Not your average suburban mom. I’m more your typical, normal, commonplace, everyday, garden-variety suburban mom. With a thesaurus.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How to Lose 100 Pounds - Sweat Edition

So yesterday I posted about the nutritional side of my weight loss.  I tried to include the key aspects of my weight loss, like "iced coffee is a food group."  Today is dedicated to the physical side.  Once your food intake is on point, the only other thing to do is move yer butt.

So why work out?  Technically you can lose weight without it.  If you consume less calories you will lose weight.  But working out is the triumvirate* in the weight loss world.

1.  As your muscle mass increases, your metabolism (that crazy mechanism that burns calories) increases.  It's like taking speed for intense calorie burn.  (And who doesn't want permission to do speed?)

2.  It helps with the whole "loose skin" issue that Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition has so thoughtfully made known to the world.  Because it's not like Spanx was totally helping a sister camouflage the ugly side of losing 100 pounds or anything.  Now when people find out about a big loss, their first thought is about the "apron" of skin (how sick is that visual?) that must surely be hanging sexily (totally a word) from your otherwise rock hard abdominals.  Truth? Lifting weights has helped tone my body so much that I have very little loose skin.  Yes, I have a rockin' baby gut but I've also had four C-sections in seven years, so I feel I have earned that.  It's like a trophy I will proudly display until I can afford a tummy tuck.

3. When your husband tackles you with the intention of blessing you with a wicked fart tent, you can totally defend yourself and tent him first.  Exercise is a gift to your body:
     Swimmer's arms, shoulders, and backs.
     Runner's hamstrings, quads, and calves.
     Yoga/Pilates's *ahem* flexibility.
     Spinning's tush.
     Step Aerobic's unfailing demonstration of how little coordination you have

A Girl's Gotta Move

My extensive athletic history began after Ezra was born.  It was September, 2010, and my sweet #4 child was seven weeks old.  I thought that since I was already as sleep deprived and hormonal as I was ever going to be it was the perfect time to add calorie restriction and physical exhaustion to the list as well.  (Again, I'm a planner, people.)

I started with a 5K running class based on the Couch to 5K program.  I can't say enough about this method; it is awesome for non-athletes.  It was hella hard, I'm not gonna lie, but 2 years after I completed the program I am still running.  I ran my first 5K on Thanksgiving 2010, and finished in 37:47.  My goal was 38:00, so ... nailed it.  By my first 5K I lost 53 pounds.
Waiting for the start.  200 pounds and so freaking proud of myself.  Also?  Terrified to run this race.
My gym offered two free personal trainer sessions for buying our membership, and since my running class teacher was none other than Trainer Tom, I signed up with him.  Our first session was awesomely horrifying, and I will write about it sometime, promise.  The best thing about these sessions is that they got me into the gym.  Up until then I was using my gym simply for the running track, on which I dutifully ran literal circles to reach my 5K goal.

Tom got me into the gym, showed me the equipment, how to adjust it, how to use it, and how to wipe it off when I was done.  (Dude - it's not that hard.)(Seriously.)  He gave me routines to do, and set up some goals to achieve and a plan to dominate them. (These were really do-able goals like "lose five pounds by next meeting(one month away)", "hold plank for 45 seconds", and "do 7 girly push-ups".  They weren't goals like "lose the 70 more pounds you need to lose" or anything that would drive me to quit.

When I started getting bored with my workouts, I signed up for another 5K.  It was great motivation to keep moving.  My next 5K was finished in 33:51.  Whaaaa?  Almost 4 minutes faster?!  Jeah! (Say it like you're Ryan Lochte.)
Let's forget for a moment how incredibly photogenic I am, and focus on me weighing 174 here.
Once I got bored (again) I started taking the classes offered at my gym.  It took me almost two weeks to convince myself to even enter the studio where Ab Lab was held.  Now it's one of my favorite forms of torture classes.  When I got bored (again) I signed up for another race.
My oldest ran the 5k with me and we PR'd! 32:47.  152 pounds.  (I don't know what my hair ate for breakfast, but I swear I don't have a mullet.)
This year I decided the next boredom buster was triathlon.  Obviously.  I signed up for a triathlete swimming class and met Sarah, who took me under her triathlete wings and made me a supuh-stah. (Sound it out.)  I worked for months towards triathlon, and it was fantastic.
Oh, you haven't seen this picture yet? (Haha, this is a joke because if you know me/read this blog/are friends with me on Facebook you have seen this picture 4,000 times.)  148 pounds.
Now what?  I am challenging Jillian Michaels to a 30 Day Shred competition in September. I also have at least two races on the books for this fall.  After that I'll just keep moving.

How Does This Help You?

And therein lies the best advice possible.  Just start/keep moving.  I started as out-of-shape as you could possibly be.  I was postpartum, recovering from abdominal surgery, and more than 100 pounds overweight.  I was worried about injury.  I was worried about failure.  I was worried about how fat I looked while I ran.  I was worried I would fart/pee when I ran. (Totally did.)  I had four children, a husband, and a household to take care of.  I was tired.  I was overwhelmed.  I felt helpless.

But I have the heart of a Navy Seal and I wanted my life to change, so I started the only way I could: small.

It's so cliched but completely true that small changes make a big difference.  I started with just being faithful to run three ugly times a week.  I sloooowly added strength training.  I slooooowly added cross training.  The gradual changes are the ones you'll stick with.

All my fears about injury?  Totally realized.  At first I got shin splints.  Then I had hip pain.  Then knee pain.  Then lower back pain.  All these pains had a legit reason.  I was using my body in ways it hadn't been used before. (Also I needed new running shoes.)(That's the story I sold my husband and I'm stickin' to it.)

Working out hurts (if you are doing it right).  You should be sore afterwards; it means your body is getting stronger.  I honestly don't remember the last time I wasn't a little bit sore.  But the trade-off? I'm strong.  I burn extra calories.  I have endurance.  I can play with my kids outside.  I don't resent the baby when he drops his paci and I have to squat with an extra 20 pounds in my arms because Dude, I do squats in my spare time - I got this.

All my fears about failure? I only failed when I quit.  It took me three separate runs to be able to conquer the ten minute cycle of Couch to 5K.  I learned through exercise what it means to persevere and that I am (physically and mentally) stronger than I think.  (Raise your hand if you are a parent/child/employee/spouse and, at the end of your freaking rope, and have uttered the words, ""  Guess what?  After paying your dues as a runner you will say that a lot less.)

My fears about looking fat?  Um ... I was fat.  But every run put that stored fat to good use.  Farting and peeing?  Just a sign I am a real runner.  The kids, the hubby, the house ... they were all still there when I got back from working out, but I was a less stressed and way sweatier version of myself.

So, this is a little rambling-like, but I have a wicked paper cut on the tip of my middle finger, the hubs is watching politics on television, and I have my Ipod on to drown out the noise so I can freaking concentrate, cut me some slack, Dude.

To summarize:  Exercise?
1.  Just do it. (Just kidding, I totally stole that from a little company called "Nike.")

1.  Just do it faithfully.
2. When you get bored, do different exercises faithfully.
3. Repeat for the rest of your life.

Just for fun, to end this post I leave you with a picture my Sister Wife Rachel took at a wedding a few years ago of Rose and I.
I loved this dress.  It was totally cuter in person.  
And here is a picture of Rose and I at the recent Red Carpet Run 5K.
Suburban gang signs.  

Since this post turned into more of a generic shout out to exercise (What up, Exercise!), tomorrow I am going to do a Practical Tips post about specific helps for diet and exercise.  My "tricks of the trade" if you will.  And I have a lot of them ... because I'm tricky.

*triumvirate - don't hate me because I have a thesaurus.


  1. I use all of those excuses on a regular basis. I'm busy. I'm tired. I have two small kids. I'm too fat to run. I'm too fat to do anything. Thanks for reminding me that they are excuses AND letting me know that I'm not the only one to have used them. :)

  2. Awe I love your blog and this was so great to read. Very inspiring but the truth that there is no magic pill!

  3. Love your blog. I've been jumping around and looking at different articles this morning. Finally stopping by from Join the Gossip from last week!
    I'm a newbie (sort of)runner. Doing my first 10K in April. I'm fairly certain I won't be able to run the entire thing, but I will finish and that's the point.
    Happy Sunday!
    Lulu and Daisy

    1. Welcome! I'm glad you came. I'll be sure to drop by and visit you this afternoon. I fully support run/walk-ing anytime. Good luck at your race and thanks for the comment!


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