Five Former Fatties

Fat loss info from former fatties

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Say What? Rationalizations to Keep Away From Exercising.


Someone said the most ridiculous thing to me the other day. While expounding the virtues of her infrared healing mat, she said that if she lays down on it while the setting is on high, she get an aerobic workout.

“Um, pardon me?” I said, snapping back into a semblance of attention after drifting.

“Really! Your heart rate goes up and is elevated the whole time, and you sweat. It’s an aerobic workout!”

Shaking my head because I can barely believe this conversation is happening, I say, “and what about load on your muscles? What about moving your body?”

“Oh yes,” she flicks away the idea like a pesky fly. “I guess you still have to do some weight bearing exercise.”

I was left dumbfounded, but later realized that this was just an example of an extreme type of rationalization. The “I don’t have to exercise because if I lay on a hot mat for an hour it’s the same as exercise” one is new to me, but is all part of the same category of “I lie to myself so I don’t have to ever be honest about what it takes to get/stay fit.”

I’m choosing to be honest. When I’m not exercising, I’m not exercising.  There can’t be any deception or I’ll never get off my ass and move my body.  The rationalizations just make it so I get so far from fit that the struggle home to fitness is so overwhelmingly huge that it almost feels not worth it. Stay real. It will shake you out of your mind games faster and get you moving.

Posted October 10th, 2012.

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My Friend Penny Had a Baby…


Penny, an online friend, had a baby nine months ago and has quite an inspiring story of fitness. Here’s her story to encourage those of you who are pregnant, thinking about getting pregnant, or recently had a baby. If you’re married to or friends with someone in those categories, read it too so you can encourage her.

Penny, what is your weight loss story?

I’m a forty year old mother of three children, age 15, 14 and 9 months old. After my now 14-year old son was born, in 1998, my weight became a problem for me. I couldn’t play with my boys the way that I wanted to and climbing stairs to do laundry took every last bit of energy I had. At his first birthday I weighed 180 pounds; 54 pounds more than I’d ever weighed in my adult life. I knew something had to change.

What changes did you make?

I set two goals for myself: I wanted to be able to run the length of a soccer field and I wanted to do that without my thighs rubbing together. I began small. I started walking for 45 minutes on my lunch break. Each day I would try to increase my speed, going further each time, and making a new goal to meet or beat that the next day. I also cut soda and coffee from my diet. In two months, I lost twenty pounds and, the rest, as they say, is history.

Six years ago, I joined SparkPeople to help me track my fitness and nutrition and, hopefully, lose a little more weight in the process. Shortly after I joined, I met Michelle in the Rookie Runners group. We’ve been online friends ever since.

Fast forward to your most recent pregnancy. What was your plan during this pregnancy with respect to your weight?

In December of 2010, my spouse and I decided to have a baby and within a month and a half, we were pregnant. My plan was to keep my pregnancy weight gain to a maximum of thirty pounds, which wasn’t easy as I had intense cravings for ketchup chips and Pepsi Retro. Thankfully, aside from eating “a little more” of whatever other healthy foods I was already eating, the cravings were pretty easy to deal with.

During my pregnancy, I tried to keep my exercise routine as “normal” as possible. I still trained for, and ran, half marathons, completing four in my first trimester. I also walked a lot, strength-trained and did yoga until month 7, including a workout with Tommy Europe. When running became too uncomfortable, I took up cycling with my running buddies. I continued walking and did my last 10 km “race” on Thanksgiving weekend, three weeks before Emily was born.
I had her on October 26, 2011, by Caesarean section. Not at all what I/we had planned but that’s the way she chose to make her entrance into the world. Typically, they make you wait six weeks before they even consider letting you do any post-partum exercise. I lasted two before I started walking with the stroller. At four weeks post, I was running (albeit very slowly), the shorter distances with my HM group. At six weeks, I joined the mommy/baby boot camp at my local rec centre. In March, I ran my first after-baby half marathon.

Were there any obstacles to eating healthy?

To be honest, the only obstacle was the mindset of having to eat more to support Emily’s needs too. While this is true, more does not equal eating her weight in sugar, fat and sodium. As she grows and the weaning process begins, my new issue is scaling back from the 500 extra calories I’d been eating for “us” to the regular 1800 I need.

How are you doing with your exercise post-pregnancy?

Since having Emily, I’ve actually ramped up my fitness regimen. I’m more diligent about going to the gym because I want my pre-pregnancy body back. I run three times a week, attend two to three gym classes, and walk with my stroller group once a week. Any activity above that is a bonus. I am five pounds away from my where I was in January 2011, and am back to wearing the jeans I wore then, too.

Do you have any advice for women who are either pregnant or have just had a baby?

Well, yes, actually, I do. If you are physically active before you get pregnant, stay physically active while you are pregnant unless it becomes absolutely impossible for you to do so. Then, after you have your baby, get back at it as soon as you can. Not only are you doing what’s best for you, your mental health and your body, you’re teaching your child that physical activity is an important part of life. If more parents lead by example, there’d be fewer cases of obesity in this world.

Posted August 20th, 2012.


Letting Go (Healing from Injury)



Sometimes wellness is letting go.

Giving in to Healing and its slow tempo;

its pace the definitive patience tester.

Making me scream in frustration,

yet still the relentless pace despite how I feel.


Letting go of the expectation

that I can do anything to defy it.

Realizing that it is me,

and coming to terms with that.

Giving over to getting well on my body’s terms.


Posted July 29th, 2012.

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The First Thing I Asked the Doctor


Eagerly anticipating the Warrior Dash in August, my husband and I did some hill repeats and pull ups last week. Actually, he did pull ups and I kind of just hung there with a grunty look on my face, but I digress. I looked forward to a good bike ride on Friday afternoon (to the beach!) and home again in the evening, then getting into a good workout groove with Chris. I even had some strength workouts up my sleeve for the two of us.

Unfortunately, the bike ride ended with a bike crash; that is, I got up close and personal with the pavement. I’ll eventually be able to do more than yelp when moving my right shoulder, and the nasty road rash on my arm and leg will heal too. Thankfully, no bones are broken and I’m still in love with my bike. That said, one of the first questions I asked the emergency doctor was, “Will I be able to do the Warrior Dash in a month?” So there I was, a middle aged woman who had just wiped out on her bike (going a tad fast) and was admitted into hospital to get checked out for bone breaks, and all I seemed to care about was a bloody (well, muddy) race in a month. Damn straight!

Now, let’s get that wing moving and the bike fixed. I won’t be fast in the Warrior Dash, but Gimpy Michelle will be there with a smile on her face!

Posted July 9th, 2012.

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You’re Not Too Old…

Turning 40 in 2006, Rich Roll was 50 lbs overweight and unable to climb a flight of stairs without stopping for air. Within two years, he was one of the fittest men in the world. The bit I’ve read on the internet of his story has me rushing to my library (just a click away!) to put a hold on his book Finding Ultra. Originally, I read about him in an article someone sent me here from Chatelaine magazine about ten things learned from him; go to the link for the details, but in brief they are:

You don’t need a diet.
You can’t make someone change.
Change comes from balance.
Be your own support.
Take it day by day.
Manage life.
Keep it simple.
Don’t define yourself.
Do your research.
If you’re not growing, you’re not living.

I would add, “Believe in yourself.”


Posted May 22nd, 2012.

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You Can’t Fake a Half


I can’t cram for a Half Marathon. While I could pull off running a (slow) 10k right now, there is no way in hell I can wing a Half. My training since December has been erratic at best, and with only about nine weeks before the June race date I know I’m not conditioned enough to run 21.2k. No amount of denial or positive thinking will change that. I’d very likely end up injured if I tried.

Today I faced the music and stopped deluding myself; I didn’t do the work so have to commit to walking most of it. (Ha! I bet you thought I’d say not do it at all. Nope – a ‘did not run’ is only allowed when doctors are involved!) Looking at my race time will be tough though – I’m a perfectionist and pretty hard on myself, and this feels like failure. Another fucking life lesson. That doesn’t get me off the hook either. Not only do I still need to train, I have a Warrior Dash this summer that I don’t want to fuck up!

“Okay” (she says with a deep sigh), “where are my runners?”


Posted April 23rd, 2012.