The Biggest Loser

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I must admit that over the years I have watched The Biggest Loser.  I cheer for the people who lose amazing amounts of weight and inches.  I watch them work out each week, weigh in and witness their transformations.  I’ve often wondered how I’d do at those intense workouts. I’ve never been a person who’s gone to a gym and worked out. In fact, I barely stretch before or after running.  It never appealed to me.  I just lace up the sneakers, go out, run, come back, and get on with my day.  In fact, I really haven’t been able to even touch my toes in spite of years of yoga classes.

In February, I  returned to Korea after an 8 month break from teaching.  I spent most of that time travelling to places around the world.  I took a look at what eating, drinking and minimal exercise had done to my body.  It was not a pretty sight!   I must also admit that I enjoyed every bite of food, every glass of wine, and the occasional martini.  My body seemed tired and weary.  My first instinct was to say that it’s age and this is what happens to people as they get older. What’s a few pounds and several inches in the big picture of life?  I was still healthy wasn’t I?  I also know that as I have aged, taking off weight and inches and getting into shape is a major ordeal and one to be pondered carefully before embarking on that journey.  I remember when I was in my 20’s and 30’s and even my 40’s, losing weight was a breeze.  I would stop eating and drinking in quantity for a few weeks and the pounds would fall off.  Not this time!  Those pounds had settled in and had made themselves quite comfortable on my hips, stomach and just about everywhere.  The contemplation of possibly starting a new exercise and weight loss plan was taking place over a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers.  I tried convincing myself that my once a week run and swim was enough.  The rationalizing took hold and I finished my wine and cheese and committed to continue on the path I was on. 

The next morning when I got up I decided to get on the scale and see if the damage of the time away had any bearing on the pounds.  YIKES!!!  I went from the scale to the internet and quickly joined Weight Watchers, not for the first time.  In fact , I’m a lifetime member who strayed far from her goal..  This was serious, no more defending that this is what happens when you get older.  It’s never too late and I’m certainly not too old.  The very same day a friend called to say that there was an “opportunity” to join a “Boot Camp” class once a week with 2 at home workouts.   I signed up without even knowing  what that meant.  Drastic times call for drastic measures. Four women showed up for the first class.  We all know each other and that was the reassuring part.  They didn’t know anymore than I did about what we were headed for.  The other three women are in their 30’s.  Our boot camp instructor is also in her 30’s.  She was in the military and in incredible shape.  Before I had a chance to talk myself out of this we were on the ground doing sit ups and push ups and contorting our bodies into shapes I hadn’t even imagined.  After about 30 minutes of this, Jennifer,our fearless leader, told us to run a mile on a track.  It was a relief!  Finally something I can do.  We were measured and tested in that first class and told we would have another assessment at the last class, 10 weeks later.  I left that class feeling exhausted and knowing that I would hurt the next day in places I had never hurt before. But, I was also committed to come back and do this again without letting my age  or anything else get in the way.

That was 10 weeks ago and I am stronger today than I have ever been.  My stamina for running has increased.  In early April I ran a 10k race and a month later I ran another one decreasing my time by 10 minutes.  I’m still slow by anyone’s standards but 10 minutes!!!!!  It even amazes me.  My clothes all fit and I’ve lost about 20 pounds.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell because I’m not exactly a petite person, but I know the weight is gone and the inches are melting off and it’s been replaced with strength and confidence.  Jennifer is leaving Korea in a few weeks and returning to the States with her husband and children.  Her husband is still in the military and being transferred home.  We,the original 4 women, are continuing with the weekly workouts.  Jennifer will  send us 3 workouts a week.  We will meet once a week, share the facilitation and continue the two at home workouts.

This week was our final assessment and I am the Biggest Loser.  I lost the most in inches and cut 2 minutes off my mile run.  We all lost pounds and inches and increased our strength by more than I could have imagined.  We laughed as Jennifer reported how many push-ups and sit-ups we did the first week as compared to now.  For some, it went from 2 to 60.  Amazing! 

So, what have I learned?  So many things!  I have certainly learned that it’s never too late and I’m never too old.  Life is short and it does pass quickly.  I certainly am not stopping the great food and the great wine and martinis, but I’m doing it all with a new awareness about how I want to live the rest of my life.  I said in a past blog, that in the end, I want to come screeching in, used up and worn out.  I hadn’t imagined that that would also mean that I would be strong and fit.  The most important thing I’ve learned, again, is that you can never underestimate the power that a small group of women can have on each other.  This was all possible because Jennifer,  Michelle, Suzi and Lindsay, also chose to commit to this.  I am once again forever grateful to women in my life, these 4 women.  You are true HSBARS (Hot Shit Bad Ass Rock Stars).  My age was not a factor and never is.  I may be last when we run the mile, but all that does is allow the other 4 women to stand and cheer for me as I come racing across the finish line.  Not a bad way to end the day!

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