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.)

Just-Lose-It-Workout-Program
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.)

Just-Lose-It-After-Photo
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 1)

Have you ever looked at someone and thought to yourself, Yeah, I’d look great too If I had a personal trainer and a nutritionist like she does? (Or he does. If you’re a dude. Or want to look like one.)

I have. (Like all the time.)

So decided to approach the manager of my gym to see what she thought about me participating in their “Just Lose It” six week weight loss competition and writing a blog series about it. She thought it was a great idea. Of course I did too. Not only will I participate in a group and individual weight loss challenge complete with a personal trainer and nutritionist (and therefore look amazing), I will have interesting and informative blog material for the next six weeks. (Win, win!) The program includes two weekly team workouts with a trainer and one weekly team meeting with a nutritionist.

Six-week-weight-loss
I’m totally going to look like her when I’m done!

Sounds awesome right?

Well, if your definition of awesome is stepping your fat ass on a scale at night while wearing tennis shoes in front of a really cute boy trainer, then having another cute boy trainer measure your body fat, and then having your body measurements taken (at least that was done by a woman), then yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

And no you do not get to know what my numbers are. At least not yet. (Nosy!)

But here’s a couple of “before” pictures of me (if you click on it it will get bigger):

Before-weight-loss-photo
Feel free to snicker!

After the shock and humiliation of learning my stats I sat down with the other participants to have the basics of the program explained to us:

This is a challenge where three small teams (two five-person and one four-person) will be competing to see which team loses the most inches, body fat and pounds. There will also be an individual “Biggest Loser” (hence winner) at the end of the competition. (The loss totals are done as a percentage to compensate for the fact that one team only has four members and because of the whole “men lose weight faster than women” thing.)

We will meet with our trainer twice a week and the nutritionist once a week. We also have to do one additional strength training session as a team designed by our trainer, but without our trainer present. And we have to do three weekly cardio sessions (again designed by our trainer) that last 30 – 60 minutes.

Uh… I thought this thing was only twice a week.

Nope. It turns out if you want to look like “those people” (you know, the skinny, in shape, fit people) you have to workout like they do.

Sigh…

But still. It sounds pretty easy to me. Well, maybe not easy, but at least doable. I mean, I workout all the time. On good weeks I hit the gym five to six times and on bad weeks I get there at least two or three.

And I eat healthfully. Ish.

Really, how hard can this challenge be?

Well, considering the fact that I’ve been unable to drop any significant weight for the last year and a half and the people who stick to this program drop a ton of weight in just six weeks (one woman I talked to lost over 20 pounds!) the answer, my poor tired aching body is finding out, is pretty freaking hard.

In the first place, there is no drinking alcohol. What?! Bu…bu…but… it’s summertime! Time for delicious margaritas. Yummy sangria. Refreshing lemonade and vodka. Crisp Pinot Grigio. Fruity Sauvignon Blanc. Buttery Chardonnay. (There may not be any wine for the next six weeks, but trust me – there will be plenty of whining!)

The diet is healthy,but strict. At least the food is plentiful (it had better be with all the working out we’re doing). I have to eat four times a day (every four hours) with a very regimented protein/healthy-carb/fat ratio. Nothing that contains flour may be consumed for the first two weeks.  So my two to three times a week “Oh-crap-it’s-six-o’clock-I-forgot-to-pull-something-out-of-the-freezer-what-are-we-going-to-have-for-dinner-how-about pasta/quesadilla/grilled cheese?” dinner plan just got thrown out the window. (Shit!) I can have potatoes. But not the (French) fried variety that I prefer.

And I’m sure it goes without saying no sugar. But honestly, I’d rather have a French fry. (Or wine.)

Day One

My trainer’s name is Phil. I hate Phil. And not because he was the cute boy trainer who took my fat measurement. (Bastard!)

I hate Phil because of what he is making me and my team members do to win this contest. Which is, you know, workout.

Hard.

Really really hard.

He made me say the F word. (But only once.) I’d tell you our workout routine, but I don’t want the other trainers getting wind of the awesomeness terribleness of Phil and copying any of our workouts. Because my team -The Pink Bitches- we’re going to win this competition. (Believe it!)

Day Two

Phil told us we could rest today. But I took my dog on a 2 mile walk, did a 4 minute Tabata Training (yes, only 4 minutes, but trust me they are 4 intense minutes) and called myself awesome.

Day Three

Workout #2 with Phil. Phil made us run. I hate running. And sprint. And since sprinting is doing something I hate really, really fast, I hate sprinting even more. (Have I mentioned that I hate Phil?) He made me say the F word again. And not just once.

Then Phil made us do no less than 400 reps of various core exercises. I wish I was exaggerating.

And lucky us, there was even time for upper body weight lifting. (Yay!)

At the end of the workout, Phil was nice enough to help stretch me out. I (almost) felt bad for him because I think I smelled pretty bad gross, so I have to give him credit for coming within two inches of me. the stretching felt great – in an ouchy-hurts-so-good kind of way. I started to like Phil. (A little.)

Day Four

The four of us took Deena’s 5:30 AM kickboxing class. (Phil made us do it.) I workout at 5:30 AM all the time, but I was so sore that there is no way in hell I would have gone if the other Pink Bitches weren’t there counting on me. (Turns out accountability works.)

And Deena? She is so freaking perky in the morning I want to punch her I love her. Her class was great, but I was dying. D-Y-I-N-G!

Day Five

The Pink Bitches met again at 5:30 AM for a weight training session developed by Phil. We thought it would take an hour. It took an hour and a half. I might not be the only one who hates Phil.

Day Six

Rest day. I love Phil.

Day Seven

Cardio Day. Fifteen minutes stair climber (think going the wrong way up an escalator – for 15 minutes!), fifteen minutes on the recumbent bike, fifteen minutes on the ellyptical. All at high levels and a fast pace.

Every muscle inside my body hurts. My eyelashes hurt.

I really hate Phil.

Check back next week to see how much weight I lost the first week.