Monday, 29 December 2008

Please, Don't Make Me Run Track!

Growing up I was always pretty athletic. I danced ballet from the time I was 3 and participated in many school sports (basketball, softball, volleyball & soccer) until about the age of fifteen. I had superb muscle tone in my legs, a flat tummy, and although short-limb'ed, great definition in my calves. Despite being quite active, I remember begging my mom to "never make me run track" because I absolutely hated running as a solo activity.

My sophomore year in high school is roughly the time when I became disinterested in sports altogether and from there the weight slowly crept on. By the time I was twenty I was a chunky, five-foot-tall, inactive young-adult.

It wasn't until I attended my very first Weight Watchers meeting in 2002 that I even realized my own health and weight were a true issue. My first weigh-in was when the shock and horror set in as I tipped the scales at 197 lbs! Within the next 9 months I lost 45 lbs. and felt amazing! I was down to a size 12 and loved the way my new body looked, even though I still had 30 lbs. to go. Unfortunately, I let myself believe I had everything under control and I quit the program, and myself, in a way.

By the time I graduated from University, I had managed to gain back all that I had lost before, plus some. In 2006 I moved out of state to teach down south for a couple years. A year after moving, I decided enough was enough and I joined Weight Watchers again in November 2007. My weigh-in from there was my worst-to-date. A staggering 213.2 lbs! I wanted to cry. I had to admit to myself that the variety in diet I had in mind (Wendy's, Taco Bell, Arby's, etc.) was not doing me any good.

Several weeks after re-joining, a fellow teacher friend of mine decided to join as well. This helped my own progress tremendously. It wasn't a competition, but we worked well together to keep the other in line. Every Wednesday we would exchange IMs from home to determine when the other was leaving for our meeting so we could save each other seats. If one of us had a bad week, rather than groan about it, we would stay positive and encourage one another to keep at it. Then, after meetings, we would go out for a healthy meal to celebrate sticking with the program.

I moved to the UK in August 2008 and thus had to part with Weight Watchers and my weigh-in buddy. By this point I had managed to lose about 28 lbs. (2 stone) from my start in November 2007. A couple weeks upon arriving I asked my husband (then my fiance) if we could afford the monthly pass to Weight Watchers in the UK. He knew how important it was that I continue to succeed and improve my health so of course the answer was 'yes.'

I found a meeting at a Catholic Church nearby that was only a ten-minute walk. I've attended every week since, with the exception of 2-3 because of schedule conflicts. My last weigh-in was about 10 days before Christmas and I was 178 lbs. (12 stone 10 lbs). My next weigh-in will not be until the 7th of January 2009 when they reconvene after the holiday.

My losses the past 6-8 months have been slow if not stagnant altogether and I realize a lot of this has to do with stresses about my transatlantic relocation, jobs and finances. My friend in the States has met her ultimate goal already and I'm just yo-yo'ing back and forth with losses and gains. I know there is no time like the present to take control. I've done a bit of walking as exercise, but the results haven't completely met my satisfaction. I refuse to give up this time around and though it may take me longer than I originally planned, I need to shift into high gear and make the change happen.

So it begins TODAY.

I have downloaded the pod-casts for the Couch to 5K running program. It's just over a two-month series of 3-day/week scaffolded plans that alternate walking & running in small intervals for 20-30 minutes. The idea of the program is that by the end of this time, a person can run one 30 minute, 5K run and not overexert themselves. The podcast is helpful because is saves having to carry a stopwatch or set a timer for the runs. The voice breaks into the upbeat music selections to tell you when to start running and when to stop and walk while also reminding you to relax your hands and motivating you to keep it up. Now it's just a matter of setting my plan into motion and actually getting started. The only obstacle at the moment is finding a set of headphones that will plug into my husband's mobile phone, which I will use to play the pod-casts.

My further goal is to blog about each run to keep myself accountable to stick with the program -- both the Couch to 5K and Weight Watchers. If you're in a similar situation or have any ideas or comments...please leave me one.

Looking forward to see where this further journey takes me!


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