I Just Lost It (Again)

Four years ago I participated in a six-week, Biggest-Loser-Style fitness and weight loss challenge called Just Lose It at my gym, Stevenson Fitness.

I wrote a weekly blog post about the program and my process and how terrible it all was.

Actually, it wasn’t terrible. I mean, it was because it was so damn hard. (And I’m not talking about the grueling workouts or the clean eating, I’m talking about the fact that I couldn’t drink wine for six weeks!)

But it was also awesome, because I lost 12 pounds, 4.2% body fat and a whopping 13.5 inches of flab. (Almost 4 inches were from my waist!) Then I continued on working out with my teammates and eating clean(ish) and went on to lose four more pounds. I even started running (something I had never done or had any desire to do) and ran in a 10K race. Yeah, I was rockin’ it.

Weight loss results
Me, four years ago partying it up after my final weigh-in

Well. That was four years ago. I managed to keep the weight off for two years, but then. You know how it is.

Eating healthfully takes planning and that takes time and who has that?

My plantar faciitis flared up again and I was unable to workout for a few months. (What did you say? I could have ridden the bike and done upper body? I can’t hear you because I’m plugging my ears and saying, “La-la-la-la-la.” Also. Shut up.)

And I got a new job a year ago that likes to keep its employees (very) well fed. (Turns out I forgot the word “no” was in my vocabulary when it comes to treats in the breakroom.)

Also, I was drinking a lot of wine. Like, one or two (or, okay, sometimes three) glasses a night. Not every night. But let’s say if a month has 30 days, then I probably had wine 28 of those days. So, okay. Every night.

And blah and blah and blady-blah-blah-blah. (Insert reasons and excuses here.)

So that 16 pounds I lost? It slowly crept back on. With a couple more. I found myself heavier than I’d ever been except for pregnancy and postpartum. Bleh.

And even though I obsessively got on the scale every single day (so it’s not like I didn’t know), I somehow managed to convince myself it wasn’t that bad. I mean, okay, so most of my pants didn’t fit anymore, but I still wore a medium top. (And the same shoe size!)

And then I saw this picture of me and almost cried.

Shane McAnally

And I’m not talking tears of joy because I’m with Shane McAnally, Nashville’s hottest songwriter and producer. And not because my bangs are all jaggedy. (Seriously, WTF is going on there?) Because look at my face. It’s so fat. And my face is always the last place I gain weight. It’s like my body hits maximum capacity and there is nowhere else for the fat to go, so it floats up to my face.

I knew it was time to get serious and do something. And since my gym was starting another round of Just Lose It, I decided to give it another go.

But as excited as I was to participate in the program again (well, maybe excited isn’t quite the right word), I also felt  a bit of dread. Not because I had to give up my beloved wine (okay, maybe a little because of that) or because of the hard work I was going to have to put in (okay, maybe a little because of that too), but because I felt like a bit of a failure. I mean, I succeeded in this program four years ago, and here I was again, three pounds heavier than when I started the first time.

Would everyone think I was a big loser (and not the right kind) for joining this program again?

As it turns out, it was quite the opposite. What I got was encouragement. High fives, and “way to goes” and “you look great.”

We all fall down. And when we do we have a choice: sit there in the dirt and cry about our fat face (as we’re stuffing it) or stand up, dust ourselves off, and cry about the wine we’re not drinking and the dark chocolate almonds with sea salt we’re not shoveling into our gullet because our mean trainer has given us a clean eating diet and making us do hard workouts six days a week.

Okay, that was a terrible analogy, but you know what I’m saying. The real failure is not falling down. It’s not getting back up.

So for six weeks…

I got up every morning at 5AM and did a seven minute workout that at first was really, really hard and by the end was (almost) easy.

I ate clean. (Bye bye wine, dark chocolate and break room goodies, and hello chicken, chicken, more chicken, vegetables, vegetables, vegetables and quinoa.)

I recorded every thing I ate and drank in a food journal. (Boy is that eye opening. If you’ve never kept a food journal, you should try it some time. You’d be amazed at how much mindless eating you do throughout the day. At least I was.)

I drank an ocean full of water. Daily.

I weight trained three days a week at 6AM (good morning!) with these awesome ladies under the guidance of our trainer, the mean, terrible, awful awesome Christy. (I do not think there was one workout that I did not whine at her. Or swear at her. Or both.)

The Iron Maidens (Yes, you are correct. We rock!)

I worked out three days a week on my own doing sadistic cardio routines created by the Just Lose It evil masterminds. (We were encouraged to do our cardio as a group, but our schedules never seemed to line up. Stupid jobs and kids.)

I went to multiple Happy Hours and only had club soda with a (teeny-tiny) splash of cranberry juice with a lime squeeze. (Make that Unhappy Hour.)

Also I stopped drinking wine. And eating chocolate. (Oh, I said that already? Sorry.)

It was terrible.

But also. It was amazing.

I felt great. (When I wasn’t achy and hungry.)

I slept great. (Turns out not drinking wine and being physically exhausted from grueling workouts helps you sleep. Who knew?)

And about half-way through, I started looking great.

In the end I lost 14.4 pounds, 6.9% body fat and 14.75 inches! (5 inches from my waist alone!!!) Even better than the first time. (Okay, okay, I had more to lose this time. But still.)

And did I mention that it was a contest? We competed as a team. (Sadly my awesome team, the Iron Maidens -great name, right?- were robbed and did not win.)

But we also competed as individuals and guess what? All that hard work, clean eating and whining about not drinking wine paid off, because I was the biggest loser of all. (Meaning, I was the winner!)

So, yes, I am a big loser. (Exactly the right kind.)

Me, trying to recreate my Just Lose It post-final-weigh-in photo from 4 years ago. Yeah, I don’t know what’s going on with my hair, and I still have (more than) a bit of toning to do, but I’m still kind of rockin’ it.




Just Lose It: What It’s Really Like to Join a Six-Week Weight Loss Competition (Week 2)

I’ve completed Week 2 of my “Biggest Loser-style” Just Lose It program at Stevenson Fitness, but I’m sure what everyone really wants to know is how much weight I lost from Week 1. (What, you mean you haven’t been curiously obsessing over it all week? Whatever. I’ll tell you anyway.)

After my first week I lost 5.8 pounds. Yes, I am awesome. Or just fat. Either way…  I have to admit I was pretty happy with the results.

As a team we lost 14.4 pounds – an average of 2.5% per person. Our team is in 2nd place – the first place team lost 38.4 pounds total (wow!) and an average of 3.9% per person. Obviously they are cheating. Plus there are five of them and only four of us, so there! (But I have faith. Our team will pull ahead and be the biggest losers – you’ll see.)

Trainer Safia (middle) hanging with Phil and his Pink Bitches

After our weigh-in last week we had a meeting with our nutritionist, Holly, who went over our food diary. (Yes, we have to keep a diary and write down everything we eat and at what time. And I mean everything.)

Holly said I’ve done very good on my diet (um hello, see weight loss above), but I’m not eating enough carbs. And by carbs she does not mean yummy bread, pasta or French fries. She means brown rice, the smallest portion of (non-French-fried) potatoes you’ve ever seen, or fruit. (Yawn.)

She explained that while the lack of carbs could be part of the reason I lost almost six pounds in a week, in the long run it’s not going to serve me well. I’ll become cranky and irritable and more likely to binge.

If you want to know the truth I think that’s a little rude. She doesn’t even know me. How does she know whether or not I’m cranky and irritable? Maybe that’s just my personality. And maybe I lost 5.8 pounds because I did not cheat on my diet (which is not a diet, but a lifestyle change -ugh!) even once and because bad mean Phil (quite literally) worked my ass off! Lack of carbs is making me cranky – Pffft! I might hate Holly too.

Um… anyway…

I found Week 2 to be a bit more challenging diet-wise. I mean, how much freaking chicken can one person eat? I swear if I see one more piece of chicken on my plate I’m going to kill it. Oh wait, it’s already dead. Well, I’m going to… to… I don’t know, I’m going to anything but eat it is what I’m going to do.

Chicken with black beans
Chicken with black beans and corn. (You see that Holly – plenty of carbs!)

And if I’m honest (and sadly I always am), I will admit that the over-eating of chicken is my fault and not rude Holly’s. I can eat beef or pork or fish, but I don’t really like to eat too much red meat. (Okay, that’s a lie. I could eat red meat every day, possibly every meal, and be happy as a Survivor contestant after winning a food-reward challenge, but I’m pretty sure that’s not really good for you.)

But my family is fairly picky and doesn’t really like pork (unless it’s Easter ham or bacon) and my daughter won’t eat fish. So, we eat a lot of chicken. But these past two weeks we’ve eaten even more than usual in replacement of the quesadilla/pasta/grilled cheese gourmet meals that I usually rely on presenting to my family a few times a week. Even my husband who never complains about what I serve for dinner gently suggested we might have something else.

And then I snapped at him. And not because I didn’t eat any carbs. I mean I had 12 cherries that day. I think.

Also during Week 2 I’m sad to admit that I cheated and went wine tasting. But it wasn’t my fault. My friend bought a Groupon for SIP and it was about to expire. And friends don’t let friends let wine-tasting-Groupons expire.

I did talk to Holly about it beforehand and she told me to treat wine as my carb and to be sure to balance it out with a protein. (Wine as my carb? I might like this Holly afterall!) So I brought some cheese. Except that you can’t bring food to SIP so I had to sneak it in my purse.

Some people sneak wine where they’re not supposed to – I sneak food!

I enjoyed wine tasting very much. (Like you wouldn’t believe.)

See how wine makes me glow? Or perhaps I’m cleverly minimizing my wrinkles with a filter. At least one of those statements is true.

I also enjoyed flirting with our cute 24-year-old wine pourer, Austin. (And yes, I am familiar with the term sommelier, but are cute 24-year-olds who work at wine tasting rooms considered sommeliers? I don’t think so. Let’s just go with wine pourer.) And I think my 5.8 pound one week weight loss gave me a confidence that translated to hotness because my boyfriend Austin did not bust me on the cheese.

In my mind Austin’s red eyes are only for me.

And then we went to Ladyface for a late light dinner where I enjoyed their Salade Niçoise and a club soda with a splash of cranberry. And do you know who showed up 20 minutes later and sat right next to us at the bar? Austin! (5.8 pound weigh loss = confidence = cute boys following you.)

The fact that we didn’t tell him we were headed to Ladyface and he left after about 10 minutes when his friend showed up is really none of your business.

Yes, I enjoyed my cheater wine tasting evening very much.

Do you know what I did not enjoy? That night I slept like crap. And the next day I felt like crap. Following Rude Holly and Mean Phil’s program had my body so detoxed and clean that drinking wine made me feel crappy. And feeling crappy makes me crabby. And wine was my carb. So obviously Holly does not know what she’s talking about when she says lack of carbs will make me crabby because it turns out that it’s carbs that make me crabby.

At least program-cheating-wine-carbs.


I do not like that. Not one little bit.

Check out my post on Thursday to find out about my girls’ night at my friend’s beach house with my six drunk-ass friends and sober-wine-carb-free me. (Yeah, that happened.) And check back next Monday to continue on my “Biggest Loser-style” Just Lose It weight loss journey.