Well, the challenge is officially over. I cannot believe how fast the year went! I have really enjoyed seeing the transformation in my body, and in my eating habits. I have made a lifestyle change for life! I feel so good, that I will never go back to my old ways. I want to encourage anyone who is struggling with getting fit and healthy. Just give yourself a year and do it! Commit to exercising and eating healthy and find some accountability. Give a gift to yourself and get a trainer, even if it is to just get started. Join a gym and get ideas from those working out around you. Get your spouse or a friend to join you. I never imagined how good I would feel, and after a year, working out is not easy but definitely more enjoyable.
I think Catherine and I both showed that if a mother of 7 running a busy household, and a mother of two, finishing school and getting a job and running a busy household can do it, so can you. If you make it a priority, you will find that you DO actually have time to exercise. Get out there and do it!
Here are my ending stats: 74 pounds lost, 53.75 inches lost, 8 sizes down in clothes, and over 20 % body fat lost. I still have about 25 pounds to lose to hit my goal of 100 pounds so I will keep marching on...
Thank you Mike, Gail and family at Anytime Fitness, thank you Zach, the most awesome and tough trainer, thank you Catherine for such a motivating example. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Well, down to the last week of this challenge! I cannot believe the year went so fast. I must admit that I am very sad for this challenge to be over. I learned so much about exercise, weight lifting, healthy eating, and lifestyle changes. I have been so spoiled with having a trainer think for me and tell me what to do.
Zach has been amazing! He is so knowledgeable and worked me so very hard. I know I would not have gotten half this far without him. I am sad to be on my own and having to think of my own workouts. I will try to push myself hard and continue on. I have no doubt that I will continue to be successful in working out and eating healthy.
I have made li festyle changes that have become a permanent part of my life. There is no going back to my old ways. Just continuing to march on . So very thankful for Anytime Fitness and Zach Andersen! I will update on my final pounds and inches lost next week.
Catherine Reynolds – Week 50
I started a new job this week which is forcing me to change my normal workout routine, and it’s really thrown me off. It’s amazing how a consistent schedule can really have a strong positive effect on your workouts.
For a while now, it has been second nature for me to head into the gym right after the kids start school in the morning. I can spend an hour or hour and a half and not have to worry about rushing off anywhere else. I even started blocking out this time for myself; I purposely did not schedule appointments or anything else because this was an important “appointment” for me. But I think that’s what helped to make me consistent. I had to look at it as a set appointment, not an optional thing to fit into my schedule.
Now, however, my schedule is completely changed and I have been going in to the gym at about 5am. What I find amazing though is that I am actually doing it! There were many times this past year, some not too long ago, when I would hear the alarm go off, and simply ignore it. But not now! Sometimes it’s the small victories that indicate big successes!
Thing I learned this week: Consistency can do a lot for your routine.
Happy Thanksgiving! This year, as I list the things I am thankful for, this fitness challenge is at the top of my list! I am thankful for the opportunity that Anytime Fitness and my trainer Zach have provided. Most of all, I am thankful for how good I feel!
I cannot believe how much energy I have, and how much I am able to do in a day. I cannot believe I can get to the end of the day, without my joints aching and my back hurting. As people ask me how I stayed motivated, I want to tell anyone who wants to get fit and lose weight to give it a full year. It took me 6-8 months to feel really good physically.
For the last 10-15 years, I used to eat healthy and exercise for a few months, but I would not feel much better and I would lose motivation. Even when I had accountability, I would give up because it just wasn't worth it. I still felt tired, sluggish, and did not have much energy. It was easier to go back to unhealthy eating and no exercise. It would have been the same this time too, but because I had committed for a year, I hung in there even when I did not feel a huge difference for a while. Now, almost at the end of the year challenge, I feel so much greater than I ever thought possible! I just needed to hang in there and give it more time than a few months.
So, if you are anything like I was, give it TIME! Don't give up! Give yourself a year to accomplish your goal. The year really goes much faster than you think it will. And, after the year, I have completely gotten rid of old habits and replaced them with new, healthy habits. This also took almost the whole year to accomplish. If I can do it, so can you!
Catherine Reynolds – Week 48
As this week comes to a close, I am rounding off my third full week of my more intensive training schedule. Steve swore that I was going to be hating him right about this time, but actually it’s the opposite.
I’m really enjoying this new routine. I run about a mile for warm-up, then proceed to 30-45 minutes of strength training focusing on a particular muscle group, then round it off with a little more cardio. Cardio for me almost always equates to running but that is only because I really enjoy it!
Overall, I am definitely feeling stronger and leaner. I can actually feel my hip bones more than I used to! And, when working my arms, I definitely have more tone than I did before. I’ve had a couple people comment on how good my arms are looking and it’s such a great feeling.
With that comes the realization that I have had a real shift in my attitude toward working out and taking care of my body. Since my free membership will be ending soon, I haven’t even thought about if I was going to continue my membership. Of course I am. There is no question. Paying a gym membership before was considered a “luxury expense,” something I could always make the excuse for that it wasn’t in my budget. Budget has nothing to do with it now. It’s a matter of your health and well-being, just like the food you put in your body, or your visits to the doctor. It’s just the way it is.
Thing I learned this week: I am very comfortable (and elated) with my lifestyle!
In reflecting on this past week, I find myself almost overwhelmed with how thankful I am for this challenge. I know I have said that before, but there were so many tangible reminders this week that I feel reenergized and surrounded by my gratitude.
When I applied for the Challenge, one of my main goals was to instill a sense of “normalcy” in having an active and healthy lifestyle for my kids. I grew up in a family surrounded and haunted by obesity and I have never wanted my children to experience that. I knew teaching them early about diet and exercise would be key. So this past weekend, my girls, ages 4 and 5, ran the Color Me Rad 5k with me up in Phoenix. They ran their little hearts out, hung out in the jogging stroller, and laughed their heads off. The race is all they talk about. I love the fact that they wanted to share this experience with me and that they are bugging me for more. I want them to enjoy exercise and find it a normal, comfortable part of their life.
This week, too, the Northwest Explorer published an update article on the progress both Erin and I have made in this Challenge. First, let me say, Erin looks phenomenal! She has been such an inspiration! But, that article, particularly the pictures, really struck a cord for me. I can’t say that I have seen the change in myself just by looking in the mirror everyday. But, seeing the before and after pictures next to each other proved to me that I have come a LONG way. It has motivated me to take it just a little further to reach my goal because I have come much farther than I give myself credit for.
Thing I learned this week: I am just so thankful.
My weight is finally unstuck! I am going to say it, Zach was right. I needed to be eating more calories. I increased my calories and the scale dropped. I still think it defies all logic, but he bumped my calories up again this week and I am going to try really hard to get them in my day. My husband and I, along with some friends, are beginning a workout dvd five days a week for 60 days. I am still going to continue strength training and cardio in the gym as well. I must admit that my food addiction has changed to an exercise addiction! If you would have told me a year ago that I would "crave" exercise instead of carbs, I would have told you "no way!" It is really a miraculous transformation, not only in my body, but in my mind as well. I continue to be so very thankful for this life-changing opportunity.
Catherine Reynolds – Week 46
This week I started my more intense strength training routine. Five days a week of strength training, along with cardio. The five days consist of one muscle group each day being chest, back, legs, shoulders, and arms. As I approach the end of the first week, I can definitely say I am sore!
But there is something about being sore from a good workout that is so gratifying. It’s a constant reminder that you’ve pushed your body and it is building itself up to be even better than it was before. Not only that, but working out, especially strength training for me, is such an endorphin rush. Talk about a natural antidepressant!
Thing I learned this week: It’s kind of nice to push a little harder than normal.
This week my weight finally went down again. It has been stuck for a while. Zach thought that I needed to be eating more calories. This is such a scary thought for me. First of all, it is difficult because I have been around 1200 to 1300 calories/day for so long that my stomach just cannot handle much more. Second, without eating carbs, it is actually difficult to get that many calories from fruits, veggies, and lean meats. Third, it just plain defies logic. It is not logical to eat more to lose more weight. It goes against the general knowledge I have believed for years. It goes to show that it really is not just calories in/calories out. I think it started that way, but once I began to really work out hard, build muscle and burn thousands of calories per week it became more complicated. All that said, I have come to trust Zach a little more when he asks me to bump up my calories. It is still scary, but he has been training for a long time, and he knows better than I what my body needs to be doing. That is one of the great things about a personal trainer!
One last exciting thing this week: Zach has been using different ways to calculate my percent body fat, and it seems as if I have gone down about 20 % body fat since I started! I started close to the "dangerously obese" category and I am now on the line between"unhealthy" and "healthy"! I am very excited about that! Marching on...
I’ve really been trying hard this week in the gym and at home with my diet. I feel like I’m doing things right and have been looking forward to seeing positive (meaning negative!) changes in the scale. But, that’s not how it is working out, as I am seeing numbers go up a little.
As frustrating as that is, it’s ok. My motivation this week has been a little bit different. When I feel frustrated, I think back to where I have come from and the tremendous changes I have made since starting. And from there, I get an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and gratitude to those who gave me this opportunity.
I am doing this challenge for me and for my family. But, I am also doing this for the family and staff at Anytime Fitness. The Urbanski family has gone out of their way to give me the opportunity to change my life and have been nothing but positive and supportive from the get-go. Even in my moments of self-pity, they have been there to help me regain focus and remind me that they are proud of the progress I’ve made. I also thank Steve, my trainer, for his patience and persistence with me. I can be a bit of a pain sometimes (unthinkable!) but yet he still gives me a chance.
Thing I learned this week: Gratitude can be a great motivator.