Mark this day on your calendars, because history has been made, today. Yes, folks, I have officially hit two MegaMilestones in the fitness quest.

Drum roll, please.

I have officially entered the Normal BMI category. Barely. My BMI is 24.9, but it is green for the first time in recent memory. Okay, the last time I was here was in 2000. But, I am back! And I am staying. So, goodbye Obese and Overweight! Welcome home, Normal!!

In order to reach milestone number one, I had to reach milestone number two.

Another drumroll, if you would.

I am halfway to goal weight! No, really!! I weight 168.5 lbs (76.4 kg). That means I have lost 19.5 pounds and have 19.5 pounds left to lose. Woot!!!

In case you need a visual:

And, no, I am not celebrating with ice cream. I didn’t really set up rewards for reaching various milestones, so I dunno know what I will do to mark the occasion. Dancing around (a la Rocky atop the Philadelphia Art Museum Steps) might be a start, though. Hang on while I get my Rio cued to Gonna Fly Now.

Applying Knowledge from Other Areas…

Workout GearWhy am I so slow to apply knowledge from one area of my life to another??

I was thinking about the whole “sharing epiphany” thing while on my run to nowhere (32/200) this afternoon, and it occurred to me that I know a lot about individualized plans (talking about them, creating them, implementing them, and changing them) from my time spent in Disability World. The reason that they are individualized is because – wait for it – no two people are alike! Even two kids with the same diagnosis will require different plans for – say – teaching them math, because there is no way to distill someone down into a stereotype. I know this intimately, and yet, I didn’t apply it to my fitness quest/questions. We do it a bunch, you know, try to label people and simplify their personalities into some easy-to-define niche. I know better, and I still do it.

Michael Smull is one of the gurus of Person-Centered Planning. One of the activities he led us through in his workshop involved writing out our morning routines and then trading them with one another. The premise was that you would now have to follow the routine designed for you by the other person. It was eye-opening, to say the least. Of course, the exercise was to put us into the shoes of someone with a disability whose every waking moment is designed without their input. But it applies to fitness, too. Stick with me, here.

Let’s look at my fitness routine. I put my hair up in a ponytail. I wear long running pants, a jog bra, a tank top, white cotton turn down socks, and New Balance running shoes. I carry a bottle of water (with a packet of Emer’gen-C mixed in), my Rio (loaded with my favorite workout music), and a bar towel. I drink the fortified water as I am driving to the gym, and refill the bottle as soon as I arrive. I prefer to get on elliptical trainer #3, but sometimes it is taken, so I get on one of the others, but never #1 because it squeaks. I start my workout listening to Matchbox 20’s Unwell at 160 strides per minute. I typically stay on the elliptical trainer for an hour and then switch to the weight machines. I alternate leg and arm days, but do abs every day.

I could keep going, but you get the idea. Now, think about your typical routine for physical activity. At what point does my plan differ from yours? How long would it take you to run screaming if I handed you my plan and said, “This is what you *must* do lose 15 pounds in 8 weeks – oh wait, I have to give you my food plan, too…”??

So, regardless of how much I *love* my routine, how well it works for me, or how excited I am about it, I can’t expect you to start it up, too. This applies in the much larger sense of life choices, as well. Just because I am uncomfortable enough weighing 172.5 pounds to go to the gym nearly every day doesn’t mean that anyone else will – or even needs to! And just because The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd sent me on a spiritual journey that changed my life doesn’t mean anyone else will get what I got from it – or even like it!

We are individuals. We are different enough that no one plan/book/life will fit us all.

I am not the first to say that folks tend to get very excited about the choices they make that are successful for them. I know that I do. The trouble comes when we try to apply that information to other people. Sure, I can learn from what you do, but I can’t live your life. I’ve got my own, thanks.

Soap Box of the Day: I am not typically a violent person. As a matter of fact, I have quite the reputation for being a pacifist. But that all came very close to changing this afternoon at the gym. I was *thisclose* to finishing my routine (see above) and lacked one leg machine. The problem? There was this guy who was – you aren’t going to believe this – sitting on the machine reading the paper! Every 5 minutes or so he would give a half-hearted effort at 3 or 4 reps, but for the most part he was taking the afternoon to work through the sports section!! Now, if this had gone on for 2 or 3 “sets” I would have chalked it up to someone who needed a reeeeaaaallllyyyyy long recovery.

Nope. This went on for nearly a half an hour. Yes!! I thought about interrupting him, but by the time he got to his 4th set, I just had to see how long this would continue. Of all the nerve! It isn’t like my gym is loaded with machines. There is one circuit. That’s it! So, let this be a lesson people. If you are going to spend your Sunday reading the paper, please find a porch chair and leave the machines at the gym for the people who will be working out.

Thank you for your support.

Hey! Even *I* Can Do This…

Having completed workout 30/200 today, officially hitting the 15% complete mark, and seeing 173.5 pop up on the scale it dawned on me that:

  1. I am actually doing this thing for real.
  2. I am making progress in spite of all of the reasons I sat on my ass and managed to end up weighing nearly 200 pounds without a pregnancy to blame.
  3. It isn’t nearly as hard as I worked it out in my head to be.
  4. 90% of it is emotional and only about 10% of my lack of fitness is truly physical in spite of plenty of – well see #2.

See, I have a medical diagnosis that gives me a “get out of guilt free” card on the fitness front. I am not going to tell you what it is right now because I don’t want every wanna-be-doctor on the web giving me advice on what to do about it. Just suffice it to say that I have used this diagnosis to buffer any thoughts of better health. As in: “Oh, I could never sleep through the night, lose weight, run a mile, etc because I have ____.” It is true that I have to be careful with myself so that I don’t push my body into a relapse, but there is nothing to say that I can’t move my body as long as I observe those limits.

Everyone in my family of origin is overweight. I am actually the smallest of the bunch. Yesterday, I saw a packet of information about WLS on my parents’ kitchen table and had to catch my breath. Without starting a blog war on personal choice, let’s just say that WLS would be a risky option for my stepfather, and the idea really caused me to pause. I have been following Allan’s progress as he follows the post-surgical diet without having the surgery, and agree with him on one major point: WLS does not remove all of the reasons you eat too much food, it just makes it physically difficult to do so.

When I asked my mom about the packet, she said that they had gone to the seminar because my stepdad’s doctor suggested it. They have decided that it would be too risky for him and are teetering between giving up on fitness altogether and looking for another solution. Seeing an opening, I mentioned that I had made a commitment to move 200 times this year and have lost about 15 pounds since the beginning of June. She looked at me like I had announced that I had earned a free trip to Mars and said, “How’d you do that???”

And that is when I realized what a zealot feels like. I have the answer, but it is going to sound like a brush off. The obvious answer is, “I exercise 4-6 times a week, and watch what I eat.” But the real answer is, “I came to a point in my wallowing where I decided that I had a choice in the matter and decided to make that choice. I still struggle with self-esteem, and all of the other stuff that gets in the way of my living my authentic life, but I am not waiting until I have all of the answers before I start moving in the general direction of where I want to be. That includes my health.”

What was the epiphany *for me*? It was redefining “fitness” from looking like a swimsuit model, running marathons, and wearing a size 4 to improving my endurance, making a commitment to move, and not giving up when that first rush of “I am going to look like a swimsuit model” wore off. The frustrating thing about an epiphany is that those aha moments aren’t easy to share. Of course, some folks are better at it than others. They are the ones who write the books, make the videos, and get the contracts. But maybe my writing that it isn’t magic or voodoo or money or talent that ultimately gets the pounds off, and that even *I* can do it – with all of my excuses and neuroses – it will inspire someone to say, “Hey, maybe I can tackle a personal goal, too. I have nothing to lose.”

Soap Box of the Day: Wendy has been ranting for a couple of days about some negative responses to the new Dove “Real Beauty” Ads. She has done such a phenomenal job of flogging the geniuses who think a size 10 female body is somehow defective that I am officially stepping off of the soap box for today to give her some extra space up there. Rant on, Wendy! (And in case you are a deluded schmuck who believes that a size 10 is “chunky” you probably ought to quit reading my blog, ’cause that’s the size I will be at my goal weight. So there!)


The Longest Weeks Go By Fastest…

I wasn’t very focused on fitness this week, and with good reason. I had two visits from out-of-town guests, a holiday (when the gym was closed), oh, and my sister birthed a gorgeous, 10-pound baby girl (more on that later).

In spite of my not-so-fit week, and the arrival of Monthly Salt and Chocolate Fest, I managed to hit the 178 lb mark. 10 pounds gone. I gave them all to the baby. 🙂 Hey! If I can lose weight as fast as she gains it, we may be on to something. I said it first, so no fair making an infomercial and getting rich off of my idea. I also finished workout 20/200 and am 10% of the way to meeting the challenge! Clearly, I am going to have to get to the gym more than once a week in order to meet my goals. So, no more guests or babies or other surprises are allowed.

Think it will work?

Didn’t think so.

That’s probably the hard part, right? You know – keeping on course when real life keeps happening? That’s the whole point of the MegaChallenge. I have a vision – a North Star – to guide me through all of the little diversions that threaten to get me off course. It helps me that it is a concrete goal that *I* have control over. I can’t really control much, but I can be physically active 200 times in a year.

Soap Box of the Day: My niece appeared after an emergency C-section weighing in at 10 lbs 3 oz. And so it starts. This precious child is already being told how “absolutely huge” she is. She is relatively large for a newborn child but is that really all we know about her? It is the first thing people ask (after the sex) and maybe that is because you can’t ask what her favorite song is or whether she prefers mayo or Miracle Whip. But it still irritates me.

So, for the record, this child will be spoiled absolutely rotten. It is pay-backs for the truckloads of toys that my sister has delivered to my children over the years. She is very good at letting everyone know just how unhappy she may be at any perceived injustice (especially those of the waking-her-up kind). She is named for a river in Scotland because my sister and her husband like Scotland and choose to think of themselves as Scottish (Scotch??), though both come from families which have spent at least 8 generations in the US. I’ll let you know when she shares her condiment preferences.

The First Comment…

Okay, so it is probably somewhat pathetic to blog on the fact that someone I don’t know and that I didn’t pay cash money has commented (positively) on the MegaChallenge. But, just as every little milestone on the fitness journey bolsters my efforts, having someone comment is definitely a note-worthy blogger milestone. So, thanks, Dee, for christening ye ole comments section.

In other news, the scale has been very kind this week. My official start weight was 188 lbs and I am aiming for 149 lbs (the magical weight I discovered just before getting pregnant with the Diva Princess). I actually saw a 178.5 on the digital device this morning! So, numbers of note are: 9.5 lbs gone, 29.5 to go. That is just shy of 25% of my unwanted pounds gone in one month of MegaChallenge work. I finished workout number 18/200 yesterday – 40 minutes of elliptical running to nowhere, and a trip around the leg machines.

While we are noting milestones, I gotta tell y’all about my favorite one, so far. Get ready. It’s a whopper. I can get my rings on and off without soap and a team of mules! I know. It isn’t like I just ran a marathon, or anything that my local newspaper would want to pick up. Humor me.

Soap Box of the Day: The gym is closed today. Now, don’t get me wrong; folks at the gym deserve to be with their families on the holiday (it’s Independence Day in the States) but couldn’t they just shorten the hours a wee bit? Surely they could find someone to hang out for 4 hours in the middle of the day so that those of us who risk gaining 10 pounds eating hot dogs and potato salad have some hope of mitigating the damage.

Petty whining, I know. I promise to find an honorable soap box for tomorrow.

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