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Hiking in the Red Cliffs area of Southern Utah 3/15/09

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I decided to post my story here because I keep finding myself repeating it.

Where to begin?

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I used to be young and thin. I had a job as a starving waitress and I was allowed to eat where I worked for free, so I did. But I also worked hard and was on my feet all day, so I didn't gain any weight. Then I got a desk job, but still continued to eat a lot. I had met my husband during the waitressing stint and my life kind of got off-track, so I was eating to suppress emotions. I started gaining weight. Started dieting. Went up and down for years, during which time I married and gave birth to my son. Gained 40 pounds during pregnancy. Lost 20. Had a few good years.

Then I hit 40 about the same time that my son was in his teens. He was rebellious. Husband was non-supportive of my parenting efforts and refused to be a "parent." His idea of parenting was to let son do what he wanted. I was hitting pre-menopause with all the emotional baggage -- especially depression -- and felt like I was drowning. I felt like I was fighting a losing battle against husband and son, who were both against me. I was on meds that (it turned out) made the depression worse. I was suicidal. I ate constantly. In 1998 I hit my max weight of 183 pounds. I was in Alaska visiting a friend and we took pictures of each other and exchanged copies. I received some eye-opening copies of my huge backside (I was stretching out of my size 18 jeans) and went on a diet. I counted calories for a year and got down to 125 and a size 10.

I pretty much stayed there for a few years, but then the weight started creeping back on. I joined a gym and worked out 3 or 4 times a week. I did cardio and worked the weight machines and started to pay attention again to my food portions. I didn't want to start counting calories again because it was a lot of work, but it looked like I'd have to.

I ended up switching gyms, but continued to work out. My weight kept creeping up. I was now back into Size 12s, which I've been for most of my adult life, so I was okay with that, but they were starting to get tight. I started counting calories in addition to my exercises, but at 1400 calories, I wasn't losing weight. If I stopped exercising for a week, I would gain a pound. I noticed a personal trainer who was there occasionally, and I would watch him while I worked out. I felt drawn to him. I felt like I needed to hire him. There were a couple of other trainers, but this one guy was the only one that I ever considered. I got his flyer and called him and when I found out how much he charged ($40 an hour) I backed off. I'm basically a penny-pincher and that much money took my breath away.

I waffled for about a year. (Should I? Shouldn't I? That's a lot of money!) Finally, at the end of 2004 I made a resolution to get in shape no matter what it took. I made a list of things I needed to do, and hiring a trainer was on the list. I girded up my loins and grabbed him one day at the gym and made an appointment. On February 2, 2005, we had our first consultation/workout.

The first thing he did was change the way I eat. I was eating 1400 calories per day and gaining weight. He said I needed to eat 1500 calories for 3 days, then 1900 on the 4th day and rotate that schedule. The "conditions" were:

50% of calories from carbohydrates, 35% from protein, 15% from fat.
Carbohydrates have to be "good" carbs, like whole grains, fruits and veggies. (I manage this by keeping an eye on my fiber grams). Avoid sugars and processed flours, etc.
Breakfast is a MUST.
No more than 3 hours between meals/snacks.
Stop eating 2 hours before bedtime.
8 glasses of water per day (which I was doing anyway)
And, of course, do all the exercises he told me to do, which included lifting weights, weight machines, and cardio.

I was extremely skeptical of the calorie thing, but in the end I decided that if I didn't do what he told me to do, I might as well flush my money down the toilet. After some trial and error, I settled on Calorie King ( as the computer program that would help me keep track of all this. But you can do the same thing here on SparkPeople.

He mapped out an exercise program that I had to follow, which included a certain number of minutes of cardio per week, and three days of weight training, with specific exercises designed to strengthen and increase muscle mass. He kept track of my measurements and body fat (can't tell you how fun THAT was!).

The gym had a fitness contest about that time, so I signed up for it. Also, it was time for my annual physical. My son the pharmacist had been bugging me about bone density and Fosamax, so to shut him up I asked for blood tests and a bone density test. My bones were fine. My cholesterol was in the "high" range of Normal. My blood pressure was 140 over something. (I've always been around 120.) My resting heart rate was around 65 or 70.

After about 3 months, I was showing progress in all areas. A few people commented. My clothes were starting to droop on me. I decided that I needed a pair of pants that fit, so I went to the thrift store to buy a pair of Size 10 jeans. I didn't know where I would end up, so I didn't want to spend a lot of money. I grabbed a couple of pairs and when I put one of them on, I was astounded to zip them up and they were TOO BIG!!! I took home a pair of Size 8's. I hadn't worn a size 8 for my entire adult life.

In May 0f that year (2004) I won the fitness challenge at the gym, for having made the most improvement in 3 months. My self-esteem skyrocketed. I started wearing makeup again. My trainer kept changing my workouts. I did more free weights as my strength improved. He made me eat more calories. My body fat was down to 20% (from 36%). I began a series of exercises to build muscle. I can't tell you how foolishly tickled I felt to watch my muscles flex while watching myself in the mirror.

Currently, I wear a size 6. I've had to toss out all my old clothes and buy clothes that fit. I get tons of compliments from everybody except my husband, but that's a whole other story.

Lately, life has turned me on my ear; I was under a lot of stress when I went to school (while still working) to become a massage therapist, then another year while I've been working to get my business started. Since Thanksgiving, I've not eaten properly and I've been slowly gaining weight. My body fat has gone from 12% to 20+%. I can't seem to stay on the wagon.

I needed some motivation and some support. I came here looking for a fitness buddy to help keep me on track. I've found that and so much more! This is a wonderful site, and I've been back on track since I started. In a few weeks, I'm going to get my body fat measured and report in!

Member Since: 1/17/2009

Fitness Minutes: 5,288

My Goals:
I would like to get my body fat back down to around 15% and have better muscle tone and definition.

My Program:
I work out at 24-Hour Fitness ('the gym') several times a week. Currently, the program I'm doing calls for three times a week. The workout is pretty intense and lasts for 30 minutes, after which I do cardio for 30 minutes.

Personal Information:
I am 57 (almost 58) years old and have been on a fitness journey since February of 2005, when I first started with a trainer. He's long gone now, and I'm trying to do it on my own.

In other news, I manage the office of a small construction firm, and I'm also a massage therapist. ( love to read and have lots of hobbies, but very little time to do them in, including crocheting, photography, painting, and a few others I can't think of.

Other Information:

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  • v no profile image STEVIE281
    I loved reading your story-- but what ever happened to your husband? Just kidding!! I would love to learn all that I could from a person like you. Please keep up the good work. You are an inspiration.

    4286 days ago
  • v ROVISI
    Ahhh I wasn't scolding you, I was just wishing you were blogging/posting more. Jack moved in with his girlfriend, so the daily challenges have kind of disappeared. And then I guess no one else has fitness questions?

    So what have you been up to lately?
    4347 days ago
  • v ROVISI
    You SHOULD be feeling guilty for not Sparking enough - everyone misses you!!! Or, at least, I do. Bodybuilders isn't the same without you!
    4347 days ago
    thanks for your kind words on my blog.

    it is tough to go from being so cut to not. I just have to keep my wits about me and know that I'm doing the right thing. It's a tough time of month so that isn't helping matters emoticon . I'm sure I'll feel much better in a week or so.

    have a terrific weekend.

    4488 days ago
    Thanks for visiting my page and commenting on my blog. At my comp I got a lot of positive comments from other competitors - some of them were trainers and Pros. I emailed the head judge about a week after the comp and he gave me great feedback and made those suggestions.

    I just ready your story and what a GREAT job you've done. I hope you're doing well with getting back on track. I see you every once and again on the bodybuilders team - I just don't have the time these days to devote to a lot of message boards - I'm training for another comp in June.

    Keep in touch!

    4490 days ago
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