figure out…